Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Weaver's Delight Cams and What They Can Do

Hopefully some of this information will be helpful to someone else with a Newcomb Weaver's Delight loom.  I realized I never wrote about the cams when I was doing the restoration of my loom, probably because I didn't know anything about them at the time.

My loom did not come with all the cams available, but only the basic ones.  The basics are four No. 1-2 combinations, two No. 8-9 combinations, one No. 7 and one No. 10.

Shown at the left are two of the four cams for plain weave.  They are numbered I and II and are reversible.  The left one is I and the right one is flipped over to be II.  Four are needed to weave a simple over and under plain weave.
The four cams would be alternated like this on the cam shaft.

These cams are also used in other weaves besides the plain weave.
No. 7 can be used either side to be a 7.
No. 8, with the notch to the right.  The reverse is No. 9.
No. 9, (No. 8 flipped to the other side).  Sorry I couldn't put this one in the same orientation as the others.  My computer is acting up and won't show them the way they are in my file.
No. 10  can be used with either side facing forward.
 Combinations of four cams are installed on the loom to create different patterns.
The cams are held in place by a heavy nut that needs to be tightened securely.
This short wooden bar, shown in its non working position needs to be raised to an upright position to install the cams.
It holds the four weaving shafts up so the cams can slip on the hub.
The cams will not stay in position unless the square key is in the notch on the cam and the hub. Getting all four cams installed may require pulling the beater forward and back to rotate the cams.
They are easier to install when they are in the lower position.  Here are the first two, controlling shaft 4 and 3.
Three are installed.  Pulling the beater forward will rotate those three until the open spot is toward the bottom.

The above instructions are used if there is already a warp on the loom.  If the loom is empty, it is easier to install the cams because the shafts can be lifted out of the loom to get them out of the way.  It's a good time to add some oil to them everywhere the metal rubs on another metal part.  Do the same for the cams.
Several patterns are included in the Weaver's Delight manual.  It only shows a very small amount of how the pattern will look.  I made a drawdown that shows 16 times more than is shown in the manual.

I made cards with instructions on how to install the cams for each one of the designs that are in the manual.  This is the first one and the rest are below.  Each card shows which cam goes on each shaft, the position of each cam when the key is in the upper left position, which shafts are up and a small drawdown graph of the design.

This is one of my favorite patterns for rugs.  It was suggested to me for my first warp on the loom and I received many compliments on how the rugs looked. It isn't from the WD manual but can be found in the book Rag Rug Handbook by Meany and Pfaff.
This is an example of the Chicken Tracks or Double Seed pattern.
When doing my experiments with weaving cloth on the WD, I used three of the above patterns.

The stripe arrangement is the thread count for the Wanstall tartan.  I didn't weave the tartan since it is for Wanstall family members.

I got four generous sized towels from the warp I was experimenting with.

This one at left is woven with the Kersey Twill pattern, which is just a 2/2 twill.  Click on any photo to make it bigger.
This is a close-up of what Bird's Eye looks like.
The pattern above the yellow line is Union.  It makes a very attractive towel.

With my next towel warp, I will try the other patterns.


  1. Thank you Jenny for this information. I have a WD loom (sans fly shuttle) but only the "t" cams like the ones in the second picture. It'll be fine for rugs. It's quite a workhorse!
    Tom Z. from IL

    1. Tom, what happened to your fly shuttles? Another poor loom that got amputated? I love the fly shuttle, even if it is noisy.

  2. Hey Jenny,
    I rescued the loom from a seller here in IL. The fly arms were 'removed' and not cut off, thankfully. Since acquiring the WD loom, I've also gotten a Dorset table loom which I've used to teach myself to warp traditional method. Leslie Johnson warned me, "rarely do weavers have only ONE loom." Boy was she right....
    I've made a spool rack and have lots of warp. Just wanted to get a 'feel' for the process before attempting to warp the big boy. ultimately, I'll sell this loom. It's far to big for the room I have. Beautiful machine though.

