This is a view of the AVL with dobby. The black box is the original Compu-Dobby I - yes, I'm still using 'antique' equipment - and the silver cylinder is the piston that has opened every single shed since it was installed in...ta-DAH! - 1998. I believe I picked up the parcels in May so pretty much exactly 17 years ago. Of course it took some time to get everything installed, but...
Last summer the piston began leaking a bit of oil. It didn't seem to be causing any problems, so I just cleaned it off after every weaving session and carried on. I've had a few other, more pressing, things on my mind.
On Saturday I noticed that it wasn't leaking a little oil but the whole wooden panel behind the cylinder was drenched in it. Doug thought it was the intake valve and replaced it, but it turns out it's leaking from the rod (piston) itself.
Naturally this revelation occurred on a weekend when there was no hope of finding or ordering replacement parts so we rigged up a 'bib' to catch the spray and I've carried on weaving. Hopefully Doug will be able to order a new one today but the soonest it will be here (unless they have one in stock, which is highly unlikely) will be Wed. We leave on Thursday for HWSDA in Red Deer, AB. So I'm keeping fingers crossed that it will continue to work until it can be replaced.
The first year I had the air assist I did a rough and ready calculation of how many picks I was weaving - it turned out to be round about a million picks. Since then I haven't been weaving as much on the AVL, dividing my loom time between the big guy and the little one. But most of the weaving for Magic in the Water was done on this loom as well as much of my ordinary production.
A conservative estimate of total picks activated by this cylinder is very likely over 12,000,000. Yes, that is 12 Million. Probably more.
All in all, stalwart service.
Currently reading The Lost Abbott by Susanna Gregory