Ron's Loom Build

Hi, everyone I wanted a big floor loom after takeing a weaving class in college 50 years ago but never had the money to buy one or place to build or put one.  So, when my son milled a maple log into lumber 3 years ago,  He gave me a whole stack of rough sawn maple so I could build one.  Like others who have wanted to build a loom, I found that decent plans for what I wanted were not readily available.  I drew up my own plans based mainly on the Glimakra Standard 47" loom. 

I added a teadle spreader ( that I will notch for locking the treadles later) to limit treadle drift.  No joints are glued and will not be be glued.   I used mortice and tenon joints secured in place with semi-consealed bed bolts for the two gables and dovetail joints for the cloth cross beam and breast beam.  I used the same type of joint for the warp beam as was used on the Glimakra warp crossbeam.  The pictures will show that I have not cut the groove to seat the reed in the beater.  I will wait until I purchase the reed (stainless steel) so I can measure for a proper fit.  I made the ratchet gears from  1/4 "aluminum plate.  If the aluminum doesn't hold up I will make new ones from plate steel.  Aluminum is easier to work.Ron's Loom


Posted on Tue, 02/19/2013 - 05:38

The top picture is the basic frame of the loom. The 2nd Picture shows the basic beater and the treadle spreader.  Note:  The little holes in the gable side are the access holes for the bed bolt nuts.

Posted on Tue, 02/19/2013 - 12:21

Looking great Ron. I like the joints you have chosen to use, very good idea.

Continue with your journey. :)

Posted on Thu, 02/21/2013 - 01:58

To get photos to display, you need to use the photo upload process to put them on the Weavo site - you then paste them into your posting.

Posted on Thu, 02/21/2013 - 02:26

I just went back to the posting and checked it again and the pictures are there.  Why, I don't understand.

Posted on Thu, 02/21/2013 - 02:40

For some reason your trying to use and that's not going to work.

When you upload photos to the site they are stored on


There is a photo posting script that opens a window up , followed by another popup that you use to store the photo to the site. You then dbl click the image and the url gets pasted to the first popup, then hit insert button. It gets put into the post.

Posted on Thu, 02/21/2013 - 11:39

I wish the last photo wasn't a postage stamp. ;)

Your roller hand wheels, I was wondering if they were at least two handled. A wide warp and one handle, and popeye better have his spinach. ;) What did you use for a ratchet system? :)

Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 01:08

Your wish is my command.  I'll post larger pictures.  As you can see, I only have one handle on each handwheel.  You are probably right about needing at least two handles for each handwheel and the two handwheels are interchangeable so I can switch them if necessary.  I am going to remove the treadle spreader as per Joanne's advice.  You can probably see that I have not cut the seating groove for the reed yet.  I'll waite until the reed comes so that it will seat properly.  I'll take some more pictures to show the ratchet and pawl mechanizm.


Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 01:44

Yes the spreader is really not necessary Ron. All I did was use a wooden spacer back at the mounting bracket between each. Some don't even use that. But for me, I would go nuts otherwise. ;) I cannot use my feet like some of the woman here, as in sock feet or barefeet. My feet would get serious cramps on treadles. A foot is not like a hand, we gave that up when we began walking upright. ;) I wear slippers and the only weight on a  treadle is that of a leg. Anything with more effort than that will wear you out.

Ron, I don't know how hard it will be to turn with a single handle positioned that way. If you look at many looms in the style you are mimicing there are 5 or 6 handle positions to give you mechanical advantage. If the handle grip turns as the wheel turns that helps for sure if you have one or two handles. Keep in mind, some yarns have a lot of force behind the wheel, especially on medium to wide warps. That handle can be modified as you see fit later. That being said. Years ago on the farm here we used bin pilers to store potatoes in bins. These bin pilers had a primary conveyor with a single hand crank and a rachet system. This was on a cable. The cable wound around the shaft from the handle to raise the bed. And this was not light cranking. So, don't fuss about the handle too much. But be aware it might be tough tightening the warp well and even trying to release the pawl.

Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 02:50

I would laminate another section on the front of the beater and put the groove between it and the beater bottom that you have already.  That way, the reed is in the front where it should be and the groove is in front of the beater sides.  That gives you the opportunity to move your reed sideways to center the warp to the loom.


PS it would also add a little weight to the beater and that can be an advantage.

Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 02:53

Your original treadles are like the Glimakra treadles when there are up to 10.  On the 16 shaft Glimakra, the treadles are on end as you have changed yours.  That is necessary when there are 16 as they need to be closer together.  They work just fine on end. 


Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 02:55

There have been some changes to Glimakra looms over the years.  If you are looking at an older one, do contact me as you have questions.  I see a couple details which are from the 70s Glimakra looms and there have been some improvements.


Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 03:10

Thanks again, Joanne.  I have plans for the vertical countermarche and will probably build one after I see how the parallel works.  I went to the Kisap Weavers and Spinners Guild meeting and no one seemed to know of any Glimakra loom owners in our area so I guess I'll have to trial and error my way along.  Or, I may switch and try a horizontal countermarche. 

Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 04:49

My cloth beam shoud probably be about 3" in diameter instead of 8" because I can see that I am severely limiting my cloth lengths because of the limited clearance between it and the cross beam above it.  I have drawn up plans for a new cloth beam roller that would cover a 3/4" steel shaft.  That is the same method I used for my 8" rollers.  Any comments are welcome.


Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 10:00

Yes Ron, use 8" on the warp and 4-6" on the cloth beam. I don't think the position of the rachet is a real big deal. But remember you have to lift it to release the ratchet and it might be harder with tension from the warp working agin ya while trying to reach over the cross member. ;)

Currently I have a project with 10/2 cotton on 10 yards and I have over 1" on the cloth beam built up and I have 3 yards to go. And as far as project size/length that's not a real big project.

Are you going to use cords on the beams or canvas? You can see what I've done to regarding this.

Ron, you can look at mine in this same group for ideas. It's pretty close to a 'Standard'. And Joanne always seems helpful with such things, she is an expert. I'm a novice like you. :)

Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 21:20

I have already drilled the holes for cords, so my setup for tying up will be just like yours.  I like the idea you had for making a brass needle to feed the cord through with and I have brass rod so will do the same.  I was thinking about cutting a groove full length of the roller for the tie on bar to rest in but doen't know if that is necessary.  What is your experience regarding that?  

Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 21:43

In my application I don't need it, but I use warp sticks the same thickness as a tie-rod. It's actually the same thing. And my lease sticks, are lease sticks or warp sticks. My warp roller is octagon, so I place a stick per face to begin the winding then space them out further. It also prevents the cord from making marks on the warp as the cord is under the sticks. Keeps the warp even across the width without undulations. Plus it helps tension the warp, and prevents the sides from slipping out and loosening the outside warp ends when you have a lot of yardage. Maybe someone here has a reason to do it for the cloth beam, but I have not run into any troubles.

Things I've woven are posted to my Projects.

Posted on Mon, 02/25/2013 - 01:22

Very nice.  I would try a warp with your current beam handle configuration before changing it.  I't different than most, but may work well for you.  I have a parallel countermarche and a horizontal countermarche, and I find that the parallel is quieter, smoother, and more trouble free.  No jack jams.  That being said, the paralled is bigger loom with more room for things to move, and fits me really well.  The jack jams are caused by the fact that two jacks are warped, and I didn't realize what this would cause when I put it together.


Posted on Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:05

Sandra, if they are wooden jacks, one can be made to replace it. But a drill press would have to be used to make the holes perpendicular to the surfaces and not off of the 90 mark. That would solve that.

Now for some additional information:

Many times the kiln drying process is not handled properly. Many factories that use kilned wood will dry their own to be sure how that wood was kilned and done to their specs. Also realize, the kiln is just a chamber to dry wood. You can also use air dried. If wood is kilned and stored in a warehouse that is not climate controlled it reaches equilibrium with the surrounding air. It is a hygroscopic material, as humdity and mositure changes in the air it does so in the wood as well. A piece air dried in it's environment is just as valid. There were no kilns or the science behind it in the 17th C. ;) Moisture can be tested by a meter or by oven drying a sample. Weight is taken of the sample, and heated until weight loss ends to determine moisture content. Change in weight is caused by water. When wood looses water below it's saturation point it is always moving and properties are changing just as the mositure in the air is changing.

Sometimes you can have a piece of wood that simply will not behave. The grain may look straight, but it may spiral. And sometimes a board is straight grained on one end and by the time you reach the far end it is 'flaming'. You will see potential troubles when plaining it, the grain direction changes. Often this in when the main stem reached a major tree crotch. You have a clear piece of lumber for grade. It may make select grade or better, but they do not grade based on grain. The maker on the other end chooses the piece by grain. Quarter sawn is the most stable because most of the movement is thickness wise. That being said, a flat sawn board with rings spanning as much of the board end as possible means it's from a large tree and to the outter portion of the tree where it is most stable. Rings with low angle are either young or toward the pith of the tree. The closer to the pith the less stable. 'Juvenile' wood is around the pith for the first few years of a trees life and the most unstable wood possible. For fine wood working it is avoided. Anyway, if the board with high angle, rings that span the width of the board, is taken and ripped you have the side strips that are 45's or 60's, but with those removed you can rip the piece so that they are now quarted pieces. What began as width in the original board is now the thickness with the rings now vertical. If the ripped piece is as wide as the original thickness, than it does not matter how the original board was sawn. Also realize that the grain runs out as you go from stump end to the tree top. As you know, rings are layers on top of layers from the tree root tip to the leader at the top, thus not a cylander. :)

Posted on Wed, 02/27/2013 - 02:39

I think that the two errant jacks were replacements for missing jacks done by the previous owner.  As soon as the current warp is done, I will replace them with some nice, stable, old maple.  Thanks for the tip about needing a hole square to the surface.  I will use the drill press for that. 

