Refurbishing Older Four Harness Table Looms

Late last summer and fall, I discovered that I can no longer use treadle looms because of a problem with one of my feet.

That came as a surprise, but I love table looms, so I sold my floor loom and quested after the perfect table loom.

I really enjoy fixing up old looms, so I happily adopted this dear old loom built by an unknown maker:

She was in really rough shape, so it took a lot of tender loving care to bring her back to life.

I had to build a new ratchet for her cloth beam and apply many many coats of oil to her dried out self. Poor old girl!

One of her toggles was totally messed up, so I replaced the cord and now it works beautifully.

She had a truly grim warp wrapped around her back beam, with crumbling newspaper from 1974 in the warp, so she had obviously been neglected for a long, long time.

She is now a cherished member of the loom clan in my studio and I wove a bunch of Tea Towels for Christmas presents on her. (LINK)

She’s a delight to weave on, and is definitely a keeper!

She’s warped up with mug rugs for next Christmas- we work on Christmas presents all year long, so it’s kind of fun to start the year off with the beginnings of next Christmas πŸ™‚


And….. This is Caroline…. the newest vintage member of my loom family.

For years, I have been longing for a Woolhouse loom, but they stopped production, and the looms are so wonderful that they don’t come available very often.

I was ecstatic to find one online and was amazed to be able to buy her!

She joined my loom herd not that long ago and it’s been fun re-furbishing her.

We had an oops when we transported her home…

Whoops…. one of her little wooden gears disappeared into a snow bank when she got loaded into the back of the car. Luckily, I was able to cut down an old wooden spool and it works just fine.

The lady that I bought Caroline from told me that she found the texsolve heddles annoying because of a couple of issues.

She mentioned that the heddle frames didn’t drop when the levers were down.

Rather odd, but vintage looms can be quirky.

She had talked to someone who suggested adding weights to the frames.

This made sense to me, so I puzzled over how to do it, and settled on adding steel rods to the bottom of the heddle frames. Perfect!

She also found it frustrating that long strands of texsolve stuck out at the top of the frames and snagged on each other.

I fixed that by trimming the ‘eyelashes’ at the top edge- it helped solve that problem.

And, oh yes, the heddles were not inserted right, and bowed out all wonkywobbly, so I fixed that, too, and now Caroline’s as sweet a little weaving machine as can be!

BUT, oh my! There was one more surprise that threw me for a loop.

Out of the blue…. YIKES!

Good grief! one of the rods that connects a traveling cord to the levers suddenly broke when I was weaving. FLOP went a lever! What?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

That had me appalled and my head was spinning…. I went to bed feeling quite upset.

But then, after thinking, sleeping and dreaming on it, I figured that I could probably fix it by bending another steel rod to as close as I could get to the shape of the broken one.

I figured out how to take apart the mechanism to get the old one out and then huffed and puffed as I bent and shaped the replacement.

It was fiddly, but not too hard to insert the new one.

and –

Voila! Caroline is now a happy little loomie! (whew! ) (and I know what to do now if it happens again with one of the other connector pieces).

You can see in this pic that one of these things is not like the others… but it works a fair treat!

Anyhow, now, she weaves like a dream.

Her shed is quite small, so I use stick shuttles on her, and enjoy her most enormously!

Oh… another thing I did…

Somehow, she seemed to be asking for a little bit of embellishment, so I cut small wooden pieces and drew some things that are precious to me on them.

Then I wood burned and painted them and stuck them on in places that wouldn’t get in the way.

Caroline approves.

Both of these dear old looms were a lot of work to bring to life again, but what a joy it is to know them so well and to feel them purring!

They are pure happiness to weave on and I hope that I have a lot of years of weaving bliss with them, and then, of course, at some point, they will move on to another weaver whom I hope will love them as much as I do! But, not for a long time…. πŸ™‚

2 Comments

Filed under 4 harness weaving, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weaving & handwoven, woodwork

2 responses to “Refurbishing Older Four Harness Table Looms

  1. Donna Stuart

    Noreen it’s a beautiful little loom, and all it’s adornments make it even more a cherished one of a kind. You are an amazing person fixing everything that gets put in your path. Happy New Year and Happy Weaving!

    Liked by 1 person

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