New heddles on old harness, or new harnesses?

I am weaving on an 8-shaft 64" countermarche built in 1947 in Stuttgart Germany by Jakob Jost. This is the sum of all my knowledge about this loom! It has taken 3 years to get everything back in weaving order, and I am very happy with it. In moving heddles around for the next warp I discovered I am short on heddles. There are 4 harnesses that use 28cm and 4 harnesses that use 30cm. I dont know why there are 2 size harnesses, they all are from the same (German) mfr, now extinct. I have a combination of twisted wire and inserted eye heddles but cannot find, on a North American or worldwide web search, wire heddles in these sizes. 1: does anyone know a source for wire heddles in these sizes? 2: Texsolv comes in 280mm. There is also a 300mm with a very long eye opening, or 318mm with the smaller opening. So, I could order these and use them on the existing harnesses.They would be a special order and take a long time to get at additional expense compared to the standard texsolv available at the corner store. BUT..... 3: I have to have a dummy treadle tied to all the lower lamms to balance the weight of the harnesses against the lamms and get good sheds, decent height treadles, and not have the lamms hit each other. SO, I'm thinking about making new harnesses in the Scandinavian style to use "standard" texsolv. These would be much lighter than the current wodd and metal (lots of metal!) frames on it now. The question is, which standard heddle length should I aim for, 11 (shorter than existing) or 12.5 (longer than existing). I'm inclined to go longer because my best flyshuttles are the older industrial style and require a larger shed than the modern shuttles. Also, being larger, I can pack more weft onto the pirns! My sketching this out has arrived at no conclusions, I'm hoping group-think can Thank you Rachel in MA


Posted on Sun, 04/02/2017 - 02:26

I am familiar with the German countermarche looms with the wood and metal shaft frames. Not sure about the two heddle sizes, but theoretically if the heddle eyes are centered, the loom will work just fine.
The "balance" on a CM loom is dependent on the weight and proportion of all the parts so am unsure if making Scandinavian shaft sticks will make your loom happy or not. You do not want the 30cm long eye heddles unless you wish to do double harness (drawloom) weaving. If your loom is a large and deep one, you should consider the 318 Texsolv heddles, for a smaller loom the 280 heddles will also do.
For starters, you could tie a few heddles in seine twine in both sizes and test two stick heddle frames to see how they work - 10-20 heddles per frame on just two. Hang them in the loom, tie to two treadles and see how it goes.
I was never sure if those heavy frames were really needed or not. Wove on such a loom in a museum in Kiel and it was decent to use.
You might want to post a photo here to better identify the loom construction.

Posted on Sun, 04/02/2017 - 14:07

The photo is with the wire heddles, you can see how much the shafts sink, and why I used the "dummy" treadle in the tie up to weight the lamms enough to keep the treadles at a usable height.

Unable to find more wire heddles,  switched to texsolv heddles and made stick shafts, and now the shafts are balanced with lamms and treadles much much more.

The problem I've encountered is getting the shafts to the correct height to have the threads in the center of the heddles... It seems like a simple problem but I'm stumped after many tries but the warp us getting abraded. There is a consistent inconsistency! The tie up and the sheds will be just so, then after weaving just 10-12 inches, the heddles are rubbing again.

Any ideas why the tieup would move? It's all texsolv which I thought would not stretch?

Anyway, I've moved a step forward.

And, someone just gave me 8 harnesses that are from a similar loom with hundreds of wire heddles, so next warp may still be an experiment.


Posted on Sun, 04/02/2017 - 16:43

Sounds like that old loom in Molfsee. That one was out of square and the cloth beam so crooked that they actually burned it when a better Marquardsen was donated.
First, I don't see your photo - where do I find it?
Then, those old metal heddles can become sharp over time and cut your warp threads (inserted eye) or the twisted ones wear such that the threads catch in the twist and get abraded there.
Texsolv tieup shouldn't stretch, but perhaps something else is going on with the different shaft and heddle sizing that puts things "out of whack" during weaving.
Certainly trying with consistent heddle frames is worth a try - but try with just four for starters. YOu actually have two sets of four - set it up with just one set and see how that works. 4/6 means only 24 connections to troubleshoot. 8/8 is 64 and would take a lot longer. Once you get something working with just 4 you can expand the loom.
What kind of tension is on the loom? ratchet/pawl or live weight? That could also play a role.

Posted on Mon, 08/16/2021 - 11:41

<p>I have a Mountain Loom parallel countermarche and need to add more heddles. &nbsp;Not sure how unhook the shafts without losing the remaining shafts. I guess I can&#39;t see the Forest for the trees. &nbsp;Any advice would be greatly appreciated.</p>

Posted on Sun, 09/05/2021 - 15:34

I weave rag rugs on a old Deen heavy duty fly shuttle loom. My 2 cents are that a larger shed is always a good idea.

   Lou Morgan

Lou A Morgan
Rag Rug Weaver
Western Michigan