Floating Shafts

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn


Hi, Madelyn

Our guild owns an 8-shaft LeClerc loom. We have set up Lynn Tedder's project for fingertip towels from the Handwoven website, which is a lace threading and treadling. As our first weaver started her project, it was obvious that one shaft was floating up and not staying down where it was meant to be. (Naughty!) On the next treadling,  the reverse was happening to another shaft. (Double naughty!) We also had this experience when we had an 8-shaft twilll threaded on this loom.

We have not found any information or suggestions for correcting this problem, and it will be extremely difficult to weave by manually pushing one shaft down each time we put in a weft. Possibly, we would be inventing a new weaving/dance/move.

––Ilona Schneider, Desert Sage Weavers and Spinners Guild, Oliver, B.C. Canada, Eh!

Hi Ilona!

Although the idea of creating a new dance at the loom is appealing, I don’t think this should be it!

Usually, when shafts float on a jack loom it is because there are so many treadles tied to raise that particular shaft that their combined weight is causing the shaft to go up even though you aren’t stepping on the treadles tied to it. It is possible that LeClerc has a solution to this—you could ask them about it.

Schacht looms have a fix for it, which is to have a dowel positioned above the treadles just after the last shaft. A rubber band and tie-up cord connect this rod to the end of each treadle so that the rubber band pulls all the treadles back up (and all shafts therefore back down) when the treadles are not being used. This keeps the treadle weight from acting on the shafts as you weave. I’m not sure how you could duplicate this fix on your loom (you’d probably have to see it work to even try).

Another possible fix is to add weight to the shaft that floats, to counteract the treadle weight that is making it rise. You will be adding weight to your treadling by doing this, but it might not be too much (and better than pushing the shaft manually!).

Thanks and I hope this helps!


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