Friday, October 9, 2015

First Woodworking Project Looming Over Me

Yes, I am sitting on a table with my loom in the printmaking studio.

Or rather, it was looming over me up until I got it to work just yesterday! I ran into so many issues because I've never set up a floor loom before, and as you might be able to see, the lams and pedals don't all hang at the same height, so I'm obviously still no expert.

I followed Travis Meinolf's Loom Plans (as I discussed here), which I must stress is in beta mode; what I'm trying to get at, more specifically, is that if you follow the materials list to the T, you will not be able to build a loom as per the instructions. Make sure to read through everything two or three times and make sure you know why he's telling you to drill a hole somewhere, or when to affix things to the frame, because you'll have the lam pivot in the frame before putting the lams on, as well as have 6 lams for a 4-harness counterbalance loom. Oh, and you'll be missing 4 pieces of 75cm long wood. You'll also run out of 4mm screws. This is definitely not to try to discourage anyone from building their own loom using his plans - it's actually pretty easy, all things considered! - but just a cautionary note so you don't end up having 6 lams and missing a couple of wood pieces. If I can make this as my first ever woodworking project, I can assure anyone that they can most likely do it too. Probably better.

I got all of the wood cut down to size at Home Depot, which is where I purchased all the lumber. I went to Home Hardware for the nuts/bolts, etc. and got the threaded rod cut at school. I cannot stress enough that you should get threaded rod for the front and back beams! Or at least the front one, because that's where I sat to thread my heddles. It's a bit awkward sitting from the front and leaning over, as well as being very damaging for the back, so when I finally gave in and sat inside the loom on the front beam, I was surprised to find that it held my weight quite well. I'm not sure if that's the design feature or if it just happened that way, but there's a good reason for using threaded rod and not a dowel or something weaker.

Her name's Sandy. Not that she's been sanded.

My loom wobbles a bit from side to side because I didn't follow one of the instructions (drilling two holes/side into the front and back beams instead of one/side, in order to make the frame not sway from side to side - not a huge issue, but something to do differently). I had so. much. trouble. trying to get the pedals to actually bring the harnesses down using lobster claw clips (of the jewellery variety, so it's not like the instructions were the issue) that I ended up just taking them all out and tying string to connect the lams and the pedals. Works like a dream. Did I also mention that while I was trying to test out pedals, the s-hooks popped out twice? Let me explain that a bit: the s-hooks hold up the top two dowels. If they pop out, all the harnesses drop down. Somehow my warp made it through more or less fine though, so I guess all is well!

A look from below

As you can see, my tension is pretty all over the place, in part because I lashed on and couldn't figure out for the life of me how to get even tension by adjusting the string all around, and in part because after I introduced the clasped-weft at the red part, one side became thicker than the other. That being said: it weaves!

From above

I swear it doesn't look quite this bad in real life, the tension issues! Also, I think they reflect more on the poor quality of my ability to lash on to the front rod than on the loom, so. I would recommend making this if you're thinking about it and sitting on the fence a bit. I have never built anything like this before - like I said, it's my first woodworking project - so the fact that my loom can weave at all is a miracle. I'm sure anyone else can do a whole lot better. Even still, I'm incredibly happy with my new loom! I've named her Sandy.

No comments:

Post a Comment