Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Progress and Loom Ergonomics

I got the Compu-Dobby talking to my netbook so now I can take the desktop computer, monitor and keyboard to electronic recycling. It is a little sad but I don't need another computer. The 60" loom has a lot more weight to lift with the harnesses, at least compared to my 40" loom. I remember going to see Jim Ahrens, to see some of the looms he designed.  One of his dobby looms had a rocker or cam close to the two treadles that every dobby has.  The treadles alternated between lifting the harnesses and advancing the dobby chain. Each leg got an equal workout. The purpose of the rocker was to make each treadle equal. It was also faster to weave on. On the AVL loom the left leg does the advancement of the dobby chain and the right does the lifting. On a Compu-Dobby-assisted loom the left leg still has to depress the treadle but it is the right leg the that lifts and swishes the dobby arm across the electric eye, advancing the pattern. After a few hours of the AVL design, especially with a fully loaded loom, your right leg can get really sore. I know because on my smaller loom I got sciatica from weaving 6 hours a day. Now I pay attention and do two important things: I beam my loom properly and I get off the bench every 45 minutes to walk around and to stretch. Bench height, the angle of the bench , and the angle of the foot to the treadles make a big difference. Unfortunately they may not be adjustable. This is why more than one weaver has abandoned the bench and gotten the right sized office chair.

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