A Tale Of Two Looms
It’s official: the Kromski 24″ Harp loom is no longer mine, but has found another home. And, as promised, here is a pictorial comparison of the Kromski to Hedy, my 20″ Schacht rigid heddle loom. (Below: left, Schacht; right, Kromski.)
First of all, It’s an “apples-to-oranges” comparison, since the The Kromski is a newer, folding loom, while my Schacht is an older version that does not fold. For more of an “apples-to-apples” comparison to the Harp, Schacht makes the Flip loom that has many of the newer features.
A summary of the major features the Kromski has that my Schacht does not have: the Harp folds, is more portable, has holes drilled on its underside for pegs so it may serve as a warping board, and accomodates a second heddle after installing a second set of (optional) heddle blocks. Except for doubling as a warping board, I believe the Flip has all the other features the Harp has.
The Kromski folded:
The folding and locking mechanism:
The Kromski has many ornate details and turnings, whilst the Schacht line is more Shaker styled.
My Schacht 20″ heddle measures 20.75″ (notpictured below.) I happened to have a heddle for the 25″ Schacht (rigid heddle) loom; it measures exactly 25″ across. I measured only the plastic part of the heddles, since that would give the most accurate representation of actual weaving width. However, I found that the Kromski 24″ heddle has a measurement of only 23.25″ (All are 12-dent heddles.)
The heddle of this Kromski is one of their original ones, with more curved, sloping details on the wood top of the heddle. I understand the newer heddles do not have this shaping. (A cost-cutting measure, perhaps?)
The Kromski has a much shorter length between cloth (front) beam and heddle than the Schacht.
The Kromski’s length from heddle to back beam is only a little shorter than the comparable length on the Schacht. I talked to the folks at Schacht and my understanding is that the Flip is very close in measurement to their regular rigid heddle loom of the same size.
ETA: A friend on Ravelry just pointed out to me that the Schacht has a front and rear beam, on top of the vertical frame, that lifts the warp and produces a better shed. I completely agree with her that this is a major selling point.
I think the Kromski is made of fir or beech, while the Schacht is made of maple.
The stands made for the Kromski rigid heddle looms are unique to each size; this 24″ loom stand will not fit the two other Harp sizes (16″, 32″). The stand for my 20″ Schacht loom will also accomodate the 25″ size, as well both sizes (20″ & 25″) of the Schacht Flip looms. The Kromski stand is drilled with holes on the base on on the side to store the warping pegs it comes with. Kromski literature states that pegs installed on the sides of the stand can be used as a rest for shuttles or to hang extra tools.
The Harp may be quickly released from its floor stand by loosening (but not taking apart) four bolts and then lifting the loom off the stand. The Schacht requires you to loosen and completely remove four bolts (two of which require a screwdriver) before you can remove the loom from the stand (this is definitely bothersome). The stand for the Harp wins the quick-release contest hands-down, but this also means the Schacht stand is stronger. You can tell just by looking at the two stands that the Schacht stand is stronger and much more sturdy. Both stands will adjust for variable height and angle of loom, but because the Schacht has brace bar is slotted so it can slide (see the picture above), it can allow for many more positions between the extremes of level and almost 45-degree below that, whilst the Kromski only allows fine-tuning of the level position. To be sure, most rigid heddle weaving is done with the loom at a level position, so I don’t know if using the steeper angles are useful for anything besides possibly tapestry weaving.
Kromski stand and quick-release closeups:
Closeups of bolts that need to be taken out to release the Schacht loom:
Although the Harp weaving width is larger than the Schacht, and can accomodate two heddles for more complex designs; I am partial to my Schacht for her strong, clean lines and maple wood. Personally, the curlicues of the Harp distract and do not speak to me, which is why I opted not to keep it. Mostly an emotional preference I cannot explain, but there it is.