Tuesday, May 08, 2012

My New (Old) Purchase ~ Rockwell 46-525

Purchased this Rockwell 46-525 lathe off Craig's List. Drove to Wilmington, Delaware to pick it up. Ad said the motor didn't run. The price was right. It had the tail stock, tool rests/banjo and other accessories so I thought I would take a chance. My thought... have the motor checked out and in the worst case I would need to purchase a new motor. Pictures from CL Ad. 

Lathes like this are tanks. They were used in high school shop classes but as the industrial arts programs were dropped from the curriculum they were sold/auctioned off. As it turns out this one was owned by a high school shop teacher. He gave/sold it to the person I purchased it from. The lathe sat in his garage for a number of years.

There are several good web sites out there for those wanting to research old machinery.


You can still get parts.

Here are some images of old Rockwell lathes.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Hamily Heir-Loom Weavers

On Wednesday I went on a road trip with the Central Pennsylvania Handweavers Guild (CPHG) to Red Lion, PA and the textile mill Family Heir-Loom Weavers. It was a great fall day for a drive in the country. The mill is located in what was once an old dairy building. I found the tour by David Kline fascinating.

Family Heir-Loom Weavers operate over 40 power looms with Jacquard attachments. The Jacquard is an accessory to the hand and power loom. It was intended to supersede the draw loom. It is used to control and independently operate a single or large number of warp threads. With the ability to manipulate an individual thread allowed for the creation of fancy coverlets. Instead of coverlets with geometric shapes you could have animals, buildings, etc.

The Jacquard coverlet on the rack dated 1838 is what got David Kline started in the business. Family Heir-Looms sells a reproduction of this coverlet (seen on the left side of the rack).Here David is holding a sample carpet they reproduced for the U.S. Park Service from an original for Lincoln's home in Springfield. You can see the carpet here (top photo). The Klines have done 3 rooms in Lincoln's home and have since done work in 8 other Presidential homes including Mount Vernon.
When recreating any pattern David said the first step in the Jacquard process is to create the point paper (a carefully graphed and hand-painted design). The point paper is an accurate map of the finished project. Punched cards are created from the point paper. The punched cards are a mechanized way of lifting warp threads to make a figured design. In the early 1800's Joseph-Marie Jacquard perfected an ingenious system of cards punched with holes which, when attached to a draw loom, would allow some needles to pass through and block others. Family Heir-Looms also weaves jean cloth (gray material used to create the jacket in the picture) used in period movies and by reenactors. The tiled walls are still in place from when the building served as a dairy.
Next we got to tour the weaving rooms. Here are a series of pictures since I couldn't take a picture that captured the entire loom in one frame. Click any picture to enlarge, click twice to enlarge even more.

Back of the loom. Family Heir-Looms often puts 600 yard warps on.
Jacquard looms don't have harnesses instead the warp threads travel through "eyelets". The eyelets attached to harness cords that pass through a perforated board then head up toward the ceiling.The Jacquard apparatus determines, based on the number and arrangement of the holes in the cards, which of the individual warp threads will be lifted. For every throw of the shuttle the blank part of the card moves a series of pins or levers which raise certain warp threads while other levers, passing into the holes in the card, do nothing, so it has no affect on the other warp threads. Every pattern requires a separate set of cards.Endless chain of pattern cards.
Front of the loom with the finished cloth rolled onto the cloth beam.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


On Saturday I visited The National Museum of the American Coverlet located in Bedford, PA. The current exhibit is called Stay at Home and Use Me Well -- Flax and Fleece: Fiber to Fabric. On this day the museum was hosting the Colonial Coverlet Guild of America (a Chicago-based organization) which included a presentation by Ron Walter, a special exhibition tour let by Ron and show & tell. This was an all day event.

Stay at Home and Use Me Well showcases items from the collection of Kitty Bell and Ron Walter. The name of the exhibit was inspired by a flax hetchel or hatchel owned by Kitty & Ron that was made near Burrillville, Rhode Island dated May 18, 1797 and inscribed with the names of Mathewson and Lyda Mathewson with Stay at Home and Use Me Well.The exhibit was extremely informative. One exhibition room was dedicated to the entire process of linen and cloth production from plant or animal to the finished yarn. Ron's collection included a variety of spinning wheels and winders. There were wool wheels, flax wheels, production wheels, a pendulum wheel, and several long-bed spindle wheels where the spindle travels on a three-wheeled trolley. Ron also had a large collection of spinning wheel heads.The coverlets in the collection are of two types which they call geometric and figured and fancy. The geometric have pattern motifs based on circles and squares, woven by both men and women, mostly for use at home. The figured and fancy coverlets have ornate motifs of florals, animals, buildings, etc. and were made by men who were professional weavers mostly woven with the help of a Jacquard mechanism.

