After some consultation with various weavers and with AVL, I’m going to try building up the back beam rather than try to put warp separators in each section. The reason is pretty simple: I don’t believe that the warp separators will solve the problem. Put over the knots, they’ll stick up unevenly and most likely tilt to one side or another (although Kathy did have the excellent idea of using curved slats from window blinds), and it will be hard to get the sections to match up exactly. At least, that’s what I think – I haven’t tried it so I don’t really know.
The problem can be seen pretty clearly in this photo:
The measuring tape is to give you a sense of scale, and the piece of wood resting on the groove shows how shallow the groove is. I’ve measured it and it’s only about 1/4″ deep at the deepest part! No wonder the knots are sticking up out of the groove! This is going to be a problem with virtually every warp I put on unless I fix it.
So, I plan to enlarge the warp beam somewhat by putting wood strips under the four pieces of the sectional beam (the wood parts with wire hoops sticking up from them). If I remove the wooden pieces (which is easy to do with a screwdriver), I should be able to put 1/2″ strips of wood underneath, and then attach the wooden pieces of the sectional beam on top of those strips. This will make the groove significantly deeper.
The only downsides to this plan are (a) it will put more torque on the screws attaching the sectional beam to the metal core of the beam (which may or may not be a problem; guess I’ll find out!), and (b) I don’t have a ready source for 1.25″ wide strips of 1/2″ thick wood. But this is a very solvable problem; I’ve asked AVL for a quote on custom-making it for me, and if that doesn’t work, I’m sure there are any number of handymen on Craigslist who would be happy to help. The Beatles were incorrect in saying “All you need is love” – in this case, all you need is a table saw. 🙂
So that’s the loom story. I have also ordered a few more heddles to bring my total number of heddles up to 2400 (100 per shaft) – that’s probably overkill, but I hate moving heddles around and I’ll need quite a few heddles for the doubleweave project. Also more of the U-shaped wire thingies to turn the sectional beam into 1″ rather than 2″ sections.
I have also written up the requirements definition for the first round of the weavers’ social networking site (not hard since I did an earlier version of it a few months ago) and have sent it to a developer friend who is more familiar with Drupal than I am, to see whether he thinks I can build this site in Drupal. I think the answer is “yes” but I’m hoping he can give me a quick walkthrough of how to set things up in Drupal. I need one; I’ve been playing around with it today but mostly succeeding in getting myself confused.
I also need to sit down and do the wireframes for the pages – gotta define stuff before you can create it!
Finally, I think I’ve decided to accept the job offer. It’s not perfect by any means, but it is an opportunity to try telecommuting, which I think is interesting enough to try. If it doesn’t work out, well, move on.
Now that that decision is past me, I can return to normal life. Or what passes for normal, anyway.