tools of the trade loom

I have a Tools of the Trade Loom. The leather ID tags give the name, Fairhaven, Vermont and #144. It is an 8 harness, 10 treadle, 45inch reed loom. I know it is old. I know they are no longer being made. Can anyone tell me anything else about them? Approximate year they were made?  Has anyone fixed up one with any success? It is very heavy and lots of chains from the treadles to the lams. I know they can be replaced with Texsolv but the wood is old too. Thank you for any information that you can give me. I am trying to find out if I should fix it up or try to sell it and buy a new one.


Posted on Thu, 04/15/2010 - 16:57

I have a TOTT loom, sounds as though it's similar to yours except mine is 36" weaving width.  I changed the chains to texsolv and have sold the loom.  And, here is why.  It's a big, heavy loom and works very well for fine fabrics and rugs.  You can beat really hard and that's what is needed for rugs and it's why I bought the loom.  The problem, for me, is that my body length is in my torso and not in my legs and the distance from the front beam to the floor and to the treadles did not work for me.  Once I raised the treadles it was better but not great.

There are a couple of Weavolution members who own and love this loom.  I'll try to get in touch and ask them to comment.  Also, try measuring for sitting at and weaving at this loom before you make a decision about keeping it or not.  They are not easy to find and are well loved by many who own them.

Marie (ingamarie) posted a Walter Turpening method for measuring and adjusting your bench for weaving.  It's here.  When I went through this I learned I needed to raised the treadles on my TOTT loom 5"!!  Important discovery and once I did I found it easier to weave on but I had already sold the loom and was weaving off the napkins.  This loom and I were never a good fit and she is headed to Daryl Lancaster's studio which will be great for all of us.


Posted on Thu, 04/15/2010 - 17:17

I own four Tools of the Trade looms, and will acquire my fifth tomorrow, thanks Claudia.  I love the loom, all of them, the one you have was probably made around 1980.  I bought my 45" 8 shaft in 1978, and it is number 94.  I love my large loom, it is weighty, yes, but I weave yardage for clothing and it has never given me a day of trouble in all the years I've owned it.  Every loom has its quirks, and I married my looms for life, so I overlook anything minor like that.  I do, unlike Claudia, have really long legs, and a long torso, and the loom fits my frame. I do know, that the year after Art made my loom, he started lowering the whole castle 3" because so many complained the loom was too big to reach the treadles comfortably.  I don't know whether your loom was the taller castle or the scaled back version.

If you want more information, and yes I've switched most of my treadle chains to Texsolv, feel free to email me directly, [email protected].  The loom was made of solid rock maple, which will still be around a bazillion years from now.  Unless you had one of the cherry looms.  The wood on these looms is solid.

Posted on Thu, 04/15/2010 - 17:40

Well, if you own a TOTT loom, I can assure you you are in GOOD company along with well-known weavers like Daryl Lancaster, Jan Friedman, and Marjie Thompson! Although they stopped making these looms in the mid-80's, I never thought I'd get to own one because you hardly ever see them come up for sale.

My vote (sight unseen) is to fix it up, put on a warp, and see what you think!

You mention "the wood is too old" on your loom. I am not sure what this means...The wood on the TOTT is typically rock maple, so I haven't even TRIED to drill into it. Your wood might be dirty, but it should be solid, unless the treadles have been replaced by a lesser wood or it suffered some kind of severe damage? (Photos would help!) 

I believe LeClerc parts might work with this loom, as I think I heard that was the original source for the metal prawls, etc. (Hopefully someone can chime in and confirm that.)

You have several of us here at Weavolution to help, and we can take pictures of our TOTT looms and post to this forum if you are wondering about missing parts or how things attach. If you fix it up and then decide to sell it, I wouldn't be surprised if it goes quickly.


My TOTT story:
When I was ready for my first real floor loom, I queried my guild mates incessantly about their looms, and I spent more than 2 years looking at ALL the looms being manufactured, including visiting looms at conferences and in homes of weavers in other states. (I saw something like 10 looms in 2 days on a visit to Iowa, thanks to my mother-in-law and my boss's wife!)

