Ask Madelyn: Changing Aprons on Your Loom
I’m wanting to change the aprons (and heavy steel rods) on my loom to Texsolv tie-up cords. I have a 36” wide loom; I’m wondering how many tie-up cords to use and what kind of rod? I’m assuming I need something thick for the rod to be strong enough to withstand warp tension without bending? (I do hate to drill holes in my warp and cloth beams, but I am really ready to get rid of the old, ragged apron.)
For a 36” wide loom, I’d use eight or nine cords. You need to drill holes in order to secure the Texsolv cord so it can’t slip around the beam as you turn it. An alternative would be to loop the cord around the beam and secure it in place with a carpenter’s stapler, but holes would be better (more organic?). Measure each cord the same length and feed one end through the hole in the beam and back though the last (or second to last) loop at the other end of the cord (Photo a).
To place the rod in the cords, make a loop by pulling cord through the last loop or second to last loop on the end of the cord; place the apron rod through the loops (Photo b).
The rod does not actually need to be that strong. For your loom, I think a 5/8” dowel would work. When you tie on the warp, always remove the tie-up cords that are beyond the outside edges of the warp. If you leave them on, the rod will tend to bend because all of the force on the outer edges is pulling on the rod, while the center of the rod is being pulled in the opposite direction by the warp (Photo c). If you drop off the outer cords, there isn’t any counter-pull on the rod. (Photo d).