Monday, May 11, 2009

Down Under: the story of hooks and treadles

I have had a few questions about treadles and other moving parts down under the loom. The Macomber treadles are a piece of wood with a slot cut into it to accommodate the hook. There are two style of hooks. The old style hooks (also known as regular) and the super hook.

There are two styles of lamms. The older Macomber lamms are made from a metal bar with a heavy duty cardboard strip across the top. This cardboard strip has holes in it to correspond to each treadle. The regular hooks insert into these holes to create the tie-up connection.

The newer lamms are all aluminum. The super hooks simply slip over the lamm to create the tie-up connection. Here's a photo of a super hook.

Over time the cardboard strip across the old style lamms become worn out and the regular hooks often pop out as you are weaving. The solution here is to switch to the new super hooks. You can use the super hooks with the old style lamms.

Here's a photo of the newer lamm and super hook connection under one of my portables.

Sometime folks ask me about sticky treadles and hook connections. I went over the Macomber this AM to have coffee with Eddie. We chatted and here's our list of possible solutions:
  • clean out the dust from the treadles
  • silicon spray (or try soap or wax) in the slotted wooden track
  • do the same to the hooks
  • use a dehumidifier as the wood will swell with moisture
  • if there has ever been water damage, the treadles will be permanently damaged. You will need to return them to Macomber to be re-slotted.
Also underneath the Larger B-model looms is this item. Many folks have no idea what it I thought I might help out. This is a lamm depressor. As you are working on a new tie-up, simply use this device to hold a lamm depressed while you connect all the treadles needed for that harness. It is very handy if you have a complicated tie-up and need to connect many treadles to one harness for a pattern. Simply put the aluminum part on top of the lam, use the lever to depress the lamm, and then slip the hook under the wooden cross piece to hold the lamm depressed. Now the lamm is in a position so you can attach the hooks needed for each treadle across the loom.

I no longer need this tool as I never do tie-ups any more...the air-dobby system is a dream!!

I hope my explanations and photos are helpful!

Keep the questions coming. I'm always happy to help out. Orders welcome too!


Remember to check out the Woven Voices blog!


  1. Thanks, Sarah, I'm learning so much about my Macomber. While I haven't had any problems with the hooks popping off, the super hooks look much easier. I'll have to try them out. My cross piece has a hole where the hook for the lamm depresser goes. I bought it used so maybe the previous owner drilled it. I just experimented until I figured it out - what a time saver!

  2. Thanks, Sarah, for looking into this for us. I will try all of the above and see if my treadles behave better.

    It's great that you went over the lamm depressor gizmo gadget. I have taught many grateful people how to use this. It just isn't intuitive. Many mac owners have them on their looms and have never used them, never knowing what it was for. Now that you have a photo with tutorial on your blog, I can refer my electronic friends to this site for a good description. It is a difficult thing to describe without pictures or demonstration.


  3. Thank you! I could NOT figure out what that lamm depressor was. I thought it must be a lamm depressor, but I couldnlt make it work. I was missing the little hook-y thing to hold it in place when depressed. Hah! Ann Pettit

  4. I have the super hooks to tie up the treadles. They "hang" on the lamms so well that I need a hammer to remove them. there must be a better way?

    1. You are absolutely correct to use a hammer to tap them out of position. You want them snuggly hooked into position - so getting them out should be tough!

  5. Somewhere in the vast Internet universe, I read a note about securing the old style treadle hooks to the metal lamms using some sort of "bands." Now I can't find it again.

    I'm new to the Macomber, bought a used one a few months ago, and it's probably 45 or more years old (B style). Each time I have woven on it, it has jumped a hook off.

    I'd like to fix this aggravating problem once and for all (of course, I realize that the bands need to come off to change the tie-up).

    Can you tell me what kind of bands to use, and how to apply them?

    Thanks, Ann Walper

    1. Hi Ann~ I know how frustrating that can be! I am unaware of any bands used to hold the tie up hooks in place. Have you considered trying all new super hooks on the old style lamms? They work really well! Just a thought! Usually the regular hooks fall out from the old style lamms because the holes on the lamms are all stretched out. Good luck! Sarah

  6. Thank you for this. I just acquired a B5 (An upgrade from my beloved LeClerc) and was absolutely struggling to understand how to connect the treadles. This was very helpful. I suspect I'll be leaving lots of 'thank you' comments!


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