I was impressed by this brand for many reasons: because of the quality craftsmanship of the woodworker who made them, and the caliber of the work produced by the weavers who wove with them. I know everyone seems to have likes and dislikes about particular loom designs, but this brand seemed overall to have a lot of fans with positive things to say. It took me a few more years before one practically fell into my lap. (I bought it over the Internet, sight unseen!)

The closest loom I have seen in current production to the TOTT is the Fireside Fiber Arts loom (which also has an excellent reputation for fine craftmanship). 

My TOTT is #368, a 12 shaft, 45" 2 beam (one sectional), 14 treadle model that weighs under 250 pounds. I know because I had it crated and shipped from Medford, OR to NJ. My loom was owned by Marge King. (you can see some of her woven contributions in the Strickler 8 shaft book). She took such loving care of it and sent it to me with so many bells and whistles, I still think wonderful thoughts about her when I weave on this loom.

Let us know what you decide to do and if we can help!


Posted on Thu, 04/15/2010 - 20:50

Yes Sally, you are correct, Art told me back in the 1970's that he spent a lot of time looking at the LeClerc braking system and he used machined parts from them for his own looms.  There weren't a lot of loom brands back then, Norwoods did not have a friction brake, and that was important to him on his looms.  And you are also correct, you can't drill into Rock Maple.  We went through a half dozen drill bits trying to add handles to the sides of my small 8 shaft loom I bought for workshop use.  So the wood should hold up very well.

Posted on Sat, 04/17/2010 - 21:20

I cannot thank you all enough for all your help. I have not done any weaving for um..30 years plus. Raising a family took up my time. I had wanted a small almost table loom size loom. My husband, God love him, went to Colorado from New Mexico to purchase this loom. I was quite surprised when he showed up with this one. I decided to either take a class to refresh my memory  or stay intimidated by it and dust it.  I opted for the class and get moving. After really looking at it and getting some input from my instructor and the replies from all of you I have decided to clean it up. Get all the muslin off and get to weaving! There is a broken piece of wood holding the front cloth beam. That is what I was concerned about but I think my husband can repair it. You are right this is a solid piece of wood and was worried about that piece holding the beam when I jumped the gun on the "old wood" part. I have enclosed a few pictures as requested. I will check on the length to the treadles. I'm only a 5' 4" incher so we'll try it out. Again thank you for your help. Any other advice you can give me I will gladly take. Also, so this loom was made by one man? I'm interested on finding out more information on that! Thanks!


Posted on Sat, 04/17/2010 - 22:50

Hi, you will be better off replacing this piece.It looks from the picture that someone has try repairing it. The grain of the wood does not match. If you sent me the measurements I will figure out a price of a new part out of rock maple. You can tell your husband the trick to drilling rock maple is a sharp drill bit and slow speed. If you drill too fast you will heat up and loss the temper on the drill bit. Then you can just throw it (the bit) away.


Posted on Sat, 04/17/2010 - 23:26

Michael, thank you so much. You are all so nice. We have a specialty wood store here. A good friend works there so I will see what he can do for me. If I have any problems I will get a hold of you.

Posted on Mon, 04/19/2010 - 11:47

Hi, Daryl posted a picture showing a metal plate on her "new" TOTT loom. When I saw the slanted cut I thought this was the case. This is done on a number of looms.


Posted on Mon, 04/19/2010 - 23:36

Hi Michael,

Hum...looks like it might have been made that way?! I didn't understand the question, sorry. I did send a picture of the beam on another thread but I will attach it again to this one. My husband all along said it looked like it was machine cut. I am getting a manual from Janet at "Weaversfriend" like you suggested. Maybe I'll find out more. Daryl's does look very familiar. Thank you again for your help. Kathy

Posted on Tue, 04/20/2010 - 14:02

Here's the view of my loom to mirror your loom what I am calling the "left, front beam, side view."

The front beam is slipped into a hole on the brake side (right side front as facing the loom), and then it just drops into this slot on the left side, and that metal flange slips over the slot.


Posted on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 03:49

Sally, Thank you so much for the pictures. It helps a lot to see a working TOTT. Another side I was confused on was the front beam brake. I will study your pictures better and see if I can figure it out.

