Macomber Assembly Update

Yikes! I had this post all written, had the photo in and everything, then suddenly, POOF, it was all gone. And I stupidly hit the Update Post button by mistake, saving an EMPTY post!

My original post was much more witty and clever than this do-over. What?! You don’t quite believe me on that?! I’m offended 🙂

Anyhoo, I’ve been quite busy lately catching up on custom weaving orders and doing a few small shows, so I haven’t had as much time as I might like to work on the assembly of my lovely new Macomber 8-harness loom. I have made some progress, with all of the wooden parts now connected to each other.

I wrangled Margaret into helping me install the castle into the frame. Had anyone had a video camera here during the process, it would have made a pretty funny YouTube post, if our 90 MINUTE ordeal were edited down to about 4. How is it possible to take 90 minutes to screw one thing into another, you ask?

Start by gathering shims (to lift the castle to the appropriate height), rubber mallet (to gently move it into the exact right spot), screws, screwdrivers, 2 flashlights – one of which I could hold in my mouth to put that light exactly where I wanted it to be, and other assorted implements of destruction. Bear in mind that I wanted the screws to go in exactly the same spots they were before, for 2 reasons. Macomber looms were always factory assembled, and I figured that they put the castle at a particular height for a darned good reason. Plus, since the loom is made from a beautiful bird’s eye maple, it would be hard as hell to make new screw holes in the frame without using power tools, and I was NOT going to get power tools near this vintage beauty. Now hear all sorts of talk like: “Do you think it needs to go up a little? Down a little?” “Nudge it forward a bit — too much!” “Look at this from your angle – what do I need to do to hit the old hole dead on?” “Can you hold these up so I don’t hit my knuckles with every turn of the screwdriver?” etc., etc., etc.

Finally, I have 6 of the 8 screws in place. My hand hurts, and I’m constantly trying to squeeze my not-so-small body into a too-small space to work in. All of a sudden, #$%&*@!!! The wooden piece (also known as brake) that I moved up out of our way early on is now in a position where it’s completely non-functional. There’s only one way to move it into its appropriate place.

You guessed it – remove those 6 screws, lift up the castle, replace it in exactly the same spot, and replace the screws. Fortunately, we were able to get the castle back where it belonged pretty easily the second time around.

After Margaret left, and after I’d woven 6 more scarves, a baby blanket, and a throw, I installed some cool-looking, really heavy cast iron pieces and the front cloth beam, then the beater.

Now I’m at a standstill again. Partly ‘cuz I still have more orders to get out, partly ‘cuz I’m waiting for direction from the ever-helpful Sarah at Macomber, who’s busily working on her own weaving commission. This baby has dozens of holes that are for purposes mysterious to me. I expect it’ll be more than a week before I can get back to it, but I’m really looking forward to the next steps in bringing this vintage loom back to full weaving function.

Got a Macomber loom of your own? Willing to share some of your thoughts, ideas, hints, and more for my next steps? Leave me a comment!

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