Ashford 16 Shaft Table Loom Review
Read my comparison between the Ashford 16-shaft and Louet 40 here
Why I Bought It
I wanted to have the capability of experimenting and sampling with more shafts. I have a 12S Spring I, but I was becoming frustrated switching the tie-ups between samples. I purchased it from my friend Rebecca Lamperd of Santosha Fiberworks & Farm who has recently become an Ashford dealer in my area. The weaving width is 24” (I would have ordered a narrower one if it existed).
First Impression & Assembly
I was actually pretty shocked that the whole loom fit into that flat box it arrived in - this is Ikea style packaging at it’s finest. Everything was packed safely - but this box is HEAVY, I could not lift it by myself.
The instructions were very easy to follow. I did have some hesitation with the parts that required hammering - I was scared I would miss and hit something I wasn’t supposed to - but I managed OK. The most frustrating part of putting the entire loom together was adjusting the shaft cords so that they were all the proper height. It took me more than one try to get them correct. The wood is solid and beautiful. I was impressed that the shaft bars are metal and the shaft sides are wood. I did not use the string included for attaching the apron sticks to the cloth beam and warp beam. They did not seem strong enough at all - basically 2/8 or 4/8 cotton. I ended up substituting Texsolv cording.
This loom took me the better part of a day to assemble and adjust - maybe 6 hours total. Everything fit together as it should, but I found that my beater bar did not hang square - the left side does not rest against the castle as the right side does. Not sure where I went wrong, but something is not square somewhere??? (it did not affect my weaving at all! Woo!). This loom has a huge footprint. It is about 28” wide, 36” deep and 22” tall. It also folds down - but since it is 40 lbs I can’t move it by myself anyways so I can’t really appreciate the portability.
Winding on was fine. Threading was a bit challenging - honestly I felt like a T-Rex because my arms are not long enough - it was manageable after experimenting with my chair height and the angle/placement of lease sticks. I love how easy the heddles slide on the shafts - it was a nice surprise! The levers switch SO easily - hardly any effort is required. They are also very wide! When they are flicked back up, they do smack on the wood - I did install small rubber stoppers above each one to protect the wood and also dampen the sound they make. Advancing the warp is a little tricky to get the hang of - all four gears need to be “unclicked” and It takes a bit of getting used too. I do worry about the longevity of the gears/break system - they are either plastic or nylon. I don’t enjoy the effort of clicking in or out the gears - it takes two hands if they aren’t lined up correctly. The shed is decent - about 1 1/2” tall. The swinging beater works easily and smoothly. Yes the bottom of the shed gets floppy, I might eventually DIY a shuttle race in the future if I work on wider samples. I did not purchase the table. My loom sits on a sturdy Ikea work/dining room table. I use an adjustable height, weaving bench to sit on. I can easily slide the entire table out of the way when I need to.
This is a SOLID high quality piece of weaving equipment and I am really enjoying weaving on it. To be honestly, I like it a lot better than I though I would. The wood finish is beautiful. I love the extra wide levers and how easy the are to switch - they are very satisfying to use! I am getting more accustomed to advancing the warp, but I do wish there was an upgrade for the gears/break system. It’s also a little disappointing that it’s not as portable as I hoped. I’m looking forward to getting to know this loom as I weave more! It’s a very welcomed addition to my loom herd!
What are your experiences with the Ashford 16S Table Loom?