    Just a note to you on future restoration of metal parts. Try "METAL RESCUE". Wonderful stuff. Looks and smells like water, soak the parts overnight or about 24 hours and they come out beautiful.
    Keep up the 'good' work!
    Tom Z. in IL

  3. Just bought a loom from Debbie and Joe at bakers in allegan mi.
    Do you know where I could buy the extras cams?
    Thank you

  4. Hi Jenny, Beautiful stuff as always. You just keep pumping it out! keep up the good work.

    Wuestion on the WD loom. For rag rugs, using rug warp, how many thread do you wind per section on the warp beam? Carpet is about 24 epi, the reed is 12, but the sectional segments are 2 inch wide. Do I need to wind 48 in a section? I can't wind 2 sets in one section because of no way to keep them separated. Not sure if you addressed this in previous postings or not. Just curious.

    I'll be warping that monster as soon as finish with my table loom sample towels.

    All the best.
    Tom Z. in IL

    1. On the WD, I warp 26-27 ends per section. I do more than 24 to keep the warp threads straight from the back through the 12 dent reed.

  5. Hi Jenny,
    I've got the loom that Tom Z. Rescued. I've also purchased the Twill cams 7-10 and am trying the Twill pattern. I'm finding lots of patterns written for looms that have treddles but wonder if there is a way to convert them for the Weavers Delight.
    Carol L. Michigan

  6. Carol, most any pattern that only has four treadling steps can be used with the WD if you have the right cams. I went through my Marguerite Davison AHandweavers Pattern Book and came up with a huge list to try sometime for dish towels.

  7. Jenny thank you so much for all of this information. My sister and I are newbies setting up our first WD Loom. Your blog has been a valuable resource. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  8. Not sure if I can get advice here. I have w d loom which was partially set up but I have not used. I have been weaving for years on a Newcomb Studio loom. The cams seem to be one shaft too close to the front. So, when it is shifted, the back cam engages with the third shaft ( harness), the third with the second harness, so on, so the front cam is in midair during the shift. Who could advise me here? Thanks kk

    1. I can think of several things to check.

      1. Have you removed the cams and thoroughly cleaned them, the axle, square key and nut assembly? If not, soak in kerosene to remove all built up grime.

      2. Remove the shafts and thoroughly clean the metal parts. They can be taken off the wooden shafts.

      3. Remove and clean the two cast channels that hold the shafts and clean.

      4. With everything clean, you will be able to look for excessive wear on those parts. Are some of the grooves deeper or wider? Are the bars that slide in the channels straight? After oiling (I use motor oil), are the cams able to slide all the way back on the axle? After oiling the square key, does it engage each cam to hold it in place?

      5. The shafts can actually tip forward if the channels are too worn and could make the cams miss the groove they should rotate in on the shaft.

      6. Contact Leslie Johnson at Riverside Loomworks in Eaton Rapids, Michigan for any replacement parts. If she has them available, it may be a quick fix. If not and they need to be cast, it could be a long wait.

      Let me know what you discover with your cleaning. I do have a friend with an incomplete loom that will be parted out soon and we may be able to help. Good luck as you venture into repairs.


  9. Jenny- Well, what do you know?!! When I purchased the loom, I had to do a bit of re assembling. I had dropped the harnesses in backward. Duh! The cams now engage the harnesses as they should. Thank you so much for your advice. Yes, cleaning will need to happen also. Kay

  10. Jenny, we got a WD a year ago and are trying to swap from a herringbone pattern and having trouble using the 1,2,1,2 cams - they appear brand new. I (husband speaking) think that it is because there is something wrong with the way these cams were made? It seems that the cam should end its travels so that the harness resting on it will continue turning the gear slightly in the right direction so that it will engage with the shaft. When we put it together they seem to be top dead center or even slightly off the wrong direction - this is causing the gear to not get engaged by that shaft that moves up/down. Looking for advice/help before embarking in machining a new keyway or hammering on things. Thank you.

  11. To Unknown, 12-31-17,
    I hope you get this message. I have some questions, and would like to speak to you personally, but don’t know how to reach you other than here.

    Please send a personal email to jbellairs at gmail dot com and give me your contact phone number and email. Email and texting and replying here usually takes too much time, especially if I am not sure you will see it. Jenny B