I have been looking longingly at weaving looms for a while online but they are so darn expensive. A nice small table loom is easily $1000. Then by chance I found a listing on Craig’s list for a Weaver’s Delight floor loom for $100.
I texted the owner and she said she still had it. She replied, “I’ll give it to you for free if you’ll really use it.” I called right away. Turns out it was her grandmother’s loom, which she bought during WWII because both her sons were at war and she couldn’t sleep. It gave her something productive and soothing to do at night. She passed it to her daughter who passed it to her niece, the woman I was talking to. She and her husband took it but never used it. It was siting in pieces in her basement and garage. She wanted it to go to someone who would use and love it.
Her grandmother had bought it used; the thing is 103 years old. When we got there it was obvious it was going to be a lot of work to get it ready to use but I couldn’t pass up all that history. I love taking something old and worn and giving it new life.
So we loaded up all kinds of bits and pieces, large and small, covered in grime and cobwebs, into the back of the truck and my husband said, “oh boy, this is going to be a great big puzzle.”
I asked him if he would help me put it back together as my Christmas present this year. He is so capable with figuring out mechanics of how things fit together. I’ll clean and do the tedious bits. He’ll make sure it runs. We make a good team.
So it’s been a few days since got it home. We looked at bunches of pictures online and I printed off the original manual from an archive on the University of Arizona’s website.
We went from this pile of pieces the first night:
To this semi-assembled base:
At first I just wiped all the pieces down which produced some pretty gross water, but still left the wood covered in a dark patina. Yesterday I discovered that a Brillo pad dipped in a bit of Murphy’s Oil Soap did a great job cutting though the grime. I wasn’t going for “new” but I wanted to be able to see the wood and to feel like it was clean. I scrubbed for hours last night and I’m pretty happy with how it looks. Now you can see some of the original red trim that was on it. I think I’ll finish it up with a coat of butcher block oil to enrich the wood.
I did end up cutting off the warp that was left on the loom. It was pretty gross from years of sitting unused and it allowed to to assess the status of what lay underneath. Unfortunately most of the pegs and straps that the warp is tied to were broken off. I drilled out the broken off pegs and cut up a few dowel rods to make new ones. A dab of wood glue and they are good as new.
My next project will be making new straps for the warp roller as they were also mostly broken or torn.
I found some heavy poly/cotton strapping at Joann’s, but the buckles on the end will require some more creative thinking. Only 2 of the original 18 are left. I’m thinking I’ll try to bend some new ones out of a heavy wire.
We’re almost ready to put the large central piece back in the loom. Then I have to figure out how to use it. Luckily I have found a few people nearby who said they can help me warp it and show me some basics.
It makes me so happy to be able to save a piece of a family’s history and to get something really cool from it too! I think it’s work a bit of elbow grease and time.
Stay tuned for more as we finish getting it assembled and learn how to use it.