Thursday, September 13, 2012

Setting Up Another AVL Loom

Here's the quick version of the process we're going through to set Jacob up to weave...

First, we had to swap out the entire contents of my van with the loom that was stored in Jacob's bus. Once the van was empty, the loom went in and was whisked away to the studio.

Look! A pile of loom parts. You never see that on my blog, do you?

And, a few hours later, it's a loom with the harnesses and reed in place and the beam about to be inserted.

Then Jacob got to work sleying his reed, which has a wider dent. This will make for easier handling of knots in the warp.

While he did that, I copied the peg pattern to a new set of dobby bars. You'll notice that it's not a faithful copy. I've decided that it's unpleasant to slam the knuckles into the harnesses with every pick. Since I don't use all of them, we're leaving the empty harnesses closer to the operator on Jacob's loom. Therefore, the pegs are pushed to the right of the bar instead of to the left like on my set. (In this photo, left is up and right is down.)

...and Jacob is still sleying, making great progress.

I made all of the design decisions for the weaving project. We now know how many garments of which style we're weaving, in which colors, and in which order.

And ta-dah! Jacob has finished the sleying! We're ready to weave the header and check for errors in the sleying and the pegging.

I love the sandpaper beam because there's no tie-on. Just stick it to the grit and start weaving!

We found all of the errors, fixed them, and then kapow! One of the cables broke.

It's really no wonder. The previous owner seems to have been in the middle of a repair when they decided to just set it aside for a while. Or a decade. Or two. And then they sold it.

So today I have to buy a tool that I've always wanted: a swager. This will let me crimp ferrules onto brand new cables. And this was the last piece of the loom maintenance puzzle that I needed to learn. After today I will have removed, repaired, replaced, or otherwise adjusted every single mechanism on these looms.

Oh, yeah, and just before I left I had noticed that my front tires are wearing unevenly so I took it in to get fixed while we set up the loom. And it's serious. Besides the alignment, my rear brakes are a disaster. If you recall from last February, I won't do my own rear brakes anymore. Yes, I can. And yes, it's worth paying someone else to avoid a day of dangerous and difficult work. Well, the final bill for all this is going to be half what I paid for the van. But, since everything else is in great shape, it's worth the investment in a vehicle that should easily see me through another show season.


Andrew Kieran said...

There's nothing better than finally finding a reason to buy a tool. I needed to make a kumihimo stand during the summer, so I spent £300 on a drill and jigsaw just so I could make a roughly circular hole 4" wide. totally worth it.

Also, that sandpaper beam? excellent, I had no idea it was so grippy. They use them in industry too, but just temporarily on the knotting frames, and the warp is always clamped too before the knotter starts. maybe with a slippier yarn you'd have to clamp it down, i dunno. but definitely surprised and impressed with that. Maybe I should chase up that vague offer I had to do academic crossover with AVL.

Blossom Merz said...

Hi, Andrew!

Well, I work as hard as I can to not spend money, but every so often I have to do it. AVL sells one set of cables for $50 and they're unable to make a custom "left-footed" cable set for me. If they could, it would be another $50 at least. The tool costs $100 and the materials are negligible, so with two cables made I've basically gotten the tool for free.

Tina, I got my swager at the best hardware store in the world: Wink's in Portland, Oregon. Not only do they have an unbelievable array of items in stock, but the salespeople know what they have and are expert problem-solvers. It's unlike any hardware store I've seen in about 30 years. I'm sure you can find one online or in your local big hardware store, too.