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How to Replace Loom Heddles

Updated June 13, 2017

On any type of weaving loom, a weaver runs each strand of warp yarn through a heddle during the warping process. Heddles may need changing for a variety of reasons. Wire heddles, found on looms with multiple harnesses, may become rusty or bent. Rigid heddle reeds might need switching to change the spacing of the warp yarn. The technique for changing heddles varies depending on the type of loom and the type of heddle.

Remove the old or damaged wire heddles on a four- or eight-harness tabletop or floor loom. Lift each individual harness or heddle frame out of the loom, remove the metal strips or shaft sticks that hold the heddles in place (one on top and one on bottom of each harness or frame), and slide the heddles off the strips. Discard any rusted, bent or damaged heddles.

Install the new heddles. If you are replacing all the heddles at once, simply align the slots at the top and bottom of the bundle and slide onto the shaft sticks or metal strips. If you are replacing only a few heddles, select the appropriate number of new heddles and position them where needed.

Reposition each harness or heddle frame back onto the loom. Tighten any hardware with which your loom may be equipped.

Remove the heddle reed from the loom. On a rigid heddle loom, the heddles consist of slots and holes in a self-contained reed. Removing the heedle reed usually involves merely lifting the reed out of the slots on either side of the loom frame.

Select the new reed. Typical rigid heddle reeds have "dent" spacing of 6, 8, 10 or 12 slots per inch. Depending on your next weaving project, you may want a reed that has heddle spacing closer or wider than the previous reed.

Place the new reed onto your rigid heddle loom. You are now ready to warp the loom for your next project.

Tip

When replacing wire heddles, practice frugality by examining the old heddles to see if some are still in good, usable condition.

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About the Author

Teressa Rose Ezell has been writing professionally since 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and English from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a Master of Fine Arts in writing candidate at Lindenwood University. Current projects include a short-story series and a collection of creative nonfiction essays.