Posted by Peg in South Carolina
My first floor loom was a counter balance loom by LeClerc. I had gone to a lot of effort trying to decide between a jack and a counter balance. I asked questions of the weaving list. I read books. I was finely persuaded to buy the counter balance. JoAnne Hall thought that would be a good purchase. And Rachel Brown, who was my first weaving heroine, wrote in her book The Weaving,Spinning and Dyeing Book, that every weaving workshop ought to have a counter balance loom as one of its looms because it wove 4-shaft drafts so easily and quickly.
So here is the loom I purchased: a LeClerc Nilus II CB with a shed regulator. CB looms weave easily drafts which balance two shafts up against two shafts down. But weaving with one shaft up and three down, or the reverse, is sometimes difficult to do this on a CB loom. The shed regulator solves the problem. The shed regulator is that piece of equipment sitting on top of the loom. It is attached to the side beams with those slightly triangular pieces of wood on either side. To this is attached that top rod with a cord mechanism which you can adjust one way if you want to treadle one shaft up and three down. And you can adjust it the other way so that you can treadle one shaft down and three up. For a better view of it, go to this page and this page on the Leclerc web site.
When I purchased this loom, I thought that a 4-shafts loom would meet all my weaving wants/desires for the rest of my life. No so. After weaving on the loom for three years, I started investigated 8-shaft jack looms and 8-shaft countermarch looms. I thought carefully about a countermarch loom. A CM loom has the advantages of a CB loom insofar as shafts are pulled down (as well as raised up). This pulling down creates a big shed and a clean shed. I really wanted that. What I didn't want to have to do is to wrestle with CM tie-ups! They seemed to be a pain in the you-know-what!
Well, tying up treadles in general is no picnic. However, despite my being a woman of uncertain age, I am still quite agile. But I do not know how much longer I can fight off the inevitabilities of ageing. So I was very tempted by the LeClerc Nilus II jack with rear-hinged treadled. This loom seemed to have some of the advantages of a CM loom insofar as it had rear-hinged treadles, it had springs attached at the back to the treadles which could be adjusted, and it had some additional ability to manipulate the treadle cords. So I purchased it.
Alas, I could not keep my CB loom. Space and finances. So I sold it.
I very much like this loom, but I still have occasion to wish it were a CM. Whenever I discover a warp yarn that just plain stayed up instead of going down, I wish it were a CM loom. Side mirrors don't help here because the error is not visible.
On the other hand, I realize that the problems I am having with this current warp about clearing sheds might not be solved with a CM loom. The sheds are perfectly clear up at the shuttle race. Where they are not always clear is down at the fell. Since this happens primarily with only one shed on one threading block and secondarily with one other shed on a different threading block, the problem seems to be with the threading/tie-up. And by the time I have finished treadling the set of treadles, all the warp ends are equally taut.
I am also beginning to play more with those springs at the back, specifically with the springs that operate on the treadles where the problem is. In the photo you can see a spring attached to each treadle with a Texsolv loop cord. The loop cord allows you to adjust how tight you want the spring to be. I have tried tightening up those springs a bit, and that may be helping. I may try tightening them up once more.
But the loosening threads at the fell does create a problem with the laying in of the weft. The weft will not always lay in correctly and can bunch and cause little loops, both at the selvedges and in the areas where the warp threads are a little loose. That is why I hand clear.
As I come to understand this, I am feel less in need of a CM loom.
Some posts on countermarch looms from other blogs:
Comparing Looms: Jack & Countermarche From Leigh's Fiber Journal
Some Countermarch Nitty-gritty: Size, Sheds and Texsolv From The Straight of the Goods
Treadle Tieup and Threading From Dot's Fiber to Fabric