Before I bought the used loom, I verified that it wasn’t too rusty as far as the reed and heddles are concerned. Well, the reed was in passable condition, but once I started to clean the loom, I discovered the heddles really were not.
I tried the method of cleaning them off with naval jelly (which you can find in the section of your hardware store with the bondo) but they were so pitted and pocked at the eye that I didn’t feel right using them — I expected it to wear the warp thin. It wouldn’t have been so awful if only a few were bad… but this was almost all of them. I sucked it up and took a lunchtime trip to Weaving Works to pick up some heddles.
Before I went, I spent some time weighing the decision of flat steel heddles v. inserted eye heddles. I figured I may as well replace the flat steel heddles with shiny flat steel heddles. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Weaving Works only had 100 flat steel heddles. I wanted at least 300, more likely 400 heddles. There’s some sort of weird shortage (??!) on the flat steel heddles right now.
But they had a pack of 500 inserted eye in the 9.5″ size I needed – at a good price! – so I got them instead.
shiny new heddles
In the end, I’m pretty happy with what I have. I put 125 heddles on each shaft and these heddles were quite easy to thread. I’m a little bummed that I had to invest $80 in new heddles when I had checked for rust on the heddles when I bought the loom, but I’ll take it as a learning experience.
four shafts full