Constructing a Warp-Weighted Loom

The warp weighted loom is a vertical loom with an upper beam, the warp held taunt by weights (hence the name) and the weft beaten up toward the beam. It was used by most early European cultures and even survived into modern times in northern Europe.

(A) Beam(B) Upright(C) Crotch
(D) Heddle Rod(E) Shed Rod(F) Heddle Rod Support
(G) Loom Weights

This article is concerned with construction only. Next issue will contain an article on warping the loom. If you get really ambitious and can't wait, get a copy of Marta Hoffman’s book (see Sources) and have at it.

The instructions are for a single heddle loom for tabby weave (over, under, over, under). For multiple heddles to weave twills, you will need more long dowels for shed rods and more short dowels to hold them in place on the uprights. Again, see Hoffman's book.

This loom is for experimental purposes so the beam allows for a 36" wide weaving area. Extant looms run more on the order of 60-90" width fabric. The weaving width determines the length of the beam and how much of the 8' 4x4 you will use. For illustration purposes we are using the dimensions for my loom. If you want to do wider weaving, adjust accordingly.


The beam is the most complicated piece. I am giving two possible construction techniques: the first by carving the beam, the traditional method, and the second by joining beam sections with dowels.