Making Laid Facings

For a detailed look at how this loom functions go this site: paper.lib.uiowa/epm*. Here you will find an extensive list of related internet links. Near the bottom of the list select “Z3”. It will take you to a video that I made of the process of making a laid facing on this loom. The quality of the video is not great but it was the best way I could think of to explain the workings of the loom.

*This is a companion website to the book “European Hand Papermaking” by Timothy D. Barrett. It is published by The Legacy Press (www.thelegacypress.com). The book includes an appendix on mould making that I contributed.

Photo by James Kleiner

In the foreground is my current loom which I made in 2011. In the back is the original loom which I used throughout the main part of my career making moulds; 1982-2012. The new loom incorporates many improvements though both work on the same principles.

Chain wire is measured out for setting up the loom.

Each length of chain wire is draped over the steel rod visible along the top of the photo. The wire’s ends pass through a slot in the wooden wire trough and down through a pair of holes in a plastic spindle. Then they pass through holes in a ‘wire slide’ and are secured by twisting the ends tightly together. A one pound weight is attached at the bottom to hold each wire taut. (Later each wire will become a ‘pair’ as the two halves are twisted. They resemble tiny chains as they twist around the laid wires, thus the name).

Setting up the loom involves adding a weighted wire for each of the spindles. The length of the wire and number and spacing of spindles varies depending on the size of mould being made.

The wooden ‘wire trough’ has been elevated while the loom is being strung up. In use the trough covers the spindles. The spindles are driven clockwise as the weights are reeled in by a crank. The weighted cords slip as they are unreeled so the spindles do not reverse direction.

Foam board spacers have been added to separate the wires below the twisting mechanism and a couple dozen laid wires have been added, partially completing this facing. Each time a laid wire is added a crank turns all of the weighted spindles simultaneously, twisting the chain wire pairs 1/2 turn. This action incorporates one laid wire into the facing. Next, a different crank is turned to lower the entire twisting mechanism (spindles, weights, wire trough etc.) a specific amount, the measure of one laid wire and one space. These steps are repeated over and over until the laid facing is complete. The video gives a clearer idea of how this works.

This facing is complete. A bundle of laid wires is shown which will be made into another facing.

This facing has been cut off the loom. It will become part of a mould being documented for this sequence of posts. Laid backing wire will be covered in a later post. More later!

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