Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cloth VS. String - part 2

New apron on cloth beam.
My blog readers are wonderful - what follows is the story of one wonderful guy who documented his experience of replacing the cloth beam with a new apron from the Macomber shop. Thanks SO much Steve for your description and photos - plus a very good argument for why a cloth apron might be better. I'm rethinking my opinion here!

I attached the cloth beam apron with tacks because I thought it would be easier to get it exactly where I wanted it, easier to move if required and the tacks stick up less when all the way in, giving a smoother surface (not that it makes much of a difference). 

New apron installed on cloth beam.
I put a tack loosely at each end, pulling the apron tight and making sure it was straight.  When I got them in and everything adjusted, I put additional tacks at 2" spacing to finish.  The left edge (from the front) is perfectly straight while the right edge (shown) varies.  It appears to be wider at the end with the tacks.  Could be because I pulled it tight, but I tried to be careful not to stretch it, just remove the wrinkles.

You can tell they spent a lot of time on the apron design.  There is a hem on the beam end as well as the rod end.  It is really nice having the edges on the new apron sealed with lacquer or whatever it is.  I think it will make it last much longer and deteriorate much slower.  You can see how frayed the cut edges are on my warp apron.  It is possible that the finish will increase the friction, too, making the knots hold better.
Repaired warp apron

I don't have a problem using a string apron on the warp beam, but mine came with a cloth apron and I didn't want to go through the work or removing and restringing the warp beam just to put it back on the cloth beam.  The portable has a string apron and I haven't received any complaints from the management about it.

For my two cents, I have seen that the string apron doesn't provide as even tension as the cloth apron.  The individual strings don't expand and contract on as even a basis as the cloth does.  Since the new apron came with the two rods with individual ties between them, those ties determine the tension, not the cloth. 
Whoever built it at Macomber did a really good job.  If you look at the pictures of my warp beam, I put an equalizer cord between the steel bar and the wood dowel.  This moves as needed to equalize the tension.  I think I saw pictures in your blog of an apron from Macomber strung this way.



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