I recently acquired a 25" Tools of the Trade 4-shaft table loom.  For the most part, it just needs a good cleaning/finish rejuvenation, a new reed, and some heddles.  However, there is one mystery.that I am hoping someone can clear up.  It has to do with the handles at the ends the warp and cloth beams. The handle design is very simple.  There's a hole through the end of each beam.  A short length of wooden dowel fits through the hole and acts as a handle.  The dowels each have two holes drilled through them.  When I got the loom, one of the dowels was in a little plastic bag of extra parts.  The other was attached to the cloth beam by a cord running through its holes.  All of this is shown in the pictures below.

Admittedly, my loom is a bit of a Frankenloom.  It came with a homemade raddle and the little bag of extra parts included three extra levers.  The heddles were tangled.  It was not tied up properly.  The reed, was missing one end and just short of inches wide (perhaps the original reed, broken, perhaps from some other source).  So, I am wondering how the handle dowels are really supposed to be attached to the beams.  My guess is that originally there was something like a cotter pin, or perhaps a shorter, very thin piece of dowel that went through each of the holes in the handle dowels.

Can anyone solve this mystery?  If you own a Tools of a Trade table loom, a picture of how the handles are assembled would be wonderfully helpful.




as described in the titleDowel with two holes drilled through itDowel insrted through beam, held on by a cord



I have a 26" Totts floor loom that I love.  If the method of attaching the handles works, does it matter what it is?  Looms are tools, and you can treat them like furniture that requires an exact match for that trim, but why?  It's very difficult to break a reed.  Modern reeds often do not have an end cap on each end, and if it is an older reed, it may have been cut to fit the loom.  The reed doesn't have to fit the loom exactly; it has to be large enough for the project at hand.  Some small looms have open-end chanels so that a reed larger than the loom can be used without cutting it.  I use a homemade raddle that is superior to any manufactured raddle that I have seen (I will never use the AVL raddle again!!!) because it uses screw eyes for dividers; threads are locked in by threading a dowel through the eyes.  What you call a Frankenloom sounds to me to have belonged to someone who had several looms and a variety of reeds and other equipment and swapped things out, adjusting things to meet the project at hand and the loom to be used.  One of my favorite looms is a barn frame loom that was made ~1750 with two shafts.  It is now an 8 shaft countermarche, which you would probably call a Frankenloom.  I call her Freyja.


Hi, Big White Sofa Dog.  Thanks for responding.  I see that somehow when editing my original post I managed to leave out the length of the reed that was in the loom when I bought it.  It is just short of 17 inches long.  Certainly, the original reed was longer than that.  As you say, the channel is longer than even the new 25 inch reed.  However, I sincerely doubt that the loom was originally sold with a reed so much shorter than its weaving width.

Anyway, I am interested to learn how the handles were originally assembled for two reasons.  First, I am usually curious about things like that.  On a more practical note, the best tools are the ones that do their jobs well and don't get in the way when you use them.  Since I need to fuss with the loom anyway, why not reattach the handles as best as I can?  The original design is probably a good starting point for deciding what to do.

As for Frankenlooms, I get you point.  The goal is a tool that works.  However the previous owner was not a weaver.  She purchased this loom with the intention of learning, but never got around to taking lessons.  She said the loom was in working condition, but it really needed cleaning and all sorts of little things, like tying on the apron sticks and untangling and redistributing (and adding to) the 309 heddles, a good number of which were mounted crisscrossing each other.  I don't think anyone would have been weaving on the loom in the condition in which it was sold.  But the price was very right and the work (and cost) to fix it up is not that much.  I am very glad to have purchased it.

FYI, here is a picture of the loom as it was after I brought it home and untangled the heddles.  It shows how narrow the reed is compared to the loom.  The right hand end of the reed has been cut off.

dukie362 (not verified)

I am restoring a 24" Tott too and I forgot to take some before pictures...the lamms that push up the shafts are different sizes and I can't remember the order...Any clue?


