Weaving: News, tips and hints by Pat Monié
J L Hammett Rug Loom
Here it is the second of April, and I am looking back at March, which takes my breath away.
I put 1,500 miles on my car driving up to Washington state to buy an old J L Hammett rug loom for a weaving program I volunteered to set up at a day center for developmentally challenged adults.
It smelled pretty badly - must have been sitting in a barn for many years. Smelled like a combination of 'cat' and farm manure. My good friend with whom I was staying in Seattle, WA helped me wash it down with Murphy's Wood Soap so I could drive with the windows up while it was raining. It was hard to breathe with that smelly loom in the car before we cleaned it.
Once I returned home with the loom I took it directly to the center where I would be setting up the weaving program. There was still a lot of work to do on the loom. It soaked up almost a pint of wood re-furbisher (oil). After that I started applying coats of Howards bees wax and orange oil.
The next step in the process was repairing/replacing broken wooden parts of the loom. I also made some small modifications. The main change was replacing all the harness and treadle cords with chains. I wanted to make sure that the loom would not need any ongoing adjustments. This required some creative changes to the loom, but nothing major. The loom is a simple two-harness, counterbalance loom, and so lends itself to this type of program well.
There was an existing warp on the loom when I bought it, and I did not want to waste all that rug warp (probably about 30 yards long). It was extremely time consuming trying to re-warp the cut warp - threading the heddles, and sleying the reed. We will have to deal with crossed warp threads as the weaving progresses. So far, with the first rug nearing completion, there haven't been any crosses showing up. With over 400 warp threads I know that kind of luck cannot hold, but, so far, so good. Once this warp has been used up I will repair the dowels on the warp beam. To my delight the original warp beam crank was still with this loom, and so to keep it that way I installed a special screw with a knob on one of the back uprights. The warp beam crank is securely attached to the loom now.
In concluding this tale I want to say how rewarding this has been. The thing I have enjoyed the most is being around a group of people who show so much respect for one another. I am humbled by the way they treat each other. So supportive. So very respectful. We could all take a lesson.
2 April 2013