Thank you, Kathy

Posted on Sat, 05/29/2010 - 03:38

Hi - i have  TOTT loom number 93- 45" 8 shaft.  I bought it from the original owner who received it as a  present from her parents when she graduated from college in 1978.  I like it very much, although I have not made too many things.  I like it better than the Macomber 8 harness i use at the Museum Weavers Barn at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista California.  I really appreciate all the information on this site.  Marty Foltyn San Diego CA

Posted on Fri, 12/23/2011 - 20:29

Hi, I bought a 8 shaft , 10 Treadle TOTT loom # 74 last year. I am just getting it together.  The only other loom I own is a Navajo loom.  I have some questions.  Do the shafts go in a particular way?  Is there a front,back, top or bottom?  Do both claws attach to the front beam?  There is no leaver to take up, should ther be?  There is a gap from the beam to the part that holds it, should ther be a lever there?  The back beam has no handle, should there be and which one do I order from Le Clerc?  The warp sticks are bent, should I order rods from Le Clerc as well?  I'm so excited to get started!  Thank so much for all the pictures and info here.

Mindy, Rocky Gap VA

Posted on Thu, 06/09/2016 - 10:22

I just purchased a 36" tools of the trade loom, sold as a32" so it's a little large for my space.  But in going over the loom, I realized there is no handle to beam the warp.  May have to find a replacement. Any suggestions?? 

Update, just heard from the previous owner, see never saw a handle on this loom, guess I will just have to wing it.

Posted on Wed, 06/08/2016 - 18:00

Any chance you can contact the seller immediately make sure the handle isn't lying around someplace?

I can take a picture of mine against a grid, so you can get an idea of what they look like and the size.

I am willing to bet there is something at the hardware store that would work equally as well.

BTW, I learned last summer at NEWS that TOTT maker Art was still alive and doing woodworking, just not looms. Also, at one time Daryl told me he used LeClerc for the metal hardware, so perhaps their site might be helpful?

Posted on Thu, 06/09/2016 - 00:11

The handle for the warp beam on my ToTT loom was also missing when I purchased it used, and I replaced it with a LeClerc handle purchased from Camilla Valley Farm.  The medium crank handle comes pretty close to fitting my loom.  That being said I think a ratchet wrench with the right size head would also work. You can see examples of Art's other work here

Posted on Thu, 06/09/2016 - 00:35

BIG Thanks for the link!

As soon as the photos popped up, I immediately was thinking "I want some of that guy's furniture!"

Then I thought, "Hey wait. I have some - my loom!"

Posted on Sun, 06/12/2016 - 12:42

It seems that the TOTT loom crank handles were pretty easy to misplace or lose for previous owners. Mine I bought last Nov also did not have it's original crank. The lady I bought mine from gave me the handle she used in place of the original which happens to be a Nilus LeClerc too.


It works fine for cranking, but has to be stored in the tool box when not being used or it will fall off. In my house I have too many snooping dog noses with a couple of them who love to "swipe" things that don't belong to them & chew the dickens out of whatever they find.

Posted on Sun, 06/12/2016 - 16:56

... for living with all that cuteness!

"In my house I have too many snooping dog noses with a couple of them who love to "swipe" things that don't belong to them & chew the dickens out of whatever they find."

Posted on Fri, 07/29/2016 - 00:06

I just got a lovely 8 harness, 45" TOTT loom and am cleaning it up (it spent some years in a garage).

I have about 35 tie-up chains and about 25 tie-up rods.  Is this enough?  I could make more tie-up rods out of coathanger, but the chain and washer setup would be hard to imitate.  I just wondered what people have with theirs.  Thanks!

Posted on Fri, 07/29/2016 - 03:02

is easy to replicate at any hardware store.

You only need as many rods as treadles, I assume 10. (Coat hanger wire is probably not strong enough.)

If you tie up half of all shafts across all treadles, that is 32 chains. If you tie up two additional treadles for tabby, you'll need an additional 8 chains.

But keep in mind, for projects that require lots of chains, you can always tie up the reverse (the pattern will weave on the underside) to lift fewer shafts (and that would require fewer chains, too.)

Posted on Fri, 07/29/2016 - 21:22

What I thought were tie-up things, Mr Weitzenfeld says are unrelated to the loom, I really have nine of the tie-up rods, plus these 25 things that are from Mars.  There was a random metal rod with the loom, a good bit longer than the tie-up rods, maybe it was a substitute for the lost rod.  I made one out of coathanger but I can see that it won't be rigid enough.

So I could get chains and get washers onto them in the same way that the washers are on these chains?  Offhand I can't envision how the washers got on the chains as they are larger than the hole in the washer in order to do their job.  I wonder how many chains it originally came with.

When I finish my four shaft coverlet and begin to re-assemble this loom, I will be back here begging for photos of the brake and the cloth beam lever, as I never saw those attached!  I removed the beams myself so I know how they go.

Thanks for the help!  I will surely be back here over the next few months as this progresses!

Posted on Sat, 07/30/2016 - 12:53

No not as long as that, and it's a bit thicker.  I think it's about 15 or 16" long - could be a heddle rod from a Leclerc Dorothy, I think, as I have the instruction manual for a Dorothy among the box of miscellany, as well as a 15" 15 dent reed...

Which reminds me - there were a whole bunch of inserted eye heddles on the shafts and they didn't slide very nicely - I don't know if it's the size of the rod vs. the heddle shape, or if the space isn't quite long enough for them and I need to give the hooks holding the rods half a turn to gain some space.  I think they are Leclerc 10.5" inserted eye heddles, as they match the ones I have already.  Do you or anyone else happen to have any trouble with those heddle rods being too big for your heddles?  Thanks!

Posted on Sun, 07/31/2016 - 12:42

False alarm, it's all there, just tucked up where I didn't randomly notice it.  Sorry!  And it looks just like the photo below!


I found this photo on another forum here, showing the long chain, spring, S hooks, little bar that connect the brake cable to the pedal and make it work.  I think I'm missing all of this stuff!  Is this from Leclerc??  This has me worried as a loom with no brake is a pile of pretty sticks...

Posted on Sun, 07/31/2016 - 17:03

As an earlier post mentioned, the hardware on my TOTT is Leclerc.  It's available from Leclerc or Camilla Valley Farm. I adore my TOTT.  It must be one of the earlier ones because it has no number or date.  It is one of the best designed looms I have seen, and it has an excellent large shed, rare for a small jack loom.  I paid $600 for it and it had paid for itself in the first year I had it in towel sales.  One key feature is that the jacks are graduated in size, which gives you the big shed.  The other is that the treadles can be adjusted in heighth and placement. I had a Baby Wolf and could not make it comfortable to work on.  I can work on my TOTT all day.

Posted on Fri, 08/05/2016 - 13:34

Thanks, that is nice to hear!  I'm almost done weaving on the Herald, just need to find it a new home and I can assemble the TOTT loom.  I'd love to know your experience of adjusting the jacks to achieve a really good shed, I know that I can do that but won't know till I get the loom put together how I want to do it.

Posted on Wed, 08/17/2016 - 19:27

I've put the beams on my loom - on each beam, there is an arm at each end that has a notch and goes onto a bolt sticking out of the castle.  On my loom, if I put the beams on with everything in the right place, the notches in the arms come up onto those bolts from below, which means that as I put things together they keep dropping off.  Shouldn't they go down onto the bolts from above, which means I need to take them off and turn them around?  I think I did the beams correctly, as the brake controls which way the back beam goes and the breast beam has to be level/flat to be on right...  Thanks!

Posted on Wed, 08/17/2016 - 20:13

They come down over the bolts, so they don't fall out.

Posted on Wed, 08/17/2016 - 20:52

On my 4 shaft ToTT they come from below and are held by washers and wing nuts.  You can see that the notches are slightly angled so that they don't fall right off (The picture is sideways).

Castle side of ToTT

Posted on Sun, 08/28/2016 - 17:29

On my 4 shaft TOTT the the front and back side support bars are on over the bolts like Sally's go. I brought my loom home from the previous owner intact. They work beautifully this way going over the bolts and unhook easily when needed with no falling off when in use.


Here is a photo of mine for comparrison to the other way.



