This is the tale of two looms and a 19 year old who was into me for $300. The reason he was into me for $300. isn’t important, but as he is trying to work off this rather cumbersome debt, I’m trying to think of things for him to do besides clean my house thoroughly, which he has already done. I was going to set him to work on the outside gardens today, but alas, it has poured rain steadily through the entire day. So, that leaves something for me to invent for him to do in the studio. Enter two small Structo looms I acquired on my travels. The one on the right is an eight shaft, which had been refurbished, the finish is awful, but all the parts are there and in working order, except the aprons are cut way too narrow for the already narrow little loom. (For the non weavers, the aprons are the white cloth on the front and back beams that attach to the warp and the finished cloth.)
The second loom was also given to me, and all the pieces to it are sort of there, but many of the cross pins are missing and the loom frame had some creative copper beam replacements. This loom also had a hex warp beam with four two inch spools that fit snugly on the hex beam, and held a lot of fine warp. I unreeled one of the spools and pulled off about 20 yards. That’s a lot of warp for such a tiny loom.
I want to set up one of these looms to make more of the little Personal Post series postcards, I’ve had some luck with in exhibits. The cards themselves are only about 6 x 4″, so having an 8″ wide loom, with a long warp on it should let me weave for awhile and see what I can come up with, without tying up my larger looms. And the way they were perched on top of two spool racks as you entered my studio made for some dangerous snowball effects when one or both of them caught on someone’s clothing and went careening off their perch. But I digress…
I technically only need four shafts for the structure for the post cards, it is a Theo Moorman inlay, with two shafts for the ground, and two shafts for the tie-down threads. The problem is I need a lot of heddles. And as far as I know, Structo heddles are no longer made. Someone please tell me if I am wrong on this… Between the 12 shafts I have on the two looms, I have enough heddles for the job, and I can use 4 shafts for the ground instead of two, because I can. So enter my 19 year old. His assignment once he rolled out of bed at noon, was to dismantle both looms, and keep the best parts, and transfer 60 heddles to each of six shafts. Here’s the thing. Heddles, those little wire things with eyes, where each warp thread is threaded through, all have to face in the same direction. Or anyway in the perfect world they should. Older looms, where heddles have been added and taken away, tend to have a mismosh of heddle directions which is a pain in the neck to thread. So he worked for about an hour and a half, creating for me a nice eight shaft loom with lots of heddles, all going in the same direction.
Meanwhile, I pulled out the AVL warping mill to see if I could figure out how to wind warp on those little spools that fit on the hex beam. First the math. The Structo reed is a fixed 15 dent. The thread I pulled off the spools, was pretty close to a 20/2’s cotton, which is pretty fine. And from the quick count I did, they used that thread sleyed double through the reed, at 30 ends per inch. What I couldn’t figure out was how to put the warp on the spools to begin with. So I unwound each of the spools, like peeling paint off a house, there must have been about 20 different warps tied end on end. I got to the end of the spool, and found that the ends of the warp were all glued to some kind of paper tape that then inserted into a metal flange and the way the beam was wound, kept the paper from pulling out.
I dug around in my vast archives of stuff, and found my roll of paper tape, and grabbed the two cones I bought of 14’s linen, (from my trip to Silk City a couple weeks ago), which appeared to be pretty close to a 20/2 cotton, and a small cone of brown serger thread that matched pretty well. The serger thread is finer than sewing thread, and works well for the tie down yarns.
OK, I’ve never done something like this before, I use my AVL warping wheel for winding sectional warps. It came with a 20 dent reed, which is really odd, who uses a 20 dent reed, or so I thought at the time. Turns out that the actual space in each spool is 1 1/2″, and 30 dents in a 20 dent reed is 1 1/2″. How cool is that? (If you aren’t a weaver and are reading this, I probably lost you back on the first paragraph. Sorry, but this is one of those posts that gets kind of technical so you may want to just look at the photos and tune in another time to see what I actually do with all this!)
