Missouri Loom Set Up

Lee has acquired a new Missouri loom, and like me when I got mine, has lots of questions about how to set it up. Also like me, she’s finding that there isn’t a lot of info available on it, so I’m trying to assist with photos. So many weavers have been so generous with their time and knowledge for me, I’m happy to do the same for others. I hope this helps Lee, and possibly others with a Missouri loom.

To use it as a floor loom, first you have to set it on its stand. The loom frame goes on the outside of the stand frame and the ‘butterfly’ nuts hold it in place. Here’s the front and back of the loom on the stand.

Missouri loom on stand, front

Missouri loom on stand, back

Now look at the left side of the loom (with the breast beam facing you) and you’ll see two bolts and washers. My son added the chain on the frame for me to keep it in place while I worked at set up.
side bolts on Missouri loom

You’ll see two hooks on the end of the bundle of lamms.
hooks on lamms

Slip the hooks over the bolts.
hooks on bolts, Missouri loom

Now you have your set of 4 lamms attached on 1 end of the loom and hanging on the floor underneath it.

Look at the right side of the loom and you’ll see the cords for the hand levers to move the harnesses.

cords for hand levers

I had to replace all the cords on my loom and after trying a few things, went with Texsolv for them all. This allowed me to have relatively infinite adjustments to all cords and eliminate a tied loop that had been on those side cords.

So now hook the cords from the other end of the lamms (away from the hooks on the bolts) to the vertical cords coming from the harnesses. Here’s a distance view and a closeup.
lamms to harnesses

lamms to harnesses, close up

You’ll see that the hooks look old and rusty. They are. I opted to stay with the original hooks since the were clearly strong enough to withstand the strain & tension needed for weaving. I knew I’d have to find a whole different connector if I used new hooks to achieve that same strength.

Once the lamms are hooked to the loom, tie them to the treadles and away you go.

Good luck, Lee! Let me know if I can be of more help.

33 comments to Missouri Loom Set Up

  • ellen b santana

    dear ms cherre–i am interested in buying a missouri loom. i am going to see it tomorrow. it is a 20 shaft loom. do you know anything about this company? i found a manual listed on the weaver’s friend website but i cannot seem to access the manual itself. 20 shafts. a little scary. thanks for your time. ellen santana

    • Peg Cherre

      I really don’t know much more than is in my post – the company has been out of business for many years. I have the manual but it is really very little about the loom – mostly basic weaving info. We have an 8shaft at our local Weaving Center, and I had absolutely no idea they went up to 20! Good luck with your weaving!

  • I was gifted an 8 shaft Missouri loom, which I just found out what kind it was today. After replacing the side lever strings with Texsolv cord, it is weaving pretty good. Still figuring out a few things on it, but I like it. Do you know anything about when these were made? I would love to find out how old this one is. thanks!

    • Peg Cherre

      I had a heck of a time finding any information on my Missouri loom, Ann, and can’t shed any more light than I have on my blog. Sorry! I do know that our Weaving & Fiber Arts Center has an 8shaft, and a while ago online somewhere I saw someone had a 16shaft for sale!

  • Emily Charlton

    I currently own a 20 shaft Missouri Loom. It has fixed legs. The loom has 3 back beams, 10 levers on either side to lift the shafts. It appears to have home-made aluminum stops for the back beams to catch on the gear and keep the beam from rotating. In order to advance the woven work it is a manual process of releasing the back beam and hand tightening the front beam. There are no crank handles or easy rear beam releases. I am not able to find out a lot about Missouri Loom history. Any information would be appreciated.

    • Peg Cherre

      When I bought my Missouri loom several years ago, I scoured the internet for information. When I found a source for an online Missouri manual, I thought I’d hit gold. But no, there’s very little info about the loom, more about the basics of weaving. I have the same issue with the brakes on my little 4H Missouri. Although I do have cranks, I mostly have to move the beams by hand to set them where I want them to be, or to release them. Good luck!

  • mary dillon

    Hello Peg,
    Thank you so much for your very quick response. I have been without the internet since right after I sent this message. I found a 8 dent reed that was the same height but wider and had it cut down and it is perfect. I am having trouble replacing all of the cords..I am going to try cord from mini blinds or else I will have to use Texsolv. The pictures on this page help a great deal but I wish there was a picture of the whole loom set up on the stand. The manual that came with it is very limited. Any ideas on where to obtain some better pictures..( not that these are not good but my eyes are awful).

    I want to thank you so very much for helping me with this..
    Mary Dillon

    • Peg Cherre

      Mary – I’d happily take more photos for you of the whole setup, except that I use my Missouri very rarely…it mostly lives in my attic waiting for me to need it. The next time it comes down for a chance at a photograph could be many months from now. I would say, in general, that if you know how to tie up a 4 shaft loom, it’s the same thing for the Missouri. You can do a direct tie up (1 shaft to 1 treadle) or a standard 4-shaft tie up (treadle 1=shafts 1&2, treadle 2=shafts 2&3, etc.). I have found a few more photos on my computer that may be helpful, so will email them to you.

  • Mary Dillon

    Hello, I just saw these postings and am excited that I found some information. I was “gifted” a Missouri Loom, 4 shaft with stand and tie ups. I believe it is Model 2004. I am trying to locate a 8,10,12 dent reed. It is actually 20 1/2″. Any ideas where I could locate any parts or a reed? Thank you so much for any assistance. I think I am going to love this loom.

    • Peg Cherre

      I think you can buy a reed from most places, but I think it may have to be a special order, as I think it’s not the width that is tricky, but the height. Take those measurements and do a google search. As for other parts, you’re probably best off to have a woodworker make you any wooden parts. What else are you looking for?

