Macomber Loom: Making Space for the Big One

A 300 pound, eight shaft, 56″ wide Macomber Loom is now sitting in my weaving room.  It has been there for almost a month.  Looming – getting bigger every day.  With me feeling guiltier and guiltier about not weaving on it.  How did this all come about?  I’m glad you asked.

Ever since I took the doubleweave class in September, Tom has been urging me to get a bigger loom.  So I’ve been looking at used looms for sale.  I knew what I wanted.  It had to have at least eight shafts and be wide enough for anything I might want to weave.  I also knew I didn’t want a counterbalance or countermarch loom and I wanted metal heddles instead of string heddles.  And it needed to be available somewhere within a half day drive.

I looked at “Fiber Equipment and More for Sale” on Facebook and at the “Used Fiber Equipment” website almost daily.  And I kept finding things that were almost what I wanted.  The right width and brand but only four shafts.  The right number of shafts but a narrow weaving width.  I would find the exact, perfect loom for a great price – only it was in California or Texas.  Tom was willing to do a road trip, but having to rent a U-Haul truck to go get it made the price prohibitive.  I wanted a used loom because a new loom would be at least $6,000 and I thought I could get a good used loom for much less.

As my birthday got closer, Tom nagged me about the loom.  He planned on getting that for me for my birthday, and he didn’t want to get me anything else.  So he was stuck without a present if I didn’t find one.  I told him I was going to wait for the right loom to show up and not to worry about getting me another present.

And then, on my birthday, I found it.  Someone had just listed an 8 shaft Macomber loom for sale on Facebook.  Complete, in working order, with a 56″ weaving width.  And in my price range.  Best of all, the loom was in a storage facility in Columbus Grove, Ohio, near Lima.  Score!  I immediately messaged Olivia, the seller, and set up a time to look at the loom with the intention of purchasing it.

I didn’t know much about Macomber looms, so I did a little research before we went to look at it.  Macomber looms are considered the workhorses of the weaving world.  They are very heavy, sturdy, and durable.  My weaving teacher, Tom Knisely, said it would be a great loom for me as I continue to learn about weaving.  The Macomber company is still making looms so I can easily get replacement parts or additional shafts if I want.  The only drawback to a Macomber loom is its weight.  The large looms typically weigh around 300 pounds.  It won’t be at all portable like my little 35 pound Schact Wolf Pup.

Hitching the trailer up to the RV

Tom and I rented a little U-Haul Trailer to pull behind the RV.  Then we headed to Columbus Grove to meet Olivia.  Olivia asked me to bring cash or a money order to pay for the loom, and I told her I was a little nervous about meeting someone at a storage unit with that kind of cash.  Sounded a little illicit to me.  Olivia agreed and said that weaving was a kind of drug.  So I felt better knowing she was my kind of people.

Olivia and the loom in pieces

When we got to the storage unit, Olivia was there with her mom.  Turns out Olivia is a 22 year old newly graduated Fiber Arts major.  She went to school at the Savannah College of Art and Design and now was heading to Portland, Oregon in search of a job.  She needed the money from the loom more than she needed to haul the loom across the country.  We enjoyed talking about weaving and Fiber Arts for a bit.  But it was cold, so we got down to business.

The loom in the trailer

The loom was in great shape and appeared to have all its parts.  It was folded up and taken apart, but Olivia showed me how to put in the shafts and tie up the treadles.  As a bonus, the loom has a bench with room for storing tools and the castle has a bin for tools.  I paid Olivia, then Tom and I wheeled the loom into the trailer.  After Tom tied it down, we said goodbye to Olivia and her mom and headed home.

Getting the loom into the house wasn’t too difficult.  Fortunately Tom is very good at lifting heavy things.  We had rented two dollies from U-Haul, so we set the loom on the dollies and lifted and rolled it through the front door.  As soon as we got it set in the dining room, we headed back to U-Haul to return the trailer.

All put together and ready to go

When we got back to the house we unloaded the rest of the loom from the RV and then put the pieces together.  Everything was there except for the bolts we needed to attach the front beam.  But Tom is a frequent shopper at Home Depot and didn’t have any problem getting a couple of bolts.  The loom sits in the weaving room like a thing of beauty.  When I weave I will be able to look out the window and enjoy the view.

I haven’t done any weaving on the Macomber loom yet.  I had to finish a knitting project and a weaving project before I could start anything new.  The knitting project is a baby gift and the weaving project is a Christmas gift so they were a higher priority than starting something new on the big loom.  I am looking forward to weaving on it as soon as those things (and the usual Christmas things) are done.

Every Macomber loom has a unique serial number

I am so blessed to have such a thoughtful husband.  He encourages me to pursue my interests and live out my dreams.  Even if they take up a whole room!