So I wound my 2″ worth of linen/serger thread warp into the warping mill, using the 20 dent reed, which meant the real width here was only 1 1/2″. Then I beamed one of the spools directly off the AVL mill, right onto the back beam of the loom, which is missing its entire castle housing because my son has it apart on my cutting table. You can see the band of thread coming through the 20 dent reed. Each dent has two ends of linen and one end of serger thread.
I used the paper tape and glued it over the ends to start(it’s the kind you just lick, do they even make that anymore? It’s used for taping up boxes, you can see the little roll to the right of the loom.) The paper tape held the ends really well, keeping the order, and slipped into the flange of the spool and I just started winding. The warp went on like butter, smoothest thing I’ve ever wound. The 15 yard warp beamed in about 3 minutes. I finished winding the warp by putting a piece of the paper tape over the ends coming out of the reed on the AVL mill. That kept my thread order and allowed me to move on to the next spool.
Everything went well until I got to the last spool. There was plenty of linen, but the serger spool wasn’t looking like it was going to make it. Of course it was my only one, and as luck would have it, Coats and Clarks discontinued it’s Tru-Lock serger thread, replacing it with something else, which didn’t come in that color, Chona Brown.
I had overwound the first warp for the first spool by a half dozen dents, so I had pulled it off and tossed it in the trash. Realizing I was going to be really close, and might make it to within the last half inch of warp, where I don’t really need the tie down threads, I went into the trash and pulled out this mess…
Actually, it was a lot worse, this was what was left after about an hour’s worth of work and having the dog come cruising through the little pile I’d pulled out of the serger thread. But perseverance is my middle name, after all I am a handweaver and that sort of goes with the territory. Most weavers I know would take a couple hours to undo a mess like this, and after the serger thread was pulled out and rewound onto the cone, I managed to squeak out the last warp spool on the loom with only the end 1/2″ with no tie down threads. Which is actually fine. The problem is, when I wound the last spool on the loom, the 1/2″ without the serger thread was on the inside not the outside of the spool. So I figured I’d have to do some creative threading, and maybe stretch some of the thread from other bundles, and anyway, it was time to make dinner.
My lovely creative pink haired daughter came into the studio after dinner and asked her usual, “Watcha doin’?” I showed her my dilemma, and she said, rather annoyed, “Mom, just rearrange the spools on the beam…”
Boy did I feel stupid. So in about 15 seconds, I popped the four spools off the hex beam, rearranged the spools so the missing 1/2″ of tied down threads is now at a selvedge edge, and all is well.
So, now I’m threading my loom, all the heddles are going in the same direction, and life is good. These little looms are a pain in the butt to thread, but I can put up with anything for 8″. I tossed out a 1/2″ of tie down threads on the opposite selvedge, so the two selvedges would match. I’m still not sure that the sett is appropriate for this fine yarn, in what I’m trying to do with it, but I won’t really know until I actually start weaving. So stay tuned!
If you want more information on the AVL warping mill, the AVL site has lots of information and I also cover it in my monograph, “Warp Fast”, which also covers sectional warping and warping with a paddle. The AVL warping mill works like a dream when winding the warping spools for the small Structo’s. And my little Leclerc Structo wannabee, that I’ve been using for the rug samples for the guild seminars, also has an additional hex beam with five warping spools on it for 10″ wide! Yippee! And I can more than likely get more heddles for the Leclerc.
A retired friend has (still I believe) a bunch of Structo stuff and a loom or two, extra spools/parts et.c. Let me know if you want her contact info.
I Lurve my little Structo. And with the way my arthritis is advancing in my back, it and the inkle may be the only little looms I keep. But I must say, I do admire your warping setup. I read a lot about people struggling to refill their spools. Your setup works wonderfully well. My structo is one of the earlier ones before they invented the spool system.
I love this blog article – thak you, Daryl, for sharing with us all!
And Jenny, I could sure use a few Structo heddles, and extra parts,too, if Daryl doesn’t want them…I’m restoring and improving a darling little 4 shaft Structo. Is there a possibility you could ask your friend if she would mind contacting me?
I haven’t been able to reach Jenny’s friend, yet, her email is no longer in service. Alas, I think I just need to suck it up and send an old fashioned letter!
