Rachet & Pawl on Ashford Loom


The Ashford loom I just bought is already giving me problems. The rachet & pawl has failed twice now, allowing the warp to come loose. Since I was working on a test & practice project, it wasn't a big deal. But when I make a larger project, a ratchet failure will be a Big deal. Anyone have any suggestions/solutions to fix the rachet/pawl letting go problem? The tension is tight enough to weave, but it came loose in the middle of a run.


Cathy S/Willowwind


Posted on Sun, 05/09/2010 - 00:05

Hi Cathy, This should not happen! Assuming that your consumer laws are similar to ours in Australia, I would be returning it, with the receipt, to where I bought it, explaining the problem and asking for a replacement. If that failed too I'd be wanting my money back!

I don't know how the ratchet  is set into the back and front beams on your model loom, but there should be no way they slip! I do have a replacement older-style metal Ashford ratchet. It fits over the end of the beam, and has a square hole where the end of the beam is shaped and goes in, and then a screw goes into the very end of the wood to hold it all in place, and I assume that the nylon ratchet is set up the same. Its not very deep, so maybe the wood at end of the beams is damaged and has splintered? The drill hole for the screw would only need to be fractionally off centre for this to happen.

That said, I have a 12 inch Knitters Loom and have given it quite a work out under tension, and am very happy with its performance. and there are any other satisfied Ashford loom users around, so it does sound as if you unfortunately hit the lemon. Ashford should be aware of this problem. I don't know if they have a head office you can contact, but I would start with the retailer first.

Good luck!

Posted on Sun, 05/09/2010 - 20:45



My husband built a frame for the Ashford. We checked the ratchet & pawls to be sure they are on correct & they are. I think part of the problem with slippage was having to move it out of my lap &on the table every time I had to get up. I'll give it another try with the frame & see what happens.

Cathy S.

Posted on Wed, 05/12/2010 - 18:29



Just an update on the ratchet & pawl propblem I "had". The stand helped the problem a lot.. The tension has stayed steady ever since I put the loom on  the floor stand. Perhaps moving it around caused the problem in the first place.

Cathy S/Willowwind

Posted on Wed, 05/12/2010 - 19:17

Hi Cathy,

When I first got my Kromski, I had the same problem and I found the stand made a big difference, too.  I still check and tighten my brake before every new project but it usually holds through a project.  I have also found that folding a project is problematic and the tension is lost whenever I have attempted to do so with a project on the loom.  I have taken to securing the beams and just transporting my loom open when I travel with it.

Glad to hear things are working out better.  How fortunate you DH was able to put something together for you.  Can we see some pictures of it?



Posted on Thu, 05/13/2010 - 00:57

I have also found folding my KL causes tension problems; it never goes back the same, grrrrr. Fortunately my loom is the smaller one so its not any more difficult to carry it open than shut. The idea of collapsing it is great for storage, and as a selling point, but not so hot if you have to take it somewhere with a project underway.

Posted on Thu, 05/13/2010 - 02:03

Thanks Caroline, it's good to know I'm not the only one unable to maintain tension when I fold a warped rh loom.  You're right, it's a good selling point but difficult to execute.

Happy weaving, with an open rh loom,

Posted on Mon, 10/18/2010 - 14:29

On my practice piece, the same thing happened, but I think I was pulling too tight. I did order the stand, but they sent the wrong size. I am now waiting for the correct cross pieces and hope this helps.

Posted on Tue, 10/19/2010 - 03:56

I had this same problem with my Kromski Harp.  I cured it by using a C clamp from the hardware store and securing the ratchet.  It happened once when I had a large project on the loom and the warp was never the same after that.  Now even though I know the looms limitations I use the c clamp 'just in case'!

Posted on Sun, 11/07/2010 - 22:08

There's a really simple fix for the rear pawl. I used a simple "turn-button", drilled a pilot hole and used a short threaded nail to get a good friction fit. So easy to turn on and off that it's become an unconscious motion when I advance the warp. I've never had problems with the front pawl, so I didn't do anything to it. Sorry, a computer glitch keeps me from posting a picture or a link here, but if you go to my projects and look at the "Ashford Loomstand" you can see what I did. I call it my "pawl lock". If you do this, you MUST drill the pilot hole so you won't split the wood on your loom. My little piece of wood is 5/8" x 1 1/2" x 1/8", but this measurement is not critical. You could use something more finished and prettier if you wanted to.

Posted on Fri, 12/03/2010 - 18:25

I have tried to do two projects on my new Ashford 32" RH Loom. I have had constant failures with the ratchet and pawls, both front and back. I try to set the tension firm enough to get a good shed and it cuts loose! It also releases when I am trying to wind on. I am now using the C-clamps but it is aggravating to spend over $500 on the loom, stand, and heddles and have it malfunctioning out of the box. I have triple checked and they are installed correctly. The problem seems to be in the design of the pawl, which is too broad and shallow to fit snuggly into the ratchet.  Thanks to Whiteoakgrandmother for her fix. I will be doing just that but, I am also going to write to Ashford.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Posted on Fri, 12/03/2010 - 20:01


What a bummer to have a beautiful new loom and such a headache!

