Loom Puzzle

I admit it. I have harness envy. I LOVE my little four-harness counterbalance weaving loom to pieces.
It’s small, it’s quiet, it’s easy to operate. It’s handmade, meaning a woodworker made it especially for a weaver, perhaps her/himself, perhaps a loved one, perhaps even for sale.

Yet, as a 4-harness, and a counterbalance loom at that, it has its limitations. I want 8 harnesses. And a jack loom. (A primary difference between these two styles is that a counterbalance loom is designed to have 2 harness up and 2 down at any time. It doesn’t really like to have 1 up and 3 down, although I’ve taught my little loom to handle it. A jack loom can handle any combination of harnesses up and down, enabling you to more easily weave complex patterns.)

I searched both Craig’s List and eBay for a while, believing that the right loom for me would make itself known if I was patient.

And then, voila! It did!

I just bought a beautiful old Macomber 8-harness loom. In pieces. Several of them.
This is the tallest part of the loom, appropriately called the castle. Also leaning against my chair is the beater, the part of the loom that you use to pack in the fiber while you weave.

Here’s the frame of the loom, showing the 10 treadles and front & back beams. (As you’re weaving, the to-be-woven yarn passes over the back beam and the already-woven cloth passes over the front beam.)
My gray Magic kitty is an added bonus in both pix. He certainly wasn’t part of the purchase, but is an important element in my household. Magic made it his job to make sure each part passed his inspection.

And here are a variety of smaller parts – reeds, shuttles, and miscellaneous important hardware.
And look at the very cool basket the shuttles came in!

Never having assembled a loom before, I keep telling myself to take it one step at a time and it will become clear. And to remember what I’ve repeated to one of my non-weaving friends many times in the past few years, “a loom is a very simple machine – not complex at all.”

I am, of course, excited. And a bit disappointed that I can’t spend lots of time in assembly right now, ‘cuz I have several weaving orders to get out. But I will keep you updated on my progress.

In the meantime, I’m extremely grateful for Sarah Haskell, who’s guiding me through the process. And for the folks at Weavolution who encouraged me to take the leap and buy an old, disassembled loom.

Got any stories about assembling your loom to share?

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