Daniel Boone Homestead's barn frame loom has been sitting unused for almost five years, at their best guess. It was in decent condition, but dirty. There was a warp on it, but it was old, filthy and stretched out, so we began our day cutting off the old warp...
...which made the ol' girl just a little bit unhappy. I reassured her she'd be feeling much better once she was clean and re-dressed. From there we vacuumed up the big chunks of dirt and grime, followed by swiffer floor clothes and swiffer dusters to get into all the nooks and crannies.
|2nd layer of dust removed.|
|Removing the last little bits of dust and dirt|
That was only the beginning of our day. We still had to re-dress this beauty, so we used a warp that had been hanging off the loom for display. Diane, a fellow spinner who had enlisted my help for this project, had taken the older warp home and cleaned it for this purpose. We were a bit challenged with a mystery warp, but not for long. After taking a few minutes to count the number of ends in the warp, we had a better idea of what we had to do next.
|we tied up the lease sticks, raddle was removed by this point|
And of course, after threading heddles, we brought the warp through the reed.
|Through the reed.|
Whenever I am dealing with a loom that hasn't been used in awhile, I find I need to put on a test warp to check all its moving parts. I can do a visual examination and get a good idea of what to fix, or what to adjust, but it's not the same as sitting down and trying to weave. When things don't go smoothly in the weaving process, I know something is off and then I set to problem solving. I figured this same method would work well for the barn frame loom. For me, a loom is a loom is a loom, and the mechanics, more or less, are the same. Sure, each loom has their own 'personality' and sometimes a weaver has to accommodate for that, especially where older looms are concerned. However, part of my problem solving process is to determine what is a 'quirk' of that particular loom and what can be helped with some minor adjustments.
Through dressing the loom and weaving a little bit, I've already discovered some things that are possibly not quite right. I will most likely need to do some minor adjustments from re-arranging the string heddles, to testing to see if the batten (hanging beater) is put on incorrectly. It seems odd that I would have to push the batten back a full 6" while stepping on the treadle to make a shed so I can throw the shuttle. And while this is not my first antique counter-balance loom, this is my first barn frame loom, and I'm going to need to do some more research. Earlier in our day, we had already discovered one part that had been put on incorrectly: the brace that held the built-in bench was attached vertically on one side, but correctly on the opposite side of the frame. The bench board is completely missing, so we hope to restore this in the near future. This discovery alone makes me suspicious about the placement of the batten. I have a feeling I'll be doing more research on barn frame looms here in the near future.
Oh! And by the way, if you see my family passing out fliers with my face on it and the words, "Missing, Reward Offered," you'll know where to find me. I'm at the Daniel Boone Homestead getting to know a new "old" friend.