The autodenter is most helpful for sleying the reed when
threading the warp onto the weaving loom ‘back-to-front’.
You can work left-to-right or right-to-left across the reed,
whichever your handedness prefers.
Looking at the autodenter you will see that it is made of
two distinct parts, a wooden handle with two short metal ‘fingers’
and a longer metal ‘knife’ which rests between
the fingers, and is held in place by the diamond cut-out.
The knife also has hooks on both the upper and lower edges
to hold the yarn as it passes through the reed; you can use
either depending on your preference. The bent end at the tip
of the knife is to hold the autodenter in the reed and not
fall on the floor when it is out of your hand.
The two fingers of the autodenter are bent at the very tip.
The little bent tip should point in the direction you are
moving as you enter the warps, this is critical to the successful
The autodenter ‘walks’ along the reed by pressing
the bent away tip of the autodenter against the dent and pushing
the handle away from your body. The dent enters the gap between
the fingers and should be moved down to the end of the knife
and then, as the handle is pulled back, the dent passes out
of the other side of the fingers leaving the autodenter up
against the next dent to repeat the process, as if you are
sawing. The "click" is all important if you aren't
hearing a double click, then you are not moving it the full
length. It has to go all the way back to the hilt, i.e. the
handle has to come all the way up to the reed, or it won't
advance to the next dent. Practice this without a warp in
place for several minutes until you have the pressures and
positioning understood and the action to walk along the reed
is quick and smooth. Do not twist the autodenter, or the knife
will pop off and have to be refitted.
When the warp is prepared and through the heddles, each warp
is caught on the knife hook before entering the reed, and
you can either use the upper hook, where the thread has to
be manually removed from the hook after each threading. Alternatively
using the bottom hook requires that you keep the warp under
tension until it has passed through the reed and then it can
be allowed to drop off without any manual intervention. In
both cases it helps to hold the warp yarn so that the
is at an angle of 30–45 degrees from the floor, upwards
for the upper hook and downwards for the lower hook, to ensure
the yarn stays in place on the autodenter as it passes along
The length of loose warp yarn is also important to manage
as this should be sufficient to pass around 10cm (4 in) beyond
the reed to drop safely with little manual effort to clear
from the reed.
You may want to keep a ‘normal’ reed hook to
deal with any warps which drop before they are through the
reed. If the autodenter advances without the yarn, just keep
going to the next yarn and do the same if the autodenter pushes
the yarn back through. Then use the reed hook to pull the
yarn through afterwards rather than try to remove the
and return it back a space.
See how to order the Autodenter >