Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Counterbalance Loom Modifications

The Brighton Honeycomb scarves are off the loom and waiting to have their fringes twisted and be tidied up and  washed. As I have six scarves at this stage I have bought myself a fringe twister. When the weather sorts itself out (it seems to be either very hot with the air filled with smoke from the bush fires or cold and stormy) I shall set myself up outside for a bit of twisting.

I have come across an Australian source of 20/2 NM  feltable wool and have bought a cone (elephant grey). I already have some non-shrinkable (Mora 20/2) so I am going to weave some differential shrinkage scarves. I can't use my Glimakra as I have a bit of warp left on it after completing the Brighton Honeycomb scarves. I have re-sleyed this for plain weave and plan to do some Monks Belt on it. So I will be using my Counterbalance loom for the shrinking scarves.

Based on how I found it the last time I used this loom I have made a couple of modifications. The loom had two pulleys mounted on a top beam. These pulleys support the two rollers that support the four shafts.

I have replaced the pulleys with a single top roller. I found that the pulleys were to prone to act independently of each other and not return to their original starting point after changing a shed.  In a previous post I quoted Peter Collingwood  "To ensure the shafts rise and fall without tilting, don’t just wrap their support cords around the rollers, but actually fix them to the rollers".  With the single top roller I can attach the cords which I couldn't do with the the metal pulleys.

The other thing that I have done is attach the top roller to the cross beam with turnbuckles so that I can precisely control the height of the harnesses. Texsolv is brilliant but can only be adjusted in half inch increments.  To do this I had to raise the height of the cross bar with a couple of blocks.

It all seems to be working but the final proof of the pudding will be when I get a warp on. I had a good look at the LeClerc CB looms when working all of this out. In my mind this was all going to be done is nicely finished wood but economy and practicality means that I have used a plastic pipe for the new top roller and a couple of yoga bricks to raise the height of the top beam. I will put a few cable ties on to hold it all together. If it works that will be fine but I really should have a look at getting a slightly more elegant solution.


  1. I just ran across this post from 2013 and was hoping that it isn't too old to get some additional information. I have an old Orco 74 with wood/chain pulleys that need to be changed. I had thought about just replacing them with new metal pulleys with cords. However, this modification looks more like a Leclerc CB system, which I would love to do. Question, how well did it work when you wove on it? Were you able to do unbalanced weaves easier using it?

    1. As I recollect it worked very well. I didn't do any unbalanced weaves. If I were doing it again (I no longer have the loom) I would try this; put a heddle right at the end of each shaft on each side and run four cords from each side of the front beam, through the heddles and then over the back beam and held in position by weights. This would only be done for narrow warps and would introduce a bit more shaft stability.


Comments are most welcome