I just took warps off of both of my looms. Usually I try to alternate so that I always have a project in progress. There’s an old saying about not leaving a naked loom. However, I’ve been noticing squeaks and creaks in my looms that I hadn’t heard before. So this break is a great time for a “loom maintenance day.”
Looms are pretty amazing machines. There are many moving parts other than the shafts themselves. There are also the treadles, the lamms and jacks which make the shafts move. The cloth beam and the warp beam also move, just not as much. And like all machines with moving parts, you have to lubricate them from time to time. Most looms are also constructed of wood and wood needs “feeding”, especially in the winter when the air tends to be drier.
A couple years ago, Tom Knisely, the general manager and weaving instructor at the Mannings in Pennsylvania, came out with a video on this very topic: “Loom Owners Companion.” He covers several different types and makes of looms, discusses how they work and how to keep them working well. It’s a great resource for anyone looking into getting a loom, but also good for those of us who need to keep our looms working well.
First step is to vacuum thoroughly in and around the working parts of the loom. I’m not talking just about the floor – that does get cleaned regularly—but inside the moving parts, between the shafts, by the lamms, over the jacks. It’s amazing how much lint accumulates inside a loom! Once the loose lint is removed, I can get to the joints and lubricate them. Following Tom’s suggestion, I use a silicon spray on the metal parts, especially where the shafts move up and down regularly on the small loom. Then I tighten all the nuts and bolts. Finally, I clean the wood and give it a good rub-down.
Now that I’ve cleaned and polished both of my “babies”, I’m ready for the next warps. With a little TLC once in a while, I hope my looms weave smoothly for many years to come.