I own both the Louet Jane 40 8-shaft and the Ashford 16-shaft table looms and I thought I'd share my unbiased comparison of both! I have not been paid or compensated for this review - it's just my honest opinion!
Louet Jane 40 Pros
Small foot print about 21" wide, 30" long and 26" high
Portable @ 23 lbs
Elegant look and feel
Levers give a satisfying “thwunk” when released
Large weaving area before you need to advance the warp
Gears/brakes are metal
Beater bar swings out of the way for dressing
Beater bar clicks back towards castle to create wider shed and more weaving space before warp advancement
Straight forward assembly
Apron rods/sticks are tied on to warp and cloth beam with Texsolv cord (included)
Warp sticks are included
Built in raddle.
Louet Jane 40 Cons
Limited to 8 shafts
Sides of shafts are plastic (seems cheap - longevity?)
Elastic shaft cords (longevity?)
Levers take some effort to switch
Levers are not wide
Reed is secured by velcro on beater bar (longevity?)
Heddles take some effort to slide on shafts
Only comes with enough heddles for 25 per shaft
Resting shuttles slide off warp and launch over breast bream due to angle of open shed during beating
Ashford 16-Shaft Pros
Levers are very easy to switch
Levers are wide and easy to grab
Shaft bars are metal and shaft sides are wood
Pins hold beater bar towards breast beam during dressing
Reed is secured by bolts on beater bar
Heddles slide easily on shafts
Two shuttle sticks are included
Includes enough heddles for 80 per shaft
Resting shuttles do not slide off of warp on open shed during beating
Ashford 16-Shaft Cons
Not portable at 40 lbs
Large footprint at 28” wide, 36” deep and 22" tall
Need to advance the warp more often
Tricky procedure to advance the warp
Gears/brakes are not metal - (longevity?)
Tricky to set up heights of shafts during assembly
Leavers loudly smack on to the wood when released (need rubber/felt stoppers)
Included string to tie on the apron rods to both warp and cloth beams are wimpy
Need to purchase a raddle
Louet Final Thoughts.....
I love this loom. I love the elegant look and feel to it. I love the satisfying noise the levers make when released. I appreciate the large shed, having to advance the warp less often and the slightly tighter tension. It truly is portable for me. I wish Louet made a 16 shaft version! The only downside is I worry about the longevity of some of the parts - the plastic sides of the shafts, the elastic cords and the velcro on the beater bar.
Ashford Final Thoughts.....
I also love this loom. I think you get more value for your money with it. I love having 16 shafts to use which has increased my learning potential exponentially. I appreciate the loom’s robust and strong look/feel and the ease of switching levers. The biggest downside for me is how big and heavy this table loom is and the slightly lesser tension. I am disappointed that it is not more portable.
The bottom line - I would be more than happy with either one of these looms! If portability is important I would choose the Louet, if 16 shafts is important go for the Ashford.
Do you own either of these looms? Would love to hear your experiences or questions in the comments!