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Submitted by Oregon Weaver on Tue, 07/04/2017 - 23:05
Has anyone used their Baby Wolf for small rag rugs? Tom Knisely's book says portable looms aren't sturdy enough, so I wonder if any Baby Wolf users have had any success.
I used to have a Baby Wolf. They are lightly constructed and assembled with carriage bolts. These bolts are pounded into the wood, forcing a square opening that fits the square end of the bolt. As the wood moves against the bolt (I could see the legs working against the bolt as I beat on light wool shawls) the hole will round and the bolt will loosen. At this point you have to replace the wood or get a bigger bolt. So, you can make rag rugs, but the heavy beating required will shorten the life of your loom.
I owned and Baby Wolf for a few years and was fortunate to take Tom Knisely's rag rug weaving class in person. We used heavy looms and made very tight, beautiful rag rugs. I added a heavy steel rod to the beater on my Baby Wolf but the 2 rag rugs I made did not have the same tight, strength of the one I made in class.
I bought a Glimakra Standard countermarch loom and the several, probably about 20, rag rugs I have made are great. All lay well on the floor and have held together beautifully for years.
If you want to make rag rugs, you may need a heavier loom. Perhaps your guild has one you can rent. I was unhappy with the Baby Wolf for many reasons but mostly because I was too tall to weave at it comfortably. It is designed for a weaver who is no taller than 5'4" and Schacht now sells a kit to expand the height of the loom for use by people over 5'4". It's still not heavy enough for good, sturdy rag rugs.
Good luck and get back to us on what you decide to do.
Thank you. I figured I would need a heavier loom:)
You are very fortunate to have taken a class with Tom K. I bet that was a lot of fun! I never thought I would be interested in rag rugs, but after buying Tom's book I was really inspired to give them a try.
I appreciate your insight and help, thank you. I'm guessing that the Baby Wolf is more geared toward lighter projects only.
Claudia's comments are interesting. I am 5'4" and one reason I sold my BW was that I could never get comfortable with it. If I used it for more than about 1/2 hour, my back hurt. I replaced it with a Tools of The Trade 26" loom, which is more substantially made, has a larger shed (graduated jacks) and the height of the treadles is adjustable. Much better, but harder to find.
Besides the lighter beater, the BW will have a hard time getting the very tight tension that a nice tight rug requires. Most people who make a lot of rugs or rag textiles use a countermarche or counterbalance loom. Kessinich jack looms are said to capable of making good rag rugs.
I'm 5'6" and experiencing the same issues. Thank you for the feedback. I think it is time to go shopping.