Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New loom!

After a nice Christmas break away, we picked up the new loom on the way home. It took a little bit more fiddling than I expected to fit it into the van, but that was mostly because we already had a wood lathe and workbench in there (yes, this was the Christmas of Large Toys). After clicking the 'Buy' button, I had had a few second thoughts - what if it turned out to be a mistake (for one reason or another). I spent the last couple of days clearing out the loom corner, and evicting the table, and stacks of fabric and junk. And then this evening I started to build the loom.

It is a 48" David Thorpe 8 shaft Countermarche loom with a second back beam, which looks like a much more serious piece of machinery than my mother's small jack loom. From a bit of hunting online I get the impression that it is very similar in design to a Glimakra, but built in NZ. The ad had said it was 6 years old (which I doubted even at the time), but I can categorically say that it is at least 20 years old, although probably not much more. There is a letter to the original owner from 1988 answering some setup questions, and the phone number on the plate on the side of the loom only has three digits...

From carrying the pieces in from the garage to getting everything attached that should be took about 4 hours (although there was a dinner break in the middle of that). It appears that it is possible to assemble the loom singlehanded, although it is a bit interesting to start with - trying to balance crossbeams on shoulders and things to get the second side on...

It's a very solid loom, and I mostly enjoyed the process of assembling it. It would have been a bit easier to do the first part with a bit of help (see previous paragraph), but I'm nothing if not stubborn. It would also have been more fun if it was a bit cooler (got up to 28°C today - probably not too hot by many standards, but still far too hot for me to be comfortable).

I still need to adjust all the lengths of everything, and really come to terms with how a countermarche works, but I got through far more of the building than I expected to (aided by finding some instructions, even if it was only a single A4 sheet). I'm guessing that the previous owner never actually used all the shafts, so the back four were missing some of the strings. I've replaced them with other bits, but I don't know what I'll run short of later... I think having to assemble the back four shafts was probably useful for getting a better idea of how it works.

And just as a bonus, with the way it's constructed it looks like it shouldn't be too hard to upgrade to having more shafts. Getting too many more pedals in could be interesting, but there is physically room in the frame for at least 8 more shafts should I decide I want to go that way.

The disadvantage of this whole floor loom thing is that I no longer have a table to store my boxes of yarn and dye stuff under, which means I'll probably have to keep them somewhere other than the lounge. I guess really I'm just lucky that our lounge is big enough to fit a (fairly large) loom in the corner without really noticing it too badly.

I have a zillion things to take photos of to post, so I will try to make tomorrow photography day so I can show off my new toy.

I am also planning a post on my warp weighted loom, since I've had a few questions, so I'll try and get that properly written up sometime in the next few days.

1 comment:

Meg in Nelson said...

Yay. One of the great things about the solidity of a Thorpe is that you can climb on top of it, or even swing from it, without the loom shifting or even squeaking.

You're going to have a ball!! Look forward to many projects for your loom. (Mine doesn't have a metal plate that I can recall - time to go have a look, I think...)