Tuesday, February 2, 2016

More 'Loom", More Problems

The AVL that I weave on has more mechanics than an 'ordinary' floor loom.  It has fly shuttle (which I only use when I'm weaving wider than 30" or so - otherwise I hand throw), auto cloth advance, computer assisted dobby, and the most recent addition - air assist.

When I first started weaving, I knew that I needed to invest in the most efficient equipment I could afford.  After doing some research, and test driving an AVL at a conference, I decided that was the direction I would go.

The loom was very intimidating.  It was 60" weaving width and the addition of the fly shuttle means that it takes up most of one end of the studio.  It also had 16 shafts when the most I'd had before were 8.  I very quickly realized that the more mechanical 'assistance' there was, the more things could go 'wrong'.

The AVL is set up mechanically differently from most floor looms as well.  In the photo you can see the levers that pull the shafts back down to their bottom position.  These levers are connected by chains and springs.  You might also be able to see that the chains are different lengths - one of them is dangling beside the yellow 'thing' in the centre left of the photo.

These dangling chains can catch on their neighbour's hooks, which is why the yellow 'thing' is there - it is covering the end of the chain and the hook on that shaft.

This morning I was weaving along quite nicely when the front shafts started dancing to their own music.  I looked and could not see anything amiss but as I continued to weave, the shafts continued to behave oddly.  It's a little tough when you are trying to operate the loom and see what's happening underneath.

Eventually I spotted the problem - the most obvious misbehavior was on the left hand side of the loom while it was the chain from shaft one that was catching on the hook from shaft two on the right hand side of the loom that was the problem.

There isn't a lot of space to get under the shafts, so I had to go to the back of the loom, eel myself in between the cloth storage roller and the bottom warp beam, drape myself across the roller and reach up and all the way to the front of the shafts to get the hook and chain separated.  I then taped the dangling chain back onto itself so that it would not be happening any time soon.

Ah, yes, the AVL Loom...you know, the one that does 'everything' for you, including making your mistakes???


Peg Cherre said...

If a weaver isn't also a trouble shooter, someone who is able to understand her loom's operation and diagnose a problem - and hopefully fix it - she'll spend a lot of down time waiting for someone else to help. I was fortunate to buy my first loom - a small, handmade 4H counterbalance that I still use - from someone's garage. The loom needed work to bring it back to functioning, and I had to learn lots about how the various parts of a loom play together to make it work. My second loom, an 8H Macomber, was literally in pieces in someone's barn. Again, lots of learning to reassemble and bring back to functioning. If I had it to do all over again, I'd still do it this way, as now I understand my looms and can do any needed repairs (at least so far) myself. Would many things be easier with another set of eyes and hands? Yep. Can they mostly be accomplished alone? Yep again, if you're willing to consider creative solutions...and maybe act like an eel on occasion.

Teena Tuenge said...

I had to smile at this post. I know the feeling you had that the more complicated the loom, the more can go wrong. And is some ways the less versatile. I had a big problem lately with mine. I think it happened because with dryness in the winter, some bolts were too loose and I did not go around to tighten them. But that is not really anyone's fault but mine. Anyway, the cable to the E-lift yanked out from getting some jams, I think, in the dobby box. I had gotten the CD IV (positive) a while back and it takes a while to adjust the position. I was dreading taking it off to access the cable attachment behind the dobby arm. And then having to do the adjustment over again. So wove on another loom for two weeks before I could get my attitude adjusted to work on the "big" loom. It turned out just fine, and I should not have waited so long. I'd much rather weave than be a loom mechanic, however.