Choosing a Weaving Loom

Loom ExampleThe choice of a weaving loom is very personal. Many factors influence the decision and these are discussed in general terms below. Equipment costs and the type of weaving loom has to be considered along with the type of fabric to be produced.

Loom design is a series of compromises. A balance has to be made between overall size, accessibility in dressing the loom and its strength, the size of shed obtained and the tension created in the yarn. The design also has to balance the simplicity of tie-up with the quality of shed obtained. Other factors are the ability to fold and access to the loom controls which are solved in ways that may suit one weaver more than another.

First decide the width, the number of shafts and treadles required on the loom. This is largely dictated by the type and complexity of the fabric to be woven; floor rugs require a very different loom from silk scarves, though the loom for rugs can also be used for silk scarves but not vice-versa.

The looms supplied by George Weil (and historically Fibrecrafts) are selected from the best world-wide, emphasising weaving performance, the structural design and manufacturing quality. No loom retailer will ever make a living just from selling looms, with margins of less than 25% to cover all the pre- and post-sales costs. Our income will come mainly from yarn sold to the weaver, and we can therefore give an unbiased view on the characteristics of looms. So always ask for advice, it is willingly and freely given.

New or Second Hand?

Most purchases of larger looms are made second hand. This is particularly true of floor looms with up to 8 shafts. Looms with more than 8 shafts and computer operated dobby looms tend to be used by production weavers who rarely sell on a loom in the open market.

The quality of looms available obviously varies considerably. Since the main frame of a loom is made of wood, the prior history and storage is important. There is a risk of warping, cracking and shrinkage leading to difficulties in assembly, fracture in use and the real possibility that the fell of the beaten fabric will not lie square to the warp. Vital parts may also be missing which are impossible to replace. On this basis it is valuable to see the loom assembled and in working order before purchasing, dismantling and transporting home.

A good second hand loom, supplied with a good range of accessories, assembly instructions, reeds, yarn, shuttles and a bench can be excellent value. With this package expect to pay around half of the current new cost of the loom.

A new loom gives the choice of precisely the equipment and range of fitments to produce the intended woven articles. It usually comes direct from the manufacturer, with all the guarantees and technical support of the retailer. The ability to ensure that the loom is strong enough, has the correct size and strength of attachments and that all the elements are in place underpins the reason for buying a new loom.

Ordering your Loom

Browse this web site to see the looms we have available to order or telephone us for advice. The blog post Types of Weaving Loom may help you further in making a selection.

Glimakra, Schacht, Ashford and Louet offer a large range of weaving equipment. Many of these items can be found on the web site, while we are able to order any other product from their range especially for you. Either telephone or email us to discuss your requirements and we will be happy to send you their catalogue(s). Please be aware that we will need to ask for a 10% deposit on all special orders.

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