Fons And Porter

Counterbalance Looms

Yes, you can get a good shed on a counterbalance loom. It is just a matter of balance. The main thing to remember, is if the loom tie-ups are not centered, then weight of the shafts are not balanced, and you will not be able to get an even shed.

You can even weave 3/1 patterns successfully. Your shed will be a bit smaller, but wide enough for a shuttle to pass through.

It is easiest to fine tune and balance your loom, once a warp is threaded. Here’s how I do it.

counterbalance loom

counterbalance loom

  • Start at the top of the loom and locate the centre.
  • This Glimakra loom is 60″ wide, so the centre is at 30″.
  • Now locate the centre point from both edges to the centre. This is where the upper pulleys for the shafts should be placed.
  • The pulley is 1″ wide, so I place it at 14.5″ from the edge of the loom.

It is important that the tie-up to the shafts is perpendicular and centered and that each tie-up yarn is of equal length.
I use texsolv cord, as it is easy to check that each cord is the same length, by counting the number of loops in the cord.

  • The distance between the notches on the horses is 6″.
  • To check that the tie-ups to the shafts are also perpendicular, they should also be 6″ apart, and the texsolv cords should be at right angles to the upper shafts.
  • The distance from the edge of the shaft to the outer tie-up cord is 13″.

  • With your loom threaded, check on the side of the loom to see that the warp is running through at the centre of the heddles.
  • If necessary, adjust the height of the cords that run from the upper pulleys to the horses.
  • On this loom, this distance is 12″.

Under the Loom

Once you have balanced the top of the loom, you can now set up the treadles.

To hold the pedals in place while doing the tie-up, I prop them up on a rod.
A broom handle and a couple of boxes work fine for this.

I use Texsolv cord for the pedal tie-up as well.

Each cord is the same length, to ensure that the lamms are balanced.

They should be tied so that they are parallel and level.

Locate the center point of the first shaft, and tie a cord from the shaft to the first lamm, at its centre.

The first shaft is tied to the first lamm, the second shaft is tied to the second lamm, and so on. Repeat for each shaft and lamm.

Now you can tie the lamms to the pedals, depending on your peg plan.

In this photo, the tie-up is for a tabby, so the first pedal is tied to lamms 1 & 3 and the second pedal is tied to lamms 2 & 4.

Make sure that the ties are taut – no slack.
Once you begin to weave, the cords may stretch slightly, especially if they are new, so this may require some adjustment.

That’s it!

Remember to remove the broom handle you used for a pedal support, and any other rods or sticks you might have used for support during the tie-up.

With a good shed, the horses should create an almost 90″ angle when a pedal is fully depressed.

Note: I have placed a rod through the small holes at the ends of the shafts, to help hold them in place while setting up the loom.

Weaving Looms

Counterbalance Loom Tie-up Diagram

How to Tie up a Countermarche Loom

Countermarche Loom Diagrams

Weaving Patterns

A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns: From the Friends of Handwoven
Next Steps In Weaving: What You Never Knew You Needed to Know
The Weaver’s Companion (The Companion Series)

Weaving Looms


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This page last edited on August 23, 2016


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