How to Make a Navajo Weaving Loom With Woodworking

Written by elizabeth sobiski
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How to Make a Navajo Weaving Loom With Woodworking
Navajo looms are vertical, rather then horizontal. (noeuds de tapis image by harmonie57 from Fotolia.com)

Navajo weavings are some of the most highly prized textiles in the Southwestern United States. Navajo women have long made rugs, horse blankets, chief's blankets, and woven dresses. The looms are of an upright or vertical design. This design allows for a mobility of the loom, an important feature among nomadic cultures. The looms were made of whatever material was at hand, from saplings and long branches to pieces of scavenged cut timber. Lumber yards and home improvement stores make it easy to find the pieces necessary to build a loom.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 2 pieces 1/2 inch wooden dowel, 24 inches long each
  • 2 pieces 1 inch by 4 inch board, 36 inches long each
  • 1 piece 1 inch by 4 inch board, 24 inches long
  • 1 piece 1 inch by 4 inch board, 23 inches long
  • 2 pieces 1 inch by 4 inch board, 18 inches long each
  • 4 'L' shaped angle brackets
  • 4 pieces 1-inch-wide pipe straps
  • Wood screws
  • Screw driver or drill with a screw head bit
  • Hand saw, circular saw or band saw

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Build the rectangular frame. Lay one piece of the 36-inch long boards on edge on a work surface. Take the 24 inch board and place it on edge at a 90 degree angle to the first board. Screw in at least two screws. Turn the two boards over and attach the other 36-inch piece in the same manner. Measure up 5 inches from the open end on both boards. This is where the last 23 inch piece is attached. Screw it into place.

  2. 2

    Attach the supports to the frame. Stand the frame up with the open end toward the bottom. Place an 18-inch board next to the bottom of the frame, making an upside down "T". Screw into place, and repeat on the other side. The loom can now stand on its own.

  3. 3

    Attach the four "L" shaped angle brackets at each corner with screws. This provides extra rigidity to the frame.

  4. 4

    Attach the pipe straps to the frame with screws. To place the straps, measure from the top down two inches on each side, and screw in place. For the bottom, measure up two inches from the bottom plate and screw the straps into place. Slide dowels through the pipe straps. The loom is now ready for use.

Tips and warnings

  • The wood can be finished with a stain, if desired.

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