Wednesday, January 7, 2015

'Dream' Loom

This is the wish list I sent to Bruce Bannerman

Bear in mind that this is for a portable/folding floor loom - one that can - with some effort - be transported to workshops or relatively easily be folded up and put away if space is a consideration.  This is not meant to be a production type loom - for that I'm very happy with my Leclerc Fanny and would not willingly give her up.  But if I was in the market for a small portable/folding loom, this is what I would be looking for...

So cherry picking features from some of the various
looms I've used and  adding some thoughts of my own,
here is what I would like to see in a  small 'portable'
floor loom. 
Light enough two people can move it (whatever that means
- I'm thinking  50 pounds based on my ability to sling a
50 pound suitcase around by myself) 
Wheels to more easily move it without having to actually
carry it 
          Not X frame.  Unless it can be made in such a way that
it doesn't start  to fold up on me when I'm weaving on
it - an experience I've had and it isn't 'fun'.
Flat breast and back beams (not slanted beams)
           Warp/cloth beams larger than closet doweling.  
8 shafts 10 treadles would be wonderful although may not
be possible but if not...
4 shafts 6 treadles
Shafts that can be taken out of the loom easily to
re-arrange heddles  when necessary.
Heddle bar holders.  Should  be able to move heddles from side to side
of centre.  
A brake system that can be released from the front of
the loom without  the warp beam flinging feet of warp
off of it.   
Shed size that would accommodate an 'ordinary' boat
shuttle, say 2 to  2.5 inches?
Does not need to have a shuttle race even though so many
looms have them. 
Able to take different brands of reeds - iow, a beater
top that adjusts  to different heights.   
Also a beater that can take different *lengths* of reeds,  not closed in so that only one size fits the beater.
In a small footprint loom, it might well be 'better'
shed geometry to  have the back beam be higher than the
front.  Not sure that's practical  in terms of
designing/building a small loom that many
smaller  folding jack looms have a warp that levitates
well above the shuttle  race (not much point having one
if the warp doesn't lay flat on it!) and  I find that
adding height to the back beam frequently helps. 
Breast/back beams that can be removed, even if it means
taking out a  couple of screws.

According to Mr. Bannerman, even though their folding floor loom doesn't have some of these features, he would be willing to do modifications such as opening the beater up to take longer reeds, adding wheels and so on.  What he can't do - and still retain the ability to fold up - is make the beams bigger, although the beams on his loom are 2" not closet rod doweling.  :)  Nor can he make it be 8 shafts and still make it light enough to carry or fold up.

However, most of the other options he is willing to do if the loom doesn't already have those features.

Although I'm not fond of fiddly brake release systems, Mr. Bannerman also makes a 'collar' that can be fitted to the back beam to allow a more effective live weight tension system.  Which is what I would add in order to make a lot of the smaller folding looms work 'better' imho.

The good/bad news is that they have a waiting list for their looms - the wait list is currently one year.

I'd like to thank whomever forwarded my blog to Mr. Bannerman.  It was an interesting conversation.  :)


Antonia Smith said...

Wow Laura...have you ever looked at the saori looms?

Laura Fry said...

No, I've only seen pictures, never seen on in real life. :)


Valerie said...

I would also specify that heddle barcholders be centered. On my Compact they are not centered, and they are not an easy to calculate distance from center (maybe if you are working metric). So that's an extra bit of figuring that I have to do to get the warp centered on the loom.

Laura Fry said...

Having the heddle bar hooks not be centred isn't a problem for me because I don't use them to indicate 'centre'. However I know many people do. With some looms, putting them in the centre doesn't work because of the position of the jack attachment which must be in the centre or the shafts will tip and jam.

What I do instead is have a centering tape on the bottom of the beater bar. Much easier to find the right hand selvedge that way.


Snarled Yarns said...

Am I the only person who's noticed that reeds don't sit all the way in the groove on the beater? This seems to cause the warp to ride above the shuttle race.