Inkle loom

Yeah, I know, Everyone has made an Inkle loom… this is just my turn 😉

My better half used to do a bit of card weaving back when she was in college and has several times mentioned that if she ever “had time” she would like to do some once again.

but she has no loom.

Thus when she went to visit her sister’s family for a weekend i did this:

first I looked for plans on the interwebs: there are a lot of them out there. many of them simply posted to the web and no one asking for money. so I looked at several and drew up my own plans. combining aspects of several designs into something nearly exactly like all of the other looms…

Then having plans, I went down into my dungeon.. I mean shop, and looked around for some appropriate wood. I have Maple, Oak, Beech, Purpleheart, and Poplar to choose from… then again I have this old plank of Black Walnut that has been sitting around here for years. I got it from a job, a very nice woman I had known since childhood,  had this drop leaf kitchen table she wanted cut down to a coffee table. and she asked me to hang onto the leaves (1″ x 14″ x 38″ Black Walnut). I did. She is gone now and her son didn’t want them back. I used one a few years ago on a very profitable little job. and the other has been sitting there…

Now I’m thinking… a lot of people make these and just screw the parts together, and the loom works just fine. Some folks use a half lap joint. If you don’t fuss too much it looks to me like you could make one in about a half a day.

So of course I decide to make this one with saddle joints, and the dowel rods have a step from 1″ dia down to 5/8″ diameter going through the frame (instead of just screwing through the frame) and are wedged on the backside.

I notice that on several but not all of the looms 2 of the dowels are spaced exactly right to use them to tie heddles on. so i do that with the top 2 on the “near” limb.

so here is what I worked from:

I actually ripped the main (long) beam 3 1/4″ and the 2 short ones 2 1/2″. drilled 2 holes for the ends of the slot and carefully sawed out in between.

marked the saddles with a bevel gauge and used the parts to define the opposite side.

I sawed the shoulders on the table saw and used a hand router (not powered) to clean out to depth, sawed the cheeks on the forked parts. and chiseled out the waste in the middle, made sure they fit together and glued it all up.


Then I had to use my 1″ dowel maker/rounder plane that I made years ago after reading about them in Roy Underhill’s book, I think it was “The Woodwright”s Shop”.

It takes a lot of twisting to make 1″ White Oak dowels.

After the frame had cured I put masking tape on the face and marked out the location of the dowels and drilled 5/8″ holes. I used a jig on the table saw to make the step, doing it on a lathe would have been safer (no I didn’t get hurt but trust me, it will be safer if you do it with a lathe if you ever need to do it). I used a back saw to cut a slot in all of the reductions and glued and wedged the dowels into place.

Clean up and scraped in a few spots (I wasn’t going to sand a hand planed face). used a knife to cut a tiny chamfer on all of the edges.

2 coats of clear Watco and we have…

The heddles get tied on the top 2 dowels of the front (left) arm, and in use go on the dowel that is in front of the arms on the main beam. Or the loom is used without heddles and with “cards” or tablets for tablet weaving.

Total time… 2 days

heh so much for a half a day 😉

be well


Leave a Reply