Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

Off To The Races!

The Leclerc Dorothy loom taught me how wonderful it is to have a shuttle race.  The other looms I have worked with do not have one.  A shuttle race really helps weaving get up to speed, by creating a path and support for the shuttle to fly through.  The support is necessary if your shuttle would otherwise fall through the threads, if threads are sett too far apart, if the threads are too fine to support your shuttle, or if your shuttle is too heavy.  If you’re only passing a shuttle (or a stick shuttle) from one side of the shed to the other, you don’t need a shuttle race.  But, if you want to throw or shoot the shuttle through the sheds, a race is essential to help the shuttle pass through consistently.

The lack of a shuttle race on my Bergman loom was bothersome.  I kept playing mind games with my shuttles, thinking “If I throw it just so, with my wrist thus, the shuttle will clear the shed…”; but I kept picking up or dropping extra threads from my shed, evidenced as warp floats:


Half an hour later, enough was enough.  A race was needed.  No problem; it’s easy to put one on.

It was late at night (stores were closed) when I decided to attach a shuttle race, so I put together a temporary one using a padded lease stick and two spring clamps.



Your warp threads should just skim the top of the race:


For a permanent race, I found some curved moulding from the hardware store.  I found it next to the flat screen moulding that I cut into sticks for packing the warp beam.  It’s not easy to see from my picture, but the cross section is a quarter oval, not a quarter circle.  Amazingly, it was cheaper than the plain flat moulding!


I added some self-stick felt bumpers to bottom of the curve.


It fits into the curve of my beater better than the flat lease stick did.


This moulding is very lightweight, and is slightly flexible, but it’s enough to support a shuttle.  The moulding and two small clamps did not change the weight or feel of the beater assembly appreciably. 


Don’t weave home without it!  🙂



4 March 2009 - Posted by | Weaving | , , , ,


  1. Very ingenious!! Might have to try that myself!!

    Thanks for sharing!


    Comment by Life Looms Large | 4 March 2009 | Reply

  2. I thought I was up to date with your posts but I have just found this one. You are amazing. I haven’t felt a need for a shuttle race but then I have never used one. I am intrigued at the way you set off for local shops and come back with things which enhance your loom!!!!A creative engineer as well as a spinning weaver.

    Comment by deborahbee | 10 March 2009 | Reply

  3. Sue, Thanks for stopping by!

    Deborah, the race is easy to set up, and as temporary as you like — what’s to lose by trying it out? I highly recommend it!

    Comment by SpinningLizzy | 10 March 2009 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the great idea. The current project on my bergman is narrow so I am using stick shuttles but will keep this in mind when I try a wider project and want to use some boat shuttles.

    Comment by Troyce Brooks | 15 March 2009 | Reply

  5. You’re a wonder.

    Changing shuttles can help too. I have some shuttles that just won’t behave on some warps. Their noses don’t have of an uptilt.

    Comment by trapunto | 23 March 2009 | Reply

  6. I am so thrilled with all the info you’ve provided. I’ve just gotten a Bergman and I need heddles for it. Do I make them or buy them? Any info on that?

    Comment by Ellen | 15 March 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Ellen, Thanks for stopping by! I’ve been using the original heddles that were tied for the Bergman, but there are many with slight variations in heddle-eye size and length. I know that both Trapunto and Deborahbee (see my links to other Bergman users) have purchased texsolv heddles. Deborahbee’s loom width is smaller than mine, and it turns out that the heddles that worked for her are shorter than the ones that were tied for my Bergman. Good luck with the heddles!

      Comment by SpinningLizzy | 15 March 2010 | Reply

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