Tuesday, February 2, 2010

CP brakes, something old with the new, and a pronounciation lesson

Thanks to everyone for their questions, curiosity and support for my efforts with all things Macomber.

First off, today I want to explain how to pronounce the name of our looms...it is MAY-cum-ber.  Rhymes with cucumber. I don't mind how anyone pronounces it, but since someone asked me yesterday, I thought I'd share this tidbit with you.

Now for the technical news. A weaver has asked for an image of the back warp brake system for the CP. Here is the way a ratchet brake system is set up, with the release on the castle.
The brake release on the castle.

As you can see the spring is attached to the upright with one screw. The "dog" is attached with one screw also. The dog is the metal part that sits down in the clogs of the ratchet. The spring holds the dog down and engaged with the ratchet to create the brake system.

The chain goes from the dog to the wire brake release on the castle.When you pull the wire forward you pull the chain which pulls up the dog and releases the brake.

And lastly, I have a weaver in NY who has one of the oldest looms that I am selling parts for. I believe that it is a 1950s vintage. It is weaving beautifully thanks to tender loving care by this weaver. Here's a quote for her latest email:
"We took out all the side wires and straightened and cleaned them. When reinstalling the wires, we discovered that there ARE jack bumpers, though perhaps also of 1950s vintage and in need of replacement. Interestingly, they were installed on the vertical side of the wood jack stop block, not on the surface under the jacks — no wonder the jacks were not level! For now we installed them in the right place, and voila, even as can be!

Also redid all the chains so every hook faces the same direction and all the chains are equally long with no twists. It looks so
neat!!  And the harnesses line up just like little soldiers. There is a verrrry slight tilt to the back, as you said there would be, but only noticeable with a level, not with the eye.

Speaking of eyes, the heddle eyes are now about 1.5" below the front and back beams. We had to go back and add one link to each chain to accomplish that, but I thought it was well worth the extra time.  All the lamms are in their correct slots now; and I snugged up superhooks, too."

And just to illustrate that you can blend the old with the new, here is an image of the lamms on this older loom, with the new super tie-up hooks. This is what I recommend to all weavers who have the old style lamms and hooks, swtich to the newer super hooks and use them this way. You will be happier. And speaking of which, isn't that what we all long for...to be happier and to be weaving with a well functioning loom!

Happy weaving to all ~ Sarah


  1. This couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I've been working on restoring a "MAY-cum-ber" in the collection of our museum. It's been pretty frustrating and I've been getting discouraged that I will ever be able to get this old (1950) loom working well enough to hold on to its space in the loom barn. I read today's posting and went straight to the museum and pulled off all the long side wires which have been popping off and getting hung-up. Some are rusted and bent so I will clean them up and see if that helps. And, sure enough, the wood jack stop blocks and bumpers were not lined up causing the shafts to hang crooked. I wouldn't have seen that problem if I hadn't read your post and taken off the long wires. Thank you for providing the needed information just at the right time. I know I'm still likely headed for problems with the lamm hooks--hoping I can make what we have work since it won't be easy to get the museum to buy new "super hooks". The hooks seem to get caught in a couple of the treadles--maybe the wood is a little warped. I'm wondering if I put some kind of little wedge in the slots on those treadles to hold them a bit more open if that might help. I have a good feeling about this loom and am really hopeful I can get it back in working condition.

  2. I have a 48" Ad-a-Harness B-4 model loom, I believe it is from the 1950's. I've been weaving on this loom on and off for 15 years and I am pleased with the weaving I can do, but the tie-ups are very challenging, so I'm very interested in learning about the superhooks. I have other questions too: like what is the purpose of the short little thick dowel that is attached to the lower part of the front of the loom by a rope? I am so excited to learn of your blog and that you are a rep for Macomber. And do you know if there is a labelled "map" with all the parts of a Macomber loom named? It is a little hard to follow the details if you don't know the all the vocabulary (I I don't...)


  3. Hi Ginnie:

    Thanks for you note on the blog. It never ceases to amaze me that folks are weaving on looms that are over 50 years old. Sure, when you are ready, we can set you up with the super hooks!
    The dowel on the rope is used to depress the lamms to help with tie-up. You use the slotted end of the dowel to depress the lamm with one hand and then the other hand hooks up the tie-up hook.
    As far as a diagram with loom part names..there is none. But I would think that a good basic weaving book such as Deb Chandler's "Learning to Weave" would have similar jack loom illustrations that will help with these terms. Happy weaving! Sarah

  4. Karen, if you are anywhere near Alabama, I would be glad to come help out.


24" 8 Harness CPJ Macomber for sale

  24" 8 Harness Macomber CPJ Portable Loom for sale. Double back beams with friction brake and warp separator. 4 reeds, storage box, 2 ...