[…] I only have tonight and tomorrow… Meanwhile… I have received a few comments about the Structo Loom I’m working with, there are apparently others who are looking to repair old Structo’s […]
Hey, please join us, if you haven’t already (the screen-name thing, you know), at all_things_structo on the Yahoo! groups! One of our members posted this link and I am THRILLED, esp as I see great minds DO think alike (-; I’ve been using this method to reload the spools and it’s nice to be able to refer people to this excellent site.
Jenny: I would love to get in touch with your retired friend with a lot of Structo parts!
How fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to share your adventure with us. I currently have 2 structos and sold one other one last year. None have had the spools but one does have the hex beam. I’ve always wondered how the spools were used. I’ve only seen them in photos and I couldn’t even imagine how they got all that yarn to become a warp – I sort of pictured one end not multiple. Mystery solved. Thanks again
I desperately need some spools for my “600” series wooden 4 harness Structo loom. Can someone tell me where I might get some or use something else that might work. Thanks!
Dear Daryl and the rest of the Structo Loom fans, You might already know that Serendipity Farm & Studio has Structo heddles. We have sold out of all of the ones that fit the wooden Structo,, but… We have just contracted to have MORE new stainless steel heddles for the metal Structo and Dick Blick metal looms made. We only have a few left from the first batch, but more are on the way! Also, we are having those special REEDS made and am expecting them very soon. We have asked for chrome-plated brass in 12 dent size to start.… Read more »
I just found a 240-4 strict loom at a fiber show. It’s in good shape but has only one spool. Does anyone know where I can find more of them? I really appreciated the demo of how to refill them. Thanks, jenny
Thank you so much for having your blog! I just purchased a 240/4 with spools and an ancient weaving intact on it. I have to document what is there, it is very fragile and some broken warp. Will then follow your fabulous instructions to rewind the spools. Looking forward to learning more about the loom
Anyone know where you can buy ready warp spools with 60 treads on a spool
e-mail me at Daveanddarla2000@yahoo.com if you do.
I just bought a very small stucko loom like yours. Mine is an 8 shaft with one of those spools along with the loom. Very interesting. I will see if anyone in Southern California knows how to use it. Otherwise old fashion tie on.
I am a weaving teacher and we have a spool fed loom like this in my classroom. How do you remove the spools to replace them? From what I can see on the back of the loom there is no way other than taking the loom apart! Can that be right?
I am looking for a grey metal cap for the left tower top of my Structo 20″ 600-9716. I realize I could use a piece of wood or even tin can, but am determined to restore it well. This loom isn’t very old I think. I am fixing it up to use. Anyone have parts?
could you please tell me what size Texsolv heddles to buy for the four harness 8 inch weaving structo loom that is metal/green
I would like to know what is the maximum amount of warp the loom holds without the standard spool, just plain warping board, braid warp??
I just got a 4 harness little guy! Need really simple instructions as I am not a weaver yet! Help!
I just bought a 2 harness green Structo. It is very much like the 240. Any ideas what the model number is? ALso, does anyone have any instructions to make a steel beam to fit and spools to make my own ready warps?
I have just purchased a Structo 750, which I have been told is complete by the gentleman I got it from. I am not a weaver, but hope to become one, now that I am seeing retirement in my future and will have the time to devote to it. Any guidance – starting with a diagram of the different parts so that I can learn the language of the loom – would be extremely helpful.
Hi Cheri, I also just got a 750, mine has the solid warp beam. Once I get the thing reassembled, I’ll send pics. Are you on the Yahoo Structo group? The files are very useful.
Did the 240 come with 8 heddle option or did a person just buy extra harnesses and /or castle?
Hi this is wonderful! I’m in the process of purchasing a structo 4 harness it has the same type of warping system . I need to reward it to get it to work ! Thanks any other help is greatly appreciated masseyna email@example.com
Dear derly, I’m new owner of a wonderful little strutco loom . I can use help in getting started with it. Your warping of the reels is wonderful. Will tatting /crochet cotton work? Its about 20/2 size ? Please contact me back masseyna