I have to confess something here and now:
When I bought my floor loom last February I had no idea what I was buying. I mean, I thought I did, but really I didn’t.
For months now, I have been circling this loom and trying to figure it out. I’ve moved it twice but never gotten it set up to weave on – partly because I want to replace all the cordage, but also because I just wasn’t *getting it*. I thought it was a standard jack loom because that’s all I really knew about, and I reasoned that it looked so different from other looms because it was hand built in Nova Scotia in 1973 (by a draft dodger and his wife) which made it unique. I figured that I had the treadles on upside down which is why they did not hang properly – I thought once I replaced the cords and tied it up, I’d get a warp on no problem and it would all fall into place….
It turns out that all of that was wrong.
Since November when I started weaving again after getting the J-made up and running, I’ve been consumed by weaving websites and discussion forums and books. It was while perusing some forum a couple of weeks ago that I found a picture of what looked almost identical to my loom…… The Glimakra Standard – and it was upon poking around some more that I realized that my loom is not a jack loom at all — but a countermarch!
While jack and countermarch looms have many things in common, they do not operate in the same way when it comes to tying them up. The weaving process is the same, but the set up process is not. No wonder I was confounded!
Now that I know what I have, I’m feeling a lot more confident about getting it up and running over the next few months. It is a beautiful piece of work, this loom – likely made of maple, with hand-forged metal fittings — a good cleaning will bring it right back again, not to mention replacing all the old string heddles and the clothesline cord before even attempting to warp and balance it for weaving on. Countermarch looms are supposed to have easy treadling and be fairly quiet – once you stop swearing while attempting to tie them up that is! So I’m eager to compare it to the little loom I’ve been working on for the last few months.
I’ve taken a bunch of photographs and created a gallery of the details here because one thing I’ve found is that there are not tons of countermarch resources on the Internet, and my pictures might help someone else ID their loom later on. Bit by bit, I’m going to figure this one out!
Looks like you have a journey ahead of you. Good luck. I’m also thinking that my current looms might not meet my future needs. When that day comes I’ll probably go for a countermarche, too.
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Best wishes on your loom restoration project! I just finished restoring a Glimakra Ideal countermarch loom and it’s so satisfying to weave with it now.
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