Ask Madelyn: Other Solutions to a Loose Linen Warp

Ask Madelyn

Hi all!

In the last Ask Madelyn, a weaver wrote about the brake release pedal on her Harrisville loom: when she stepped on it, too much warp was released from the warp beam. Several readers sent in additional comments and suggestions.

• This one is from Sandra:

“I read today’s Ask Madelyn column and wondered if your weaver has the same issue I experience with my Schacht Standard floor loom.

The crank handle of my back beam is quite heavy and has two positions. I guess you’d call them: engaged, which allows you to turn the back beam and disengaged, where the handle just swings loosely and cannot move the beam.

If the crank handle is in the engaged position and is at the top of the turning circumference (say, at about 11:00 on a clock face) and I step on my brake to loosen the warp tension, the weight of the crank handle can actually turn the back beam counterclockwise, releasing quite a bit of warp from the back beam. For this reason, I always try to remember to disengage the crank handle and let it swing freely until I need it again. (If I forget to disengage it, it also tends to catch me as I go by and can cause a nasty bruise!)”

• A second suggestion applies to looms without friction brakes (Harrisville and Schacht looms have friction brakes; Norwood, Loomcraft and most countermarch looms have ratchet and pawl systems) and comes from Halcyon:

“Release a little tension from the cloth beam before using the brake pedal. This eliminates the Rosemary Woods stretch to hold the warp beam handle while simultaneously stepping on the brake release pedal. I do this by lifting the cloth beam advance lever a bit, and releasing its holding pawl so that it can pre-ease tension to avoid a resounding pop and backwards whirling warp beam.”

• A third reader wrote that the heavy steel bar used as the apron rod on her warp beam causes the beam to unwind rapidly (probably when it’s in a similar position to the crank as described above by Sandra). She places two other heavy rods evenly spaced on the beam to balance it.

Another option might be to replace the steel rod with a wooden one. The strength of steel is not really necessary for apron rods.

–Madelyn

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