Dukie, Is your TotT loom a floor loom? If so, here is a Craigslist listing of a loom that is slightly larger than yours. Perhaps the pictures will help you with your project. https://providence.craigslist.org/art/6180829423.html

sally orgren

Scroll down to see an 8 shaft TOTT table loom for sale. On the right, you can see the cloth beam advance handle is the same as yours. Our guild has one of these looms also, and I remembered the handle looking like this.


Your 17" reed will work just fine for narrower fabrics woven on this loom. (When folks have custom reeds made, one end will cut off.)

You can order a new reed the complete width of the loom from Gowdey Reed Co. or other sources. Stainless steel is preferred, as it won't rust.


As the lamms get closer to the front of the loom,they get larger to compensate for the fact that there is less travel in the treadle. Why did you take them apart?


Hi Sally,

Thanks ever so much for pointing out that photo!  It looks like someone has done to that loom what I am doing to mine - replacing the cords with Texsolv.  While I was pretty certain that the handle that I had was original, the question that was in my mind was how was it held onto the loom.  In the photo, that is done using cord, which means there is probably a knot lurking behind what we can see.  If that was the original design, I am a little surprised, seeing all the hardware fasteners used in the loom's construction.  But heck, this is my first go at restoring a loom to full working condition.  It's a fun project, and the design of this loom is straightforward enough to make it easy.

For what it's worth, there are some differences between the loom and the photo and the one I have (other than the number of shafts).  For example, the cloth beam on mine is cylindrical; the one in the photo is octagonal in cross section. 

As you say, that 17 inch reed would be fine for projects that are up to 17 inches wide.  However, the loom's weaving width is 25 inches, and it would be nice to be able to take advantage of that.  I now have new reeds from Gowdy Reed.  (I also purchased some heddles from them, as 309 heddles really are not enough for that width.)  Discovering Gowdy Reed was a delightful surprise, as I live in Massachusetts and am fascinated by the region's history.  Years ago I visited the Textile Museum up in Lowell, MA, which tells the story of weaving and its role in the Industrial Revolution and what that meant to economy and society.  So, there was Gowdy Reed, established at the beginning of that tumultuous time, and somehow still surviving today, just outside of Providence, RI and about an hour's drive from my home!  For me, that is the icing on the cake.  So cool.

Thanks again for your help!

sally orgren

used some hardware from Leclerc, and he also modified the design as he went along. So the differences might be due to the vintage of your particular loom.


Sally, that makes perfect sense.  It was his design, after all.

Thanks again!


of course, I will probably never meet a TOTT loom in the flesh myself, but for the interest of loom theory -

you write: "As the lamms get closer to the front of the loom,they get larger to compensate for the fact that there is less travel in the treadle."

Could you pls elaborate? Is this a jack loom? (My only experience of jack looms is my AVL PDL, so I'm a novice on those) Lamms "get larger" - how? Heavier (how?), wider, longer...? How would "larger" compensate for "less travel"?

(Us CB and CM weavers "compensate" by having slack in the tie-up cords - that is, if I am understanding you correctly)

Kerstin in Sweden, as ever both curious and confused

sally orgren

On the floor model, there are jacks that push up the shafts when the treadle is depressed. On my loom, they are all the same size and width across all 12 shafts. The TOTT loom pictured is a table model, also a rising shed. (No jacks or lamms.) I'm with you Kerstin - I think perhaps the wrong terms are being used.

sally orgren

This thread is about restoring a TOTT table loom, which does not involve lamms. I am posting a few photos of the TOTT lamms to the alternate forum "tools of the trade looms" so other owners might find bread crumbs to follow.


hello there, I just bought a ToTT 25" 4 harness table top loom. It appears to be in excellent working order and I am a complete newbie. It didn't come with aprons and I am wondering how to replace them. I also wish I could open your pics Debbie because they sound similar. I bought mine to take to workshops too. I am part of a spinning group here in NW Michigan and the members are helping me get started. Sharon


When the site migrated, the pictures from older posts did not come with it. Your best bet is to contact the poster directly (PM) and ask for pics.