Posted on Sun, 08/28/2016 - 22:55

I wonder if there's a particular date when the change was made.  My loom doesn't have a number, so I'm curious if it might be possible to use this info to help figure out its age.

Also, I haven't had any issues with the side pieces falling while in use.

Posted on Sun, 08/28/2016 - 23:48

Hmmm, I don't have any idea about that. My loom has the number 177 on it, but as far as when it was made or how old it is  I don't  know. Wonder if they kept records that people who own them could find out and where this info might be found? 

Posted on Mon, 08/29/2016 - 20:59

The piece of leather with the number is typically found on the left side of the castle (if facing the front of the loom) and typically there is second one on the top right side of the front of the castle. If you have two small holes instead, that is where the leather used to be.

The designer is still alive and makes furniture, but I am unsure if he wants to entertain queries about looms he stopped building in the mid-80's.

You could go back and look at weaving magazines and follow the advertising trail to get an idea of the period of production.

Posted on Mon, 08/29/2016 - 23:25

on the left side of the castle, but it has no number.  There isn't anything on the top right side of the front of the castle.  I'm curious, but not sure how much effort I want to put into researching it.

Posted on Fri, 12/09/2016 - 13:58

My loom has been up and running for several months and I've already woven one (four shaft) project on it.  I made a bunch of extra chains for the tieup out of stuff I bought at Home Depot (they cut the chain for me in short lengths, which was helpful) and went over the whole thing with clear Danish Oil.  It makes a great shed!  I hope I have not tied up the treadles too high, in order to get that shed, but I don't imagine I can be doing any harm by hooking each chain up in such a way as to get the shed I want.

Posted on Wed, 06/14/2017 - 09:22

I came home with a very heavy loom yesterday; had never heard of the maker (Tools of the Trade). Thank you all for this info. I'll be cleaning it up in the next few weeks and will try out a rag rug on it before I send it on to its next home. I love buying old looms, making them work well, then sending them on their way to other homes.

Posted on Wed, 06/21/2017 - 18:36

I just warped the loom this week after not using it all winter and I forgot to unhook the brake chain when I dropped the back beam to thread. Luckily there isn't room in the room for it to go all the way to the floor. I removed one link from the brake chain and all is well, and I won't do that again! Would I be able to replace that spring, if it ever got damaged beyond repair, by getting a Leclerc part?

Posted on Wed, 06/28/2017 - 14:07

Hmmm. I thread mine from the front and just fold the front beam up against the loom. I didn't have enough chains for mine (only about 10) so I changed to Texsolve.  However, the holes in the lamms are too big and the pegs sometimes come out.  I think I'm going to get some chain and change back to the chain and washer. Fotyc, on an earlier post you mention adjustable jacks. I didn't say the jacks were adjustable.  I said they were graduated. They get bigger toward the front.  Mine had no handle, a 1/4' ratchet handle works perfectly.

Posted on Fri, 06/30/2017 - 22:03

Here are a series of photos from under the shafts of my 12 shaft TOTT loom.

My lamms and jacks are all the same size. My loom is numbered #368.

lamms at rest

A treadle is activated: the red circle shows the lower part of the jacks from shaft 3 have been pulled down toward the lamms. The other end of the jack is pushing the shaft up.

Zoom shot from below the jacks, showing how the jacks are chained to the lamms.

FYI, I don't have a lot of shafts tied up at the moment because I am weaving a 6 shaft Huck pattern.

Posted on Thu, 10/05/2017 - 17:46

They are adjustable - maybe saying it's the jacks isn't what I mean - but if you look at the pictures just above here, there is a nut above and below the jack and you can  give the shaft some mechanical advantage by moving those nuts so the eye screw goes further down into the jack, thus giving the harness a boost.  I'm weaving my first eight shaft project and trying to make the adjustments that will give me a good shed across all eight shafts - it seems from the geometry of a multiharness loom that the back harnesses have to go up higher than the front ones to get the threads to clear the shed, and this loom has adjustments you can make this way (according to the directions from the maker).  I'd love to know if anyone has used these nuts to improve the shed when using all the harnesses, and how you did it and how it worked for you.