Monday, January 29, 2007

Building my Triangle Loom

Several times I read Wayne's This and That instructions on building a triloom before I started my project. I chose to make the whole 7 foot loom. Not sure why, I just couldn't get that size out of my mind so I went for it.

I discovered a few things to make it easier along the way. Here's my instructions for building the loom. I'm just a beginner, so there may be better ways to do this.

Choose Your Wood
Make sure to choose the straightest boards you can find so your sides don't have any curve to them. I used pine even though it's a soft wood. Hard wood is recommended to extend the life of your loom. Cost me $30 for three 8 foot 1x2 boards. Wood is expensive in my town for some reason. I was impatient and didn't go look for a salvage yard or drive to the next county for cheaper wood. I may even have afforded a nice hardwood if I'd done that.

Cutting the Hypoteneuse
I measured 7 feet for the hypotenuse (longest side) and cut the ends on a 45 degree angle. I used a triangle template I had from when I studied Graphic Design to get the angle. A lot of quilting tools have a 45 degree angle you can use too, so you may have something lying around. If not, get a cheap plastic protractor like the ones kids use in school.

Making the "V"
I attatched the other two boards together with dry wall screws. Make sure you pre-drill your holes so your wood doesn't split. Push the narrow side of one board against the long side of the other and it should give you your 90 degree angle for the point. If you want to be able to take your loom apart for storage, use bolts and nuts everywhere I used drywall screws.

Attatching the Hypoteneuse
Then I took the hypotenuse board and put it between the other two, sliding it down and measuring each end to make sure it was the same from point to hypotenuse. Marked it at the top edge, cut them down to size, pre-drilled, then screwed those together with drywall screws.

Peg/Nail Spacing on the Hypoteneuse
Next is the toughest part. Decide how far apart you want your pegs. Most seem to have a half inch between them on the hypotenuse. I used 3/8 on mine (half inch just seemed to wide to me but now that I've woven a shawl I know that would work fine too). I've looked further into looms and 1/2 inch seems to be standard. 3/8 seems to be called fine? 1/4 inch on the hypotenuse will make the pegs on the short sides of the triangle super close together and I think it would be tough to get your yarn into the spaces easily. I figured with the 3/8 I could just skip a peg if I wanted a looser weave. Find the center of your hypotenuse and make a long mark there. This will be your center peg. Now measure your chosen distance for your pegs going out from the center to each side. Make sure you end up with the same number of marks on each side of your center peg. Make all your marks long to make the next step easier.

Draw a Guideline
Now look at where your end marks cross the seams between the boards for the hypotenuse and sides. Mark a guide line just below or above that point, going all the way across the hypotenuse. This will insure your corner nails don't fall in that seam. Where this guide line crosses each of your earlier marks is where you will put a peg. Measure the length between that seam and the bottom of that hypotenuse board. Use that measurement to make a similar guide line down each of the sides. Where they cross on each corner will be where you put the corner pegs for your loom.

Peg/Nail Spacing on the Sides
You don't need to measure for the shorter sides. (Hurray!) Use a T-square. Get yourself a good long one - it's worth it. Hook the T square over the top of your hypotenuse and line it up with each of your hypotenuse peg marks. Mark where it crosses your guide line on the shorter sides. My T-square was too short for the center of the triangle. I taped another ruler to it to overcome that. Tape it real good though. Mine came a little loose so my lines on the second side weren't in quite the right place and I didn't notice. I was a nail short on one side, which I discovered while weaving. I just stuck another nail between two others and kept going. It works just fine.

When you're done you'll see that from the top board, the left half got transferred onto the left side and the right half got transferred onto the right side and the center nail crosses where the two sides meet at the bottom. So you have now made half your marks onto each side.

To make the rest of the marks needed on each side you just make a mark between each of the marks on each of the sides. Just guess at the center by looking at it - no need to measure for an exact center. When you're done if you count the marks you'll see that you now have the same number on the top and each of the sides.

Drilling Holes
Pre drill your nail/peg holes. Drill one just below the line and the next just above it as you go across. This will stagger your pegs a bit and reduce the chances of splitting the wood off. Use whichever you want, nails or pegs, just drill a hole sized to fit what you chose to use. I used nails.

Don't Forget to Sand It
Sand everything down real good to keep the wood from catching your yarn.

Stain it if you want to. Or paint it. Or draw on it. Or use a woodburner do burn designs into it...

The Long Boring Part That Will Tire You Out
Put in all those nails or pegs. I made every 10th nail on the hypotenuse a bit larger (starting from the center) so that if I want to plan something out with fancy color changes I can see where I'm at without counting all the pegs. I've since read that you can get finishing nails for aluminum siding in many different colors and use that to tell your nails apart. I've also found many colors of paneling nails are available. If you use wooden pegs, you could stain/paint your pegs different shades. Or leave them all the same - I think that's how most of the professional ones come anyhow.

Storing and Using My Loom

I have a library/studio in my home. Used to be a living room no one used (tv is in the den). I just converted it - shelves all along the longest wall, large table in the middle to work at. The back wall was still very bare. I put two nails into that back wall and screwed a couple of hooks into the top of my hypotenuse, then hung it on the wall. I figured between weavings I'd hang pictures on those nails instead. A friend of mine came over when my shawl was half woven and she thought it was a really neat work of art. She had no idea what it was or that I had made it. I think it makes a good conversation piece and I plan to leave it on display at all times now.


Anonymous,  September 4, 2008 at 4:59 PM  

Thank you for posting these instructions! I want one of these looms, but the prices!! So, my 15 year old son "volunteered" to make me one and I think your instructions are the best by far! Love that pic btw. It does look like a work of art!

Unknown September 4, 2008 at 6:14 PM  

Thank you Postalmama, glad I could help :)

Kelley Elizabeth McDonald September 6, 2008 at 2:44 PM  

Do the nails have to be finishing nails? I bought some with round ends on them that I thought would help to keep the yarn from coming off, but then I wonder if that will make it hard to remove from the loom? I think the colored paneling nails and siding nails have the round ends, too.....

Unknown September 6, 2008 at 4:29 PM  

No, the nails do not have to be finishing nails. A nail with a head will keep the yarn from slipping off while you weave, but it will also be a bit more difficult to remove from the loom when you're done. It's really just a matter of personal prefrence.

Anonymous,  November 19, 2008 at 11:34 AM  

What a great tutorial. I hope to make one sometime in the next few months.

Anonymous,  November 7, 2010 at 6:42 AM  

Be Sure to use Stainless Steel Finishing nails as they will not rust. Regular ones will rust in very little humidity when the loom is not in use. Rust will stain your yarn and project

maginis,  November 12, 2010 at 10:35 AM  

Thanks for the great info on this subject. I am doing a loom for my
Granddaughter for Christmas. How tall are the installed nails??? maginis

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