A jig for making a reed?

I own a counterbalance  loom made in Australia by J.H.Wilson.

The loom came with an old 8 dent reed [4 inches high]; the teeth were a little bowed.

JH Wilson Loom Sydney Australia

I have disassembled the old reed and have bought new half dowels and some tarred cord to make a "new"
shorter length 8 dent reed using the best of the old teeth.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to support the wooden ribs whilst coiling the tarred cord between the dents?

I have got a few ideas - but would be grateful for any practical hints that might make the job easier!

[I bought 2 new reeds in size 10 and 12 dent but these new reeds are 5" inches high
and although I have used them - somehow I do not feel that they suit the old loom.Undecided]


Posted on Sat, 01/16/2016 - 15:39

As someone who imports custom reeds and has viewed the process, you need a reedmakers' bench and proper tools - or you could just bite the bullet and get a new reed.

Posted on Sat, 01/16/2016 - 22:53

Hi Sara
Thanks for your reply; I could buy a new reed but I have only been able to find reeds that are 5" high.
The old 4" reed that came with the loom seemed to be a more appropriate height.
I have not been able to find a custom reed maker in Australia - perhaps somebody knows of one?

Posted on Sun, 01/17/2016 - 00:02

Being 5" is better than being under 4" unless something is restricting the reed bar from going that high. Really, those new reeds you bought are just fine. Use them and never worry. :)

Posted on Sun, 01/17/2016 - 00:09


... having followed your work for some time - I really appreciate your comment.

Perhaps I have been a bit too "picky" re the 5" height!Laughing


Posted on Sun, 01/17/2016 - 01:17

How big is your shed?  If the 4" reed limits your shed (I have a couple of looms that would happen) you need a taller reed.  Why do you think that a 4' reed is "appropriate" for your loom?  Many manufacturers use whatever is easiest and cheapest.  If you have a historic piece and want to maintain the original equipment, I could see this, but most looms are working tools, and whatever works best is usually best.

Posted on Sun, 01/17/2016 - 01:22

If you really want a 4" reed, Gowdey Reed in the US will make reeds of any height, but you will have to pay shipping to Australia.

Posted on Sun, 01/17/2016 - 02:39

Thanks for both comments.
The loom was probably made around the middle of last century.
The beater was evidently designed for a 4" reed;
I can "jam in" the larger size by using narrower screws/bolts to go through the hole in the vertical section of the beater.

Ordering from overseas is possible - but something not to be rushed - with the current exchange rate!


Posted on Sun, 01/17/2016 - 04:21

Hi Wendy,

have you searched for a second hand reed here in Aus? J H Wilson reeds were very common and I believe they made the reeds but not the looms. Your local state guild would be the best place to start, or you could place an ad with Weaver's Forum ( www.weaversforum.com ) who publish a quarterly newsletter which assists weavers to communicate in Australia. 

Posted on Sun, 01/17/2016 - 06:03

You might be interested in these excerpts from an article by Janet Selby:

My grandfather, J.H.Wilson ...  began making spinning wheels and looms in the 1930’s.
He kept his business running until his death in 1968, and it continued for a
 few more years after that.... He specialised in weaving equipment - looms, spindles, spinning wheels.


I think the loom is rather sweet and I did try to find out a bit more about the maker, but Janet's article was the best info I could find when I purchased the loom a few years ago.

The full article is on Janet's website


I have sent an email to Helen at the Weavers Forum.

Posted on Sun, 01/17/2016 - 06:37

Thanks for that link, Wendy,

I was always curious about J H Wilson. I had an old Swedish style counterbalance loom with two J H Wilson reeds, but over time I began to doubt that Wilson made the loom. It looked nothing like your loom. The loom has moved on, but I kept the reeds as they are so good still.