Hacking the Oregon Loom

A couple years ago, we acquired an Oregon Loom, a plans-built 4-harness counterbalance loom.  The person we bought it from had built it a couple decades ago, but we’re not sure it was ever functional.  We brought it home as a pile of sticks, scavenged out of the owner’s garage attic.  Most of the metal parts were damaged or missing, but the plans came with it, so I made new parts and got a working loom.  We have since added a commercial jack loom to the mix, and Judy wants to convert the counterbalance loom into a rug loom.  But, the Oregon loom was designed to be constructed of finish-grade dimension lumber in fir, so we weren’t sure if the device was quite up to the task of beating rug-weight weft.  One of the Missoula Weaver’s Guild members said to add metal bars to the beater for added weight and strength, so we bought some angle iron and strap iron at Ace Weaving Supply (aka Ace Hardware), and then promptly stored the whole loom while we recarpeted and then got ready to move.

So, today, I dragged out the angle iron, with the moving stickers still on the pieces, and cut one to fit the back side of the beater, measuring precisely to fit over the existing carriage bolts.  Then, I had to cut the angle at each end so I could tighten the wing nuts.  The pneumatic die grinder with a cut-off wheel is a bit faster than a hacksaw, and easier on the arms.  After testing the fit, it looks like it adds enough weight and stability that the one angle piece might just do the trick.  But, home-built machines are always a work in progress–the nice part is, you can always modify them and repair them, because you had to make all the parts in the first place.