Posted on Wed, 02/27/2013 - 05:55

Thank you for your suggestion about trying a warp before changing my handwheel configurations.  I think that most of my warps will be narrow enough (at least to start with) that turning the handles shouldn't be too difficult for the time being.  I do plan to see if I can get a technical school student to plazma cut ratchet gears out of steel for me.  If I can, I will go ahead and turn  wooden handwheels with my wood lathe.

Posted on Sat, 04/06/2013 - 19:20

I am sorry I have taken so long replying to your comments.  I do appreciate your comments.  I have been busy with some of my other modifications. I set up my parrallel countermarche pulleys for a trial run just to see how well the shaft would move.  I found that it moved smoothly and quietly and the shaft stayed level throughout its travel.  Because I used polyester cord instead of Texsolv cord for the trial tie up I had to fuss with it so much that I will replace it with Texsolv when it arrives.  I have only seen one other parallel countermarche setup so I would be very interested to see how yours is setup. If you would post some pictures of your loom showing details of the parallel countermarche, I would appreciate seeing them.



Posted on Sat, 04/06/2013 - 20:34

Ron, is that a fielded question or directed to anyone? My loom is a vertical countermarche. I turned my pullies from maple on my lathe.

Posted on Tue, 04/09/2013 - 03:27

This is a picture of my loom beater after laminating on more stock and adding the grooves for the reed, per Joanne Hall's sugestion.  Thanks again for the sugestion, Joanne.Beater with grooves added.

Posted on Tue, 04/09/2013 - 08:07

Looks good Ron. Most of the stress is going to be on the side of the groove toward the heddles. Are the beater uprights on the inside or outside of the castle? Mine are to the outside and my grooves go between my uprights. I can take a 64" reed, but weave 60". The loom inside width is 62", but I don't like to weave out to the ends of the rollers, so I weave 60". The advantage of the way your groove is made comes if you have larger looms (wider) that you can interchange the reeds. :)

Posted on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 04:47

Take a look at the uprights at the top of this page and you will see that the uprights on the beater start on the outside and make a dogleg bend to the inside below the castle.  It was done that way because of a measuring error made when cutting the mortices on the horizontal beater bar.  The dogleg solved the problem and I accually like the looks of it.  The beater is just as stable and operates smoothly.  It is also remmeniscent of a Swedish loom design by Oxabach.  I Guess sometimes even a mistake can turn out OK and yes, I confess that my woodworking skills leave something to be desired at times.  I must be getting old. ( According to some of my friends I'm just a young whippersnapper at age 73)  Five of them are in their ninties.


Posted on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 08:35

Yes, I had missed that photo. I looked back through the thread, but I'm on dialup here so it may not have loaded before I made the post. There is nothing wrong with the look and function of it. :)

Posted on Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:57

I just saw your question about my parallel countermarche.  I checked my pics and I don't have any good ones of the setup.  There's a lamp in the way.  I'll get some new ones on Friday and send them.  I have my upper pulleys in a box that sets on the gallows to get them above the rafters.



Posted on Sun, 04/14/2013 - 17:49

Here are some pictures of my parallel countermarche.  It's hard to get a good picture because of its size and the large windows behind it.  I used a parallel system because the rafters would interfere with jacks.  The loom weighs about 800#s, and since it was pretty much level and square, moving it was not an option.  I asked Louet if they had a pattent on their system, and they never answered me.  I had a friend measure her Louet loom to get the spacing for the lamms.  This loom has been in constant operation for several years.  The only problem that I have had is that the Texsolv tended to be abraded by the steel bars that I had weighting the lower lamms.  I replaced the bars with rods, end of problem.  This has a 20+ installed on it, and a Glimakra flying shuttle.  The water bottles weight floating selvedge threads and keep them flat against the shuttle race, except when the shuttle cord lifts them. 

Posted on Mon, 04/15/2013 - 07:23

Thank you, Sandra your setup looks great  My Texsolv chaincord arrived on Friday and I had cut the grooves in my pulleys too narrow and shallow for the Texsolv so I spent all afternoon and evening today correcting that by hand fileing the pulley grooves with a round file.  I decided to go ahead and setup my pulleys to support 10 shafts, although I won't start weaving with that many.  I'm still too much of a newbee.  As soon as I finish changing my parallel countermarche set up with the added pulleys, I will disassemble my loom and move it from my shop to an upstairs bedroom.  Thanks again.



Posted on Mon, 04/15/2013 - 08:04

Ron, you'll be surprised how many drafts can be woven on 4 shafts. But, you won't be long before you add another 4 or 6 shafts, because you'll be real curious and want to explore the possibilities. Don't be afraid to explore, but remember when you double the number of shafts, the number of treadle cords is squared. ;) 4 squared is 16, but 8 squared is 64 cords. :)

These floor looms take up a lot of room. Mine is also in a bedroom. But, sufficient room to warp is challenging in most bedrooms. Ideally you want 10 feet behind the warp roller, and breast beast, if not more. Most bedrooms are only 14-18 feet at the widest if they have a closet. I guess this is why old timers around here never had such 'monstrosities'. I can here my grandmother now. :)