As I mentioned before, I have been lusting after a new loom. Something that looks and is or is nearly new and I was expecting to pay a pretty penny. The Berga came up for sale at a very, very reasonable price. The loom is probably from the late 1970’s and the finish was aged and crackled. As mentioned in my previous post, I spent time sanding, cleaning and re-assembling.
The weave width is 140 cm, very close to the width of my Oxaback. It has hooks for the shaft bars, lams and looks like hooks were added to the treadles. The nuts have a tendency to come loose so once finished with this warp I will use some loctite thread glue to prevent this.
The breast beam is lower than that of the Oxaback and Glimakra but still high enough to be comfortable. The beater has enough weight for rugs and falls back away from the fell nicely. As with the Varpa and Toika looms, the holes in the lamms are a little stingy, requiring some poking through of the texsolv. With the Glimakra the holes are big enough to drop the texsolv through. I have experienced this on newer Toika’s and just try to be a little more patient.
In an effort to circumvent this issue, I ran one long cord through every hole, passing the cord through both the upper and lower lamms. Depending on whether the shaft needs to be raised and lowered, I place an arrow peg accordingly. This way the lamms are always threaded. It looks a little untidy, and occasionally the cords get a little stuck but you can feel it as you treadle, re-depressing the treadle resolves this.
The treadle rod was very thick and too short, it also lacked the holes in the end to use the hitch pins. This meant the treadles would come loose. The problem was solved with a thinner and longer treadle rod ordered from Vavstuga. Some owners have complained that the treadles are difficult as they are so close together, this is the nature of treadles on a Swedish style loom and requires moving the heel or toe gently from treadle to treadle. Wearing thicker socks prevents discomfort of the feet and ankles.
I had parts for two additional shafts which allowed me to put a selvedge of plain weave instead of using a floating selvedge. The current project is approximately 52 inches wide, it is a little bit of a reach but not uncomfortable to weave. Using heavier end feed shuttles helps.
So all in all, I really like weaving on this loom! It is nicely proportioned, heavy enough for all types of weaving and I like the “rustic” look of the older wood. Not that looks matter, after all a loom is a tool, but sometimes it is nice to have something special. Two very new Toika looms came for sale, with the worm gear, 8 shafts and in close proximity to me. Very tempting, but not sure good looks and a worm gear are enough to sway me at this point.