Plans for a Table-top Scale Warp-Weighted Loom
Full-size warp-weighted looms are generally up to 8 feet tall. This makes them rather cumbersome and somewhat heavy to move, if one wants to teach how to work with them. These plans are intended to solve that problem, as they are scaled down to produce looms that are free-standing, with legs that are 2 feet tall. I designed these looms to have totally interchangeable parts, so that any piece would fit with any other. I have made several of these looms, and used them to teach how to warp and weave successfully for the past several years.
These are the pieces you will need to cut, to make a 2 ft. tall tabletop warp-weighted loom:
(Pine used in test looms.)
One 4-foot long 1”x 3” board
Four 4-foot long 1”x 2” board
One 4-foot long 1” dowel
One 4-foot long 1⁄4” dowel
5/16” drill bit and drill
Two 1”x 1” hinges
Length of light chain [suggestion: #5 clock chain]
Package of 1⁄4” dowel pegs
Cut the 4 foot long 1”x 3” board into two 2-foot pieces.
Using a mortising machine, drill press, or hand saw and chisel, cut two 7/8” square holes, centered on the 1”x 3”, for the arms: one with its base at 4” from the top, and one with its base at 12” from the top.
Using a 5/16” drill bit, drill two holes at the top of each front leg, to hold the cloth beam between the legs. Space each 1⁄2” from either side of the leg, and put one at 1⁄2” from the top, and the other approx. 1” from the top. [NOTE: You may want to make a jig for spacing these holes, as you need this same spacing on all boards with holes, in order for the cross beams to fit correctly.]
Using the same spacing and 5/16” drill bit, drill two holes approx. 4” from the bottom of each front leg.
Cut one of the 4 foot long 1”x 2” board into two 2-foot pieces.
Lay the front leg face down. Center the back leg on the top of the front leg, leaving enough space for the hinge pin, and screw the hinge onto both pieces. [NOTE: Screw into the sides of the boards, not into the tops. The screws may pull out of the tops of the boards, when the weighted warp is hung from them.]
Cut one of the 4 foot long 1”x 2” board into two 2-foot pieces. Viewing them horizontally, and using the 5/16” drill bit, drill holes in the ends of each board, following the pattern of the holes on the front legs.
Arms for dowel supports:
Upper arm (cloth beam support):
Cut two 4” long pieces from one of the 1”x 2” boards. In each piece, cut away length-wise a 3” long segment, creating a long L-shaped piece with a 1” segment left whole. Test the arms in the upper holes on the front legs (filing smooth the square holes in the legs, until the arms slide in easily), and mark two points: one where a 1” gap remains in front of the board when the arm is inserted, and one where the arm emerges at the back of the leg. Using the 5/16” drill bit, drill holes centered on the side of the arms at each of these points. Glue a dowel peg into the front hole on each arm, to prevent the arm sliding too far back into its hole.
(Note the dowel glued into the right-hand hole.)
Lower arm (heddle bar support):
Cut two 9” long pieces from one of the 1”x 2” boards. In each piece, cut away length-wise a 2” long segment at one end and a 1” long segment at the other end. Test the arms in the center holes on the front legs (filing smooth the square holes in the legs until the arms slide in easily), and on the 2” long cutout, mark the point where the arm emerges at the back of the leg. Using the 5/16” drill bit, drill a hole centered on the side of the arms at this point.
Cut the 4-foot long 1” dowel into two 2-foot parts. One will serve as the cloth beam, where the warp is hung, once it is created. The other will serve as the heddle bar, used to lift the threads, in order to form the different sheds needed for the weaving pattern.
Cut the 4-foot long 1⁄4” dowel into eight 2 1⁄2” long pieces. (You may want to cut spare pieces out of the rest of the dowel. Spare pegs are never bad.)
Take two 22” long pieces of chain. Using pliers, create a 3” long loop at one end of each chain, and a 2” long loop of chain at the other end.
Slide the 3” loops of chain onto each front leg of the loom, so that the chain rests above the lower holes on the legs. Laying the leg assemblies flat, place the cross beams over the front legs so that all round peg holes match up. Insert the 2 1⁄2” pegs into the holes. Stand the loom up, with ~30-40 degree angle on the legs, sliding the 2” loops of chain onto the back legs. Insert the upper and lower arms into their holes, and slide dowel pegs into the holes on the arms showing behind the legs. Adjust legs and chain location until looms are steady. (Loom will be steadier once the warp, and particularly weight of the loom weights, is hanging from the cloth beam.)
Final Product, viewed from the back to show arms better: