Looms! We need looms!
It's not enough to just buy a loom. True to my personality type, I need to research, design (with lots of help from the Net) and make my own. Here are some pictures of the process. It's installed in our Fiber Arts (Artes de fibra) center, happily interacting with kids of all ages.
Big classroom floor/table loom
16 feet of 1x4 pine (or 2 pieces 1x4x8')
10.16 feet of 2x2 pine (or 2 pieces 2x2x8' with leftovers)
6.41 feet of 2x6 pine (or 1 piece of 2x6x10' with leftovers)
4 machine screws, size ¼ – 20x2
4 wing nuts (aka butterflies), size ¼ – 20
8 washers to fit above
1 ¾ finishing nails - I bought a pack of 430 and have some left over
20 8x2 ½ trim screws - I prefer the ones with hex bits for ease of driving but there
are many possibilities
Tools and incidentals
bits for drilling as well as attaching screws
¼” bit for drilling adjustable holes (for machine screws and butterflies)
electric sander and various weights of sandpaper for finishing – or lots of
acrylic paint and brushes
friend to help hold and brace or several C-clamps for anchor duties
*Note: each time you see the word, “measure” that means to measure it at least three times, checking with the nearest left-brained person you trust and measuring once more, just to be sure. Then - and only then - do you cut.
- Lay out 1x4s, measure and mark with T-square and measuring tape. You need four equal lengths of 48 inches – two for loom sides and two for side legs.
- Measure and cut two 61 inch lengths of 2x2 lumber. These are the top and bottom of your loom.
- Measure and cut two 12 inch lengths of 2x6 lumber. Measure and cut two 26 ½ lengths. These will anchor your side legs.
- Attach loom sides to top and bottom by centering, marking, and drilling guide holes. These undergo a lot of stress when warped, so use a diagonal line and good glue when you attach the screws.
- Measure width and depth of side legs and notch (I used saw cuts and chisels) to fit like figure #1. Attach leg supports by drilling guide holes and using a good clue before you attach screws.
- Mark drill targets for your side bolts using T-square and ruler (I used six inch centers) See figure #3.
- I assembled the loom here, sanded all rough edges, and painted, so I wouldn't have to worry about glopping up the warp nails. A good quality acrylic paint will probably cover in one coat, but I did two so it'd stand up to kid use.
- Measure where you'll hammer your warp nails with a ruler (mine are one centimeter apart, but staggered like Figure #2 to avoid splitting the wood) and add nails.
I used scrap lumber and pine for this loom, following the “build one to throw it away” method to give myself permission to make mistakes. I'll probably make the next one out of maple or another hard wood, and will stain it rather than using paint, but we'll see. I do notice that the pull of the weaving is warping the top and bottom slightly.
If I were making another of soft wood, I might use a 2x4 for top and bottom or add additional bracing to control for the stress.
I made my loom to these measurements so that it would fit on top of a typical 72 inch classroom table in my art room. Feel free to adjust to fit your needs. Since the sides are adjustable you'll find the design to be fairly flexible.
And one final disclaimer – as a carpenter, I'm a pretty fair French horn player. If you would like to do a consult with a serious carpenter friend as you plan your loom, it won't hurt my feelings at all. On the other hand, my students are really pleased that I made a loom for them and, in true TAB form, got the benefit of my working through challenges as I designed and put it together.