Thursday, June 18, 2015

The right and left of heddle bars

Heddle bars hold the heddles inside the harnesses.
 Heddle bars are those slim bars of steel that hold the heddles inside your harnesses. They run horizontally from left to right across the harnesses allowing the heddles to slide from one edge of the harness frame to the other.

Here is everything you might want to know about heddle bars ~ 

  • Cleaning heddle bars - use a light weight steel wool to clean off any rust. Lightly spray with Silicon spray to help prevent further rust and to help the heddles glide from right to left.
  • Getting heddles to slide easily - clean the heddles bars as described above. I find that the inserted eye heddles will glide more easily while the flat steel ones seem to bind up more frequently.

  • Replacing heddle bars - you can purchase new heddle bars if yours are too rusty and cannot be cleaned easily. They are not too expensive - ie. 24" bar is $4. Give me a call to order these.
    Heddle bar ends (right/left) - at each end of your heddle bar is a small hole. There should be some kind of fastener or clip that prevents the heddle bar from slipping out of the harness....and your heddles dropping off! Over the years Macomber has tried a variety of ways to prevent the heddle bar from slipping off.  Here are the 3 variations that I know -
    1. The clip - only on one edge, breaks over time.
    the clip, the rubber stopper and the office brad fastener.
    2. Rubber stopper - falls out, gets lost.
    Brad office fastener- current option.
      Heddle bar clips hold the bar inside the harness.
    • Heddle bar clips - inside the frame - these clips hold the heddle bars in a horizontal position and attach them to the harness across the width.On rare occasion these will break - and can be replaced. Call me to find out more about this repair.
    • Re/moving heddles - Sometimes it is necessary to remove heddles from the harness frame. Reasons to do this include - too many heddles for the project and the unused ones will chafe the warp and impede it from going on a straight path from front to back of the loom. Or perhaps you need to move some from one harness to another, or from one loom to another, etc. To remove the heddles - lay the harness flat on a table and undo the fastener or clip and slide the heddle bar out enough so that you can easily slide off the heddles. I HIGHLY recommend that you slide the heddles on to a heavy cord or even better a slim heddle transfer bar (a thin strip of flexible stainless steel). There is nothing more frustrating than a pile of chaotic heddles that need to be threaded back on to the heddle bar. (Since writing this post I have learned that it is a challenge to find heddle transfer bars for sale. Macomber no longer sells them. If anyone finds a source - PLEASE let me know!)
      Heddle transfer bar.
    • I hope that this post gives you some new information tips on heddle bars! Read more about heddles bars in a past blog post  - "Little Jobs"


    1. Thank you for your blog. We are looking for a new loom for our upcoming retirement. I only saw a Macomber briefly, and that was decades ago! I appreciate the info that you provided here.

      You said that you were looking for heddle bars. This year I found and bought 24" Schacht "table loom" heddle bars from the Woolery. I, too, am meticulous about having only the requisite number of heddles on each harness, and storing the extras on heddle bars, all turned the right way.

    2. I'm thinking of selling my large ad a harness loom by Macomber in Saugus, Mass. And would like to get an idea of valuation. My loom was received in 1966.


    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 ...