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.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Cloth vs String Aprons

You say "tomahhh -to" I say " tomayyy -to" ......
Yes it is really a matter of choice in my opinion. Many weavers swear by cloth aprons - saying that it gives them better over all tension, a more solid foundation and feels more secure.

I say great! But... I have woven with string aprons for years and believe that good tension is for the most part from a balanced beaming on of your warp.

However - when you have to install a new apron on a used loom - it is FAR easier to simply staple on the new cloth apron - which comes with two new steel rods than to install the new apron strings.

String apron on warp beam. Back to front warping with additional rod.

Apron strings on cloth beam.

I wrote a blog post about installing new apron strings - quite a few photos to help those who want to tackle this job. As with many renovations on older looms - some folks buy replacement parts direct from the Macomber shop and some folks prefer to fabricate their own. I won't discourage you from attempting this - but it is not a big investment to purchase the hand sewn cloth apron - basically it is a few $$ more than the width of your loom. IE. a 48" cloth apron is $53.
The string apron repair kit is a mere $25 with enough string and tacks to repair 3 beams. But as I mentioned a bit more work.
Here are a few photos to help illustrate the difference between cloth and string aprons. I'd love to have other weavers weigh in here! What do you prefer? Does your opinion have to do with who taught you??
Send me photos if you have them of your installation process! Happy weaving!
~~ Sarah

Eddie demos installing new string apron.
Happy new loom owner with cloth aprons!
Home made apron on warp beam.

Cloth apron on cloth beam.


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