Please let us know how it goes with Ashford.  I borrowed a Kircher rigid heddle loom from a friend and had the same type of problem with it.  I tried everything I could think of and it turned out I had wound the warp on incorrectly!!  Once she showed me what to do, it was fine.  Just a word to the wise, it's easy to do.


Posted on Tue, 12/14/2010 - 15:57

It's been awhile, but I want to thank you for this suggestion. My Ashford pawls kept coming undone and it was extremely frustrating. I bought C clamps for both the front and back and it works like a charm.

Posted on Tue, 12/14/2010 - 19:19

It's a shame to have to weave like that.  I know I advance the warp frequently when I am on my rh loom and I would hate to have to remove the c clamps, move the cloth and replace the clamps.  I did have a small problem with my Kromski and when I contacted Tim at New Voyager Trading he sent me a replacement part immediately.  Now the loom works as it should.

Consider contacting either the retailer or the manufacturer.  They should be made aware of issues with their product.  I believe you can also contact Foxglove Fiberarts who are the distributor for Ashford looms in the US.  The contact info is on their website HERE.  

BTW, what are you making?  Have you posted photos in your Projects area?



Posted on Tue, 12/21/2010 - 16:18

Actually, it's not all that bad. Besides, I have a cat that loves to check things out and I'd be very afraid of him letting the pawl loose.


No I haven't posted anything, cuz all I've done is 3 plain scarves. I warped some towels yesterday and really messed them up. It'll be interesting to see how they turn out even if they don't follow the pattern I was trying to use.

Posted on Wed, 12/22/2010 - 23:48

I posted on December 3rd about my problems with the ratchets and pawls continually failing on my Ashrord RH loom. After several e-mails and my sending some pictures to him, Richard Ashford solved the problem. It seems the front and back ratchets are different. The teeth face opposite directions. When I traded the ratchets, the pawls fit correctly. Those of you having the same problem might want to check. The teeth should angle toward the center of the side, not toward the end. I must say I was impressed with the help I received from Ashford's!

Now to work through all the "normal" frustrations of a new weaver :)


Posted on Thu, 12/23/2010 - 04:29

I double checked my Ashford rigid heddle loom after reading your post, and my ratchets are installed correctly, so this was not the source of my problem. I've owned the loom for about ten years and it was a frequent problem before I came up with my "pawl lock." It hasn't happened since.

Posted on Mon, 01/17/2011 - 00:32

To update. I now have given my C-clamps to himself. I changed the front to the back rachet and, wow, no problems. I am so happy, I could cry.

Posted on Tue, 09/06/2011 - 02:29

I just joined Weavolution so I could properly thank Gayle for posting her comment about the pawls having directions. I found this thread when I was driven to extreme frustration by constantly slipping pawls. After reading Gayle's clear description, I checked my pawls, quickly switched them (in the middle of a project) and the problem was solved! Yay! Now back to the routine frustrations of learning to weave . .  You gotta love it!

Posted on Sun, 03/25/2012 - 00:18

I just started setting up a project on my new Ashford table loom, and couldn't get the warp tension to hold as I wound it on the back beam. Checked the instructions twice, and the ratchet & pawls were assembled according to the instructions. I remembered reading something about this problem when I was researching the loom, so I did a Google search, and bingo, here I am! Switched the parts around as described in this thread, and everything works the way it should ;-)

Posted on Thu, 10/31/2013 - 23:57

I'm just learning to weave on ashford rigid heddle loom and was very frustrated as the ratchet and pawl would not hold. Then I found this thread, looked at my loom and instructions, made the switch and all is well. THANKS!

On to finish my project minus those bad words......

Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 19:26

Putting a clamp on the prawls of my Kromski 24 sounds like a great Idea ..but since I have not yet had to fold my loom with a work in progess on it I don't quite know what to expect.  But great Idea anyway!

Posted on Sat, 08/06/2016 - 19:46

I found this thread when searching for issues I was having with my new 32" 8-shaft Ashford loom. I was disappointed that I may have spent a lot of money on a poor product. what I found was that it was weaver error! I was winding the warp on the back beam incorrectly which in turn caused the loosening of the warp. I also re checked the front and rear ratchets to make sure they were on the loom according to the instructions. Voila! The lom works exactly as it is supposed to and I have no problems with tension! 


My my advice would be to make sure of all the above things before adding c-clamps  other add-ons to the loom.  


One happy weaver!!



Posted on Sun, 12/17/2017 - 23:35

I bought an 8-shaft Ashford table loom at a guild silent auction and had the same problem. Ashford was no help (although their I did learn from their excellent YouTube videos). After lots of checking and adjustments, the front ratchet more or less holds but the back one doesn't. I use C-clamps, which gets to be quite a pain. But I'm thinking of following whiteoakgrandmother's advice.

Posted on Tue, 12/19/2017 - 06:03

Does your loom have the new ratchets with two sets of teeth or is it the older model that has a pawl that lifts rather easily, especially when transporting the loom? The current tensioning devices are quite sturdy.