We bought this loom in April 2018 and whilst it needed a fair amount of renovation, there was only one major problem with it: it had been run on an electric motor by a previous owner, and for some unfathomable reason they had cut out the cranks for the pedals, leaving only a straight bar for the bottom shaft. Our number one objective was to restore pedal power to this machine so we had to fashion some cranks and weld them in.
In this photo our first loom shows how the cranks look on the lower shaft, the rusty bar below is what came with our second loom.
Potentially not a difficult job, but the places we took it to were too busy to be bothered with such a piffling little job. Eventually it was taken on by a local sheet metal workers. It took a long time to get this done, the first attempt was welded into the original bar and it was much too wobbly to work. Months later the second version appeared and it spun very, very true.
The loom in many pieces after unloading from the van.
Rusty lams clean up nicely on the grinder.
Working on beater wood, and painting the warp beam flanges black.
Loom shaft before renovation, some of the wood was saved, and some new pieces were bought. Even after derusting the heddles were brittle and rough so I bought 700 new ones.
Lots of bits...
Take up motion
The above photo shows the loom mostly assembled:
What has been done:
- New leather straps on picking sticks, across the raceboard and for the cloth beam at the front.
- New raceboard.
- New wood on shaft 4.
- All new heddles.
- Top lifting springs are automatic car boot openers!
- The metallic pimply cover that grips the newly woven cloth at the front of the loom is replaced by a strip of heavy duty emery cloth.
- A handle rises above the latter which is made from a broom handle.
- Picking sticks sanded and varnished.
- Various derusting and painting.
And that's just what is in this photo. All parts painted in a silvery colour were restored by Michael, from whom we had bought the loom. He had made a start on the restoration some years ago but eventually put it on hold.
Suddenly the job, which had seen me renovate every aspect of the loom until I could progress no further without the lower shaft, was moving on quickly.
New crank in place, pedals on, at last!!
Even so, the 2-3 days I envisaged the finish the loom became 3 weeks. I was determined to approach it carefully and thoroughly so even minor jobs could take hours. The lower shaft was at last assembled and the intricate process of tuning and timing could begin. It took no time at all to get it 'nearly' there, but going from being able to throw a shuttle to and fro on the raceboard to doing the same thing through a moving warp shed would always be the most precise job of all.
I threaded four threads to get a rough idea of how the shed would look with a full warp.
A 5 metre warp was made, using colours that were spare, resulting in a lovely vibrant sheet.
The loom was set for plain weave - 2 Up, 2 Down. There followed much alteration of the timing of the picking and of the shaft movement, and it was very satisfying to see it all come together. The videos embedded at the top of this page show a point where we'd got consistency and were weeding out any errors.
Once confidence was gained with the single shuttle, I couldn't resist looking at the revolving box, which allows up to 6 shuttles to be woven. The design of the loom impresses me greater the more I learn about it, and this admiration extends even further with the revolving box. It is very finely tuned, the process of which has led me to despair on many occasions with both looms (I think I might have cracked it now - need another loom to find out if so...). This time the box was ready to roll, the only thing remaining was to match shuttles up to specific boxes so they are not too tight or loose. This itself will take time for all 6 boxes, but we were able to weave with 2 boxes for a short time just as the warp was running out.
Right hand shuttle box before restoring.
Revolving box before restoring.
We have since beamed up a 10 metre warp which has yet to be tied on to the previous warp, and we also have a new 9 dent/inch reed to install.