Thursday, November 17, 2016

Progress With the 10-Shaft Counterbalance Loom

I posted back in July about my latest loom restoration, and have been weaving on this old Swedish 10-shaft counterbalance loom.

Since I didn't know anything about a counterbalance loom with more than four shafts, I decided that was where I would start.

The only tie-up cords on the loom were the ropes on the front and back beams.  I had to make and figures out the rest.

I didn't have many spare string heddles, but found enough to make a test warp with about 170 ends.
Laila Lundell's book, The Big Book of Weaving, was very helpful with all the set-up.  I didn't have any Texsolv for the tie-ups, so I just used cording I purchased from the hardware store.  I figured it was cheaper if I made a mistake cutting lengths and could always be replaced once I had the loom working properly.

This shows the stage of leveling the shafts before tying up the lamms and treadles.
My first few inches of a four-shaft goose-eye pattern.  Everything seemed to be working properly.

This was my first experience using shaft levelers, the two notched bars hanging from one of the cross pieces.  I didn't have any, so Bob made me a couple sets, one for six shafts and one for ten.  The upper shafts fit into the notches and the whole set-up starts with them being hung from the beam above and leveled.

Notice the loom is still set-up in the garage.  I decided to wait to put Julie (named after her previous owner) in the studio until I finished the first warp, since there was more room to move around the loom.  It is hard enough at my age to crawl around under a loom, but even worse if it is in cramped quarters.
Success with four shafts!
I was able to get a long and a short table runner out of the sample warp.


  1. I have an old 8-shaft countermarch that came with Texsolv heddles, but all the other cords were venetian-blind cord. I had thought to replace these, but 9 years later the old school cords are still working just fine. There was weaving before Texsolv!

  2. I'm in the process of setting up my 8-shaft countermarche for the first time, shaft levelers would have been such a help! I'm almost there though, just got to adjust some of the ties to the treadles and I should have a clear shed.

    1. Rachelle, I would certainly be interested in your experience with your loom. I haven't gotten to 8 shafts yet. Right now I have a table runner on the loom with six shafts using pulleys and horses. I'm having a terrible time with two of my treadles not opening a clear shed. There are so few people with this type loom, it is hard to find anyone with answers.

  3. was given an antique one a couple of years ago and no help. I've managed to weave some projects, but not without all sorts of trouble. Once I learned that shaft levellers were a Thing, I knew what I'd been missing. With my version in place (knitting needles through the holes in the ends of the shafts) I was free to position them so that a warp end goes through the middle of a heddle eye. Then I knew the whole business had been hung too low from the pulleys and I could see that the cords holding the lamms and treadles weren't equally tight. I feel like the whole loom is tickety-boo now. I've got Laila Lundell's book coming from the library, but I think I may already have solved all my problems!

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  5. Today I got The Big Book and followed her advice on just how to hang the treadles – I now have six perfectly clean, big sheds!

    1. Lynn, I'm glad you got your book. It is full of essential information for our type of counterbalance loom.