Ask Madelyn: Counterbalance Shed

I recently bought an old counterbalance loom. I thought one of the advantages of the counterbalance design was that they tend to give a larger shed, but I’m weaving my first project on it, and the shed seems fairly small. Is there some adjustment I can make to increase the shed? I thank you, and my good old loom thanks you, too.


Hi, Regina!

Usually on a counterbalance loom, the sheds are adjustable. You have to look at all the geometry involved. How high the treadle is from the floor affects the distance through which it moves. If it hits the floor before the shed is very big, you should tie it higher. Then, the shafts in a counterbalance loom are connected to each other. One will go down and its attached shaft go up. If they move as far as they can, the top bar of the sinking shaft of one pair will hit the warp threads of the rising shaft and vice versa. That would be the absolute limit of the shed. If this isn’t happening, try to figure out what IS stopping the shed. The remaining possibility might be warp tension that is too tight. And one last word: if the shed is big enough for the shuttle to pass through, it is probably big enough.

Hope this helps!


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