This Early American loom owned by the museum came with a Jacquard head they hope to install soon. Sitting on the bench are punched cards read by the Jacquard machine containing the pattern draft. This mechanism can raise or lower a single thread. It will be exciting to see it in operation.I purchased Ron Walter's book, of the same title as the exhibit, in the museums gift shop and it is worth every penny.

This turned out to be a very special day, one I shall remember. We had beautiful weather for the ride there and back and I traveled with friends who I very much enjoyed their company. We felt very welcome and met some wonderful people.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Project On My "New To Me" Glimakra

In a previous post I wrote about my Adventures in Overshot. In that post I mentioned Helene Bress whose coverlet books were so helpful to me. Helene will be our guest speaker at tomorrow's guild meeting. I am so looking forward to it.

The project was still on my Loomcraft and I decided to cut the warp off the loom and move it over to the "new to me" Glimakra. Boy was that an exercise. I recreated the cross on the Loomcraft then created a warp chain. I attached the trapeze to the Glimakra and weighted the warp.
The rattle was attached to the back beam.The cross was pulled forward and tied it to the loom frame.The harnesses were hung and the heddles threaded.The reed was sleyed. The warp was attached to the front beam. The countermarch unit is installed, the cords are in place and the treadles are all tied up.

I used the method described in a white paper by Madelyn Van Der Hoogt called Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Tying Up Your Countermarch Loom.
The method I used is definitely not in the Swedish method. Next time I plan to dress the loom the Swedish way.

Here she is all finished. The pattern is best known by the name of "Pine Bloom" (an old Appalachian draft). The warp is 10/2 unmercerized cotton, the weft is 20/2 unmercerized cotton and the pattern weft is 5/2 mercerized cotton. I have enough warp to weave another one.

The Glimakra is an absolute dream to weave on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Antiques Roadshow

Antiques Roadshow came to D.C. and the Washington Convention Center on August 21, 2010. The D.C. show received nearly 23,000 ticket applications (more than any other locations on the Summer 2010 tour). They estimated 6,000 attended the show with approx. 70 appraisers. There will be three Washington, D.C. episodes that will air sometime between January and May of 2011. I got an all day ticket from a friend whose friend is one of the appraisers.

One of the items I brought was a Jacquard coverlet I purchased at auction on Nantucket for $200. It was made by J. Cunningham in 1844. It is woven with white cotton and red wool. On the interior are four large floral medallions. The borders have the New York State seal with "Under This We Prosper" above and George Washington on horseback in the corners. It also has the slogan "United We Stand Divided We Fall" and J. Cunningham Weaver N. Hartford Oneida Co. N. York 1844. (Click picture to enlarge.)

I brought along the book "American Coverlets and Their Weavers" where James Cunningham is listed with his bio and a picture of this coverlet done in blue and white. The coverlet was appraised by Beth Szescila who specializes in rugs & textiles and decorative arts. Beth said it was one of the nicest she has seen and because of the condition she appraised it, at auction, between $3,000 - $4,000.

I really had fun at the Antiques Roadshow. It was great to see all that goes on behind the scenes and to see many of the appraisers you see on TV. To see what goes on at Antiques Roadshow watch this video.

If you want to see one of these old looms in operation check out this fascinating YouTube video.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Glimakra Update

After my last post I got busy cleaning my "new to me" Glimakra. When they say the Glimakra is just a bunch of sticks this is what they mean. It's amazing how the loom can be broken down into a bunch of sticks. I cleaned every wood surface. Joanne Hall recommends cleaning the parts with vinegar and water. I did this until I ran out of vinegar then switched to Dawn dish washing soap and water. I then wiped the wood surface with 100% Tung Oil from LeeValley.To learn more about the construction and care of Glimakra looms visit this page on Joanne's site.

I didn't really need any parts per se . I did purchase a 10-shaft countermarch from Becky Ashenden. I also purchased two books from her, Damask and Opphamta with Weaving Sword or Drawloom and The Old Linen Closet: From plain weave to damask. The loom came with 9 heddles (18 sticks) so I ordered another 2 sticks to give me 10 shafts. It also came with 11 treadles. I thought 9 heddles was a little odd but 11 treadles was very odd.

I set her up all by myself in the spare bedroom but already moved her to the living room. This time with the help of my DH.I'm in the process of outfitting her with Texsolv tie up cord. After washing and organizing the Texsolv heddles I ended up with ~ 850. I ordered 200 more from Earth Guild because that is what I will need for my next project. This loom is typically sold with 11" heddles but mine were 12 1/2". I guess the shorter length will give you a larger shed. Any shed on this Glimakra will be bigger than what I had on any of my jack looms. I cut this warp off my 45" Loomcraft. It started out as 6 yards. I'm using a trapeze. I need to decide if I will set the loom up as counterbalance or countermarch. My project is a 45" square Overshot. I should still have enough warp for 2 squares.