The range of looms featured on the George Weil website are built by skilled craftsmen from long established manufacturers. There are the GAV Glim¥kra AB looms from Sweden, the Louet looms from the Netherlands, the Schacht looms from America and the Ashford looms from New Zealand. The extended range of looms and other craft materials and equipment from these manufacturers can be ordered in especially for you.
Table and Floor Stand Looms
A table loom is valuable for limited lengths of fabric, simpler weaves and as a sampling loom. However, these looms are rarely strong enough to handle linen warps other than the fine yarns used in table linens and for light apparel.
The Inkle Loom is the simplest table loom. It can also be found in a larger form as a floor loom. The articles it can create are limited both in width and length. It provides a simple two shaft weave with a warp faced finish. The braids produced are excellent for bands, braids, edgings and as finishes for woven projects. The loom is exposed to substantial warp tension in use. Both the pegs and the warp tension adjuster need to be robust and closely fitted to the frame.
Riggle Heddle Looms
Rigid Heddle or Tabby looms provide the equivalent of two-shaft weaving. They can be adapted to behave as a four shaft loom by adding a second heddle set. The loom is best for producing an open balanced fabric in wool or cotton. The main attraction of the loom is the speed and simplicity with which a warp can be made, threaded up and the weaving started. This makes it ideal for educational projects, and for colour and weave studies. The loom must be perfectly square and flat for good, even weaving. The warp tension is normally provided by a ratchet and pawl. These need to be made in a hard plastic or metal to avoid any risk of breaking. The Schacht Flip Folding Loom (pictured right) is a super space saving option for a tabby loom.
Table looms cover a wide range of widths up to 80cm and commonly have four or eight shafts. In choosing a table loom it is important to think ahead about the type of fabric to be woven, the dexterity required to manage the levers and beater and the option to upgrade the loom in the future. Some table looms can have additional shafts, and can add a floor stand, second warp beam and treadles. The Louet Jane table loom (pictured left) has front mounted levers and an overslung beater. It has a floor stand, second warp beam and treadles.
The shafts on table looms are operated independently, and adjusted to meet the needs of the fabric. Often the main reason for selecting a particular make of loom is the accessibility of the levers which operate the shafts. In the front of the loom they are very visible but may catch painfully on the weaver’s knuckles. With levers on the top or side of the loom, it is more difficult to identify which shafts to operate. Each shed change can involve a large and time wasting arm movement from the beater to the levers and back to grasp the beater. An even beat is often difficult with a badly designed beater and shaft lay-out, making open fabrics quite onerous to weave. You should try out each configuration to assess which best meets your personal preferences.
Table looms last well. It is possible to find a second hand loom where the manufacturer has long since gone out of production. Spares and replacement heddles can be difficult if not impossible to obtain. Fortunately, rusty reeds are usually easy to replace. As with all table looms check that the wood frame is not warped and that no critical pieces are missing, jammed or badly rusted.
Floor looms are best used for producing longer lengths of fabric, for production work, designs that are more complex and for carpets and rugs. The loom must be solid and stable without being excessively heavy. The range of choices is considerable, but a knowledge of the basic construction and operating principles will help to avoid expensive mistakes.
Glimakra floor looms are particularly valuable for weaving high quality rugs where a linen warp is used. These looms are capable of taking the very high tension involved in opening the shed.
The Glimakra Standard loom meets these requirements. The forces on the cloth and warp beams are spread through a series of horizontal supports in the structure to avoid splitting the wood. The looms can be up to 160 cm wide with any of the traditional shedding mechanisms, and can carry a large number of shafts and pedals. Fitments are available for fly-shuttles, converting to a draw loom and for weaving other special fabric structures. The full specification for this loom is available from the GAV Glimakra web site.
Louet make accessibility a major factor in their loom design. This is important when deciding on the floor loom to choose for a studio with limited floor space. Working on the tie-up and warping up the loom can be slow and painful on a badly designed loom. It is also important to look for a good balance between the physical dimensions compared with the weaving width. A short distance between warp and cloth beam can limit the size of shed achieved. The Louet floor looms, including the ‘Megado’ loom shown, have an imaginative parallel countermarch system for up to 16 shafts which minimises the time spent under the loom connecting the treadles. They also have a sprung cloth beam which allows the shed to open fully. This keeps the warp tension constant and eliminates heavy footwork.
The Schacht ‘Wolf’ folding floor looms provide accessibility in a different and very effective way. The shed is provided by ‘Jacks’, making for a compact loom, where the tie-up can be changed quickly and easily. When folded the loom lifts up on to its wheels and can be moved around easily into an open area. It is then easy to thread up the loom in this position. When opened again, the loom is stable and has been designed to provide a strong structure able to take all but the most inelastic warps. The loom is provided with up to 8 shafts and has a friction brake on the warp beam to help give a consistent warp tension.
Dobby Operated Looms
A ‘Dobby’ is the alternative to treadles or levers tied-up to select the shafts on the loom. This is programmed by the weaver to raise all of the shafts required for each shot of a repeating pattern. Two options are available for the hand loom weaver; mechanical or computer operated dobbys. In each case the shaft for lifting is selected by the dobby mechanism, and the foot pedal provides the lifting effort.
The Louet ‘Megado’ loom (pictured right) is shown with a mechanical dobby on the right hand side, but it can also be fitted with a computer dobby. Pegs are set in each of the lags making up the dobby chain. These trigger the shaft operating mechanism as the foot treadle is operated, moving on to the next lag for the next weft shot. Changing a mechanical dobby is a slow process. With a computer selected dobby the triggers are activated by the computer program on which the weaving pattern has been designed. The weaving program and the dobby plan can be changed with a few clicks of a mouse. It is difficult to ‘retro-fit’ dobby equipment to a loom, unless it was specifically designed for this option.
Please browse this web site to see the looms that are available to order. Please telephone us for advice on 01483 565800
Glimakra, Schacht, Ashford and Louet offer a large range of weaving equipment, many of which are available on our web site. We are able to order any other product especially for you, either telephone or email us to discuss your requirements. Please be aware that we will need to ask for a 10% deposit on all special orders.