Prototyping box looms

Ok, so I talk a lot (mostly) about green woodworking. and mostly about using hand tools. But for the better part of 30 years I was all about power tools and such. Not at home so much but at work. I still own a table saw and band saw, a 12″ planer, an OSS, a lathe, a 4″jointer, etc.

Add to this; I like to make the equipment that other people use to make things with, like potters wheels, looms, book presses etc. So when a friend tries to convinced me that I could make good money making box looms. And that no one is providing nice little box looms to the weaving community at large. I have to give it a go. after all I need the money. (don’t we all?) I have never made a box loom before.

So we did some Research on line to see what was out there, and how much other people were asking for them… not much and too much.

The results of the research visually:

loom box tapea

many of the makers list their box looms as being sold out, and they have been sold out for a long time…

At its simplest it is a box, doesn’t need a bottom, two sides about 4 to 5 inches tall and 12 to 14 inches long and connected by 2 pieces that separate them about 5 inches. and 2 rollers to unwind the warp strands and wind up the finished weave.

and then i see something like this, and the “artist” is asking $200 for it. It was made of Pine. it had a headle with it.

loom box tape

but is that, made of pine, “worth” that much money?

granted it will probably take a whole day just to make a headle. but if I can’t make something at least as nice in half a day…

And a lot of these weavers want to use them for tablet weaving… or so I’m told.

so off to the shop (aka my cellar) find some wood that I can use up and see what I can do…

1 day later

I quite like these two shapes. I sloshed some BIN primer on them so that we are not looking at the wood but at the form etc. realistically the one on the right only takes about 1/2 hour longer to cut out and sand.

Each one took less than a half day. Right off the top I will tell you that I think the solid bottom is better because you can drop your weaving stuff (shuttle, comb etc) into it and not worry about where it got to. the one on the left is more like some medieval illustrations, but not exactly like any of them. The one on the right is very like a form that was popular 200 years ago in some Scandinavian region…

I’ll send them to the weavers tomorrow for test runs.

be well

Whittling Whistles and Thingamajigs

When I was young, my parents had a friend named Gold. He wrote a book. This book is probably the basis for my attitude to woodworking. but more importantly the first paragraphs of the Intro to the book ( I reread it over Christmas at my parents house) is, if anything, more pertinent today than it was back in 1974 when the book was published.

From “Whittling Whistles and Thingamajigs” by Harlan G. Metcalf;


WILL HISTORY SAY OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES THAT they had the daring and technological know-how to reach and walk on the moon but failed to use their God-given intelligence to find ways to keep their own land and planet inhabitable by human beings? It is evident that the degradation of our environment has reached such proportions that the survival of our children and their children to come is at stake. Somehow people everywhere must be persuaded to take the steps necessary to make their continued existence on earth possible. But how can this be done?

Love is the key. People do not consciously destroy or pollute the things they love, but rather preserve, protect and nurture them. The more people learn to love the natural world around them, the better will be the chances of protecting all life on earth. One of the best ways of inculcating this love is to teach as many citizens as possible (especially youngsters) the art of making useful and /or beautiful objects from natural materials by hand or with hand made tools without depleting the supply of those materials.”

The book covers whistles and spears, attle-attles and whammy diddles, bows and arrow, making your own string or cordage from things you find growing around you. There are no power tools mentioned,most of the work could be done with one knife. But it’s attitude about nature and about making things has influenced what I do to this day.

find the book in your local library

be well