Making an 8 shaft Table Loom

During lockdown my husband bought himself a small computer controlled router.  Initially he didn’t have a project in mind, but with my yarn-related hobbies I soon came up with a few projects for him!  He made some wool combs, heddles, and warping paddles. Each was a trial and error process – he would make it, I would try it and together we would identify any areas for improvement!

He wanted more of a challenge, so I suggested he could try to make an 8-shaft table loom, a loom for me to trial designs before moving my work onto my larger floor loom. This was a much more involved process, involving 4 prototypes and a major upgrade to the computer router.

During the various re-designs a raddle and numbers to the shaft levers were added, a better mechanism to detach the reed was devised, some toggles were made for easier shaft height adjustment along with many tweaks to get it working.

The process of designing and re-designing the loom was fairly laborious, because the cutting plans on the computer have to be very precise to make sure all the parts fit together well. And then it all had to be tested. Many of the joints need accuracies of a fraction of a millimetre for them to work correctly.   

Version 1 of the loom was destroyed to make Version 2, which a good friend was given to ‘test to destruction’. She made lots of useful suggestions, but has completely failed to break it.  She is still weaving with it and has woven some beautiful things on it including the weaving of the fabulous length of doubleweave window pane fabric shown above. Version 3 of the loom was taken to Wonderwool Wales where many visitors had a go at weaving on it.  A number of weaving guild members visited our stand, had a little weave on the loom and made some further suggestions. This resulted in Version 4, with the squeak removed, a guideline for setting shaft height and improved collapsibility.  

Overall, it took almost two years to get from initial idea to fully functioning 8-shaft table loom. Quite a journey but, at least according to my husband, a fun challenge. It has all resulted in a lovely looking and really functional small and lightweight (only 4.5kg) loom.  More details on this loom can be found here: Loom Information.

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