  • Margot

    Peg –


    Thank you for your reply. I’m looking forward to receiving the manual. My loom came with an additional warp beam (a sectional) and I can’t figure out how to remove the other beam. Any thoughts? Thank you .


    • Peg Cherre

      Sorry, Margot. I’ve not seen a Missouri with a double back beam, so can’t offer any input on removing it.

  • Jennifer Roland

    Oh! Size is interesting! You will be shocked at this….I found one on EBay with…wait for this…
    20 Shafts!

  • Jennifer Roland

    I was so excited to find your post. You are right very little out there about this loom. I did find a site that has the original manual in digital form. I cleaned my little loom and bought new heddles! .
    I am a brand new Weaver and this little room seems really easy to use. I got in a bunch of weaving junk at a garage sell. I cleaned the wood with Ashford loom wax.
    Thanks for your post!
    I would at a picture but I do not know how!?

  • RK in Denver

    Thank you very much for writing this, and for including photos! My best friend and I were able to set up the Missouri loom that I got at the Guild garage sale, using your very helpful information.

    • Peg Cherre

      Glad I could help, RK! Have fun weaving!

    • Jennifer Roland

      I got a little 4 shaft Missouri loom! I got it free with a bunch of stuff from a garage sale! I cleaned it up and it is adorable. I am a new weaver so it is great for classes! I bought new heddles! I can not find much info on this loom so if anyone has info or links I would love to have them!

    • Peg Cherre

      Jennifer – There is precious little info available about the Missouri loom. I had to just sort of muddle my way through making mine workable again, as it hadn’t been used in many years. I tried to take lots of photos that I showed in this post. FYI, the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center here in Rochester (NY) has an 8H Missouri – I had no idea they came that size!

  • Lee

    Thank you so very much. This does indeed help. I also have old and rusty parts, and my clips look just like yours. I love the texsolv idea for the ability to adjust. I have discovered that in addition to replacing the broken cords, I also need to replace the rest as they don’t seem to be tied correctly now. I assume that when the loom is unfolded, the castle is at the proper height when it is resting on the little screws on the inside of the frame with the little hooks that are attached to the castle. I noticed in one of your pictures that the path of the warp seems to dip down to go through the heddle eyes and then back up to the back beam. I suppose this is to allow for a larger shed than if the warp was level with the front and back beam. Do your harnesses (I think that’s the right word)rest on the bottom of the castle frame when they are down and then travel all the way to the top or do they remain hanging about an inch above the bottom when they are down? On the loom that I got, there were holes drilled in the bottom of the slats that go across the bottom of the loom so I assumed that it bolted directly to the frame. Probably because the original butterfly nuts got lost. I don’t think that will make any difference in the long run, just that the whole thing will be just an inch or 2 higher because the stand does not spread as much. Good thing to know in case it sits a bit high for me, I am vertically challenged at 5′ 1″. One final question for now, do you know how to clean up the metal frames the heddles slide on and the heddles themselves? I will use some good wood cleaner to clean the wood parts when I take everything apart to re-string, but the heddles look like the clips (not quite as bad), some have a bit of rust, and the bars that they hang on are very dirty so that the heddles don’t slide well at all. I also have another part that is a bar of wood with attachment points at the end. This bar has 2 additional harnesses that obviously will fit this loom, but I can’t find anywhere that they might attach to this. I will try to take a picture with me cell phone and send to you. They may just be extra harnesses, but it would be interesting to know if they were intended to expand the capacity of this loom. Not that I need expanded capacity at this point, I would just like to be able to figure this one out. LOL


    • Peg Cherre

      Glad it’s helpful, Lee. I’ll try to respond to your questions in order.

      FYI, I have pegs as opposed to screws inside the loom that the castle rests on when unfolded, but it’s probably the same setup.

      My harnesses do indeed rest on the castle frame when at rest/in the neutral position. So yes, the warp ‘bends down’ to the heddle eyes when at rest. When raised to their full height, the top of the harness almost touches the little rollers in the top of the castle.

      I’m not sure I’m following you about the holes in the slats & the stand, but that’s ok; I probably don’t need to.

      Regarding cleaning the heddles and heddle bars…my bars were rusty but the heddles were not. I have the same problem on my Macomber loom. A smart person would replace the bars, but I haven’t done so on either loom. Instead I’ve moved all the heddles to one side, cleaned the bars as well as I could with a scrubby pad and then rubbed it with silicone spray – spray it onto a cloth & rub it on the bar. Anything that’s oil-based is recommended against by other loom owners as too strong a potential to drip on your threads. If I can figure out what I used I’ll let you know. One other possibility is to clean the heddle bars as best as you can and then ‘paint’ them with clear nail polish. I’ve painted some of the bottom bars on my Macomber to help with the threading process…so I can confirm which harness I’m threading.

      I recommend Watco Danish Oil for the wood. Clean it all, then follow the directions on the can for the Danish Oil – it’s lovely stuff.

      I don’t recommend cleaning the heddles if they’re rusty. I think it would be relatively impossible to get them completely rid of rust and make certain that there were no tiny burs on the heddle holes. I would shell out the $$ for new heddles. Two reasons: (1) I spent a bunch of time with my first loom trying to clean a rusty reed, and all I got was a sore arm and a bunch of time gone. I had to buy a new reed anyway. I know others have successfully cleaned reeds of rust, but it didn’t seem worth the work to me. (2) Your yarn/thread will pass through these heddles. It wouldn’t take much for them to be discolored by rust and/or abraded by tiny unseen burs.

      I’d have to see the extra harnesses & wooden bar to have an idea what it is. My loom has no ability to accept extra harnesses. If that wooden bar somehow attached to your castle, I guess it’s possible that it could be expanded to 6 harnesses.

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