I was intrigued with Sara Lamb’s cute little copper band loom, and so I looked up Archie Brennan’s design page and looked at it, and consulted with Sara (thanks, Sara!) about its salient qualities and how I might adapt it for tablet weaving. Archie’s original version is designed for tapestry; Sara uses them for cut pile, and has also made adaptations for narrow-band weaving.
This is the loom all assembled, with a band in progress.
Tension is provided by two pieces of 3/4″ all-thread, with two 3/4″ bolts on each. Move the bolts apart, the tension is tighter. Move them closer together, the tension is looser. The tension control is exquisite; I can tweak it just a half-turn, and get it perfect.
The bridge raises up the warp, so that you don’t bump into the bottom layer while you’re working on the top.
The configuration allows for plenty of working room, even with two packs of cards. This is often a challenge with other loom configurations.
And this is the coolest thing: it breaks down into a bunch of straight pieces that fit into a small bag.
The copper pieces are 3/4″ tubing. I found the guy in the Home Depot plumbing department, and said, “I’d like a ten-foot length, in the following convenient pieces:” and left him with a list and went off to find the all-thread. I ended up buying a tubing cutter anyway, so that I could make adjustments once I got home. I’m glad I did, and I’ll get use out of it later on – but I’m pretty sure that next time, I’ll still have the guy at the store dice up the pipe for me. At the very least, I’ll have him cut off the long lengths, otherwise it won’t fit in the car.
The lengths: the long pieces are 20″ long. The short pieces away from the weaver, are 4″. The bridge is 8″ high. The loom is 12″ wide. So:
2 pieces 20″ long
2 pieces 4″ long
2 pieces 8″ long
3 pieces 12″ long (NOTE: I shortened these later to about 8″, which just fit my work better)
6 elbows (make sure the pipe fits into both sides – some of the elbows go from one pipe size to another)
2 T’s (same thing – make sure they accept the 3/4″ pipe on all 3 openings)
two pieces of 3/4″ all-thread
two 3/4″ bolts
Archie’s plan uses two six-inch pieces of all-thread rod. On Sara’s suggestion, I got two-foot pieces, because they help keep the loom from bowing, and add some heft to the loom. However, they more than double the weight – the copper is just over three pounds, but the all-thread and the bolts are more than five pounds. The whole thing, about eight and a half pounds. I plan to put screws in some of the joints where the elbows join the long parts, to stabilize it – right now, the whole thing is a little TOO flexible, and can get pushed crooked if I rest it on something not-flat when I’m weaving (like, kicking my feet up on a foot stool, and putting the loom on my legs).
All told, it was in the neighborhood of forty dollars for all the pieces. The pipe was twenty-something, the all-thread is like six bucks a piece, and the elbows and T’s are under a dollar. I bought a little bag of elbows, so I have more than I needed for this project, but it made them a LOT cheaper.
It makes a warp about 5’8″ long, which is great for bookmarks or sampling, and perfect for portability and workshops. I could use a longer warp and chain it up, but the short warp is VERY convenient and quick to put up.