Comparing the selection methods of shafts  manual - treadles - dobby

  • The similarity between all the loom types is warping, weaving and beating. The difference is in the method by which the shaft combinations are selected.
  • At hand-operated looms the shaft selection is done by shaft levers.
  • At floor looms you can connect shaft combinations to treadles. Limited number of programmed combinations depend on the number of treadles (6-14 treadles).
  • A dobby is a programmable shafts selector. The shaft selection is passed through pegs. These push the dobby hooks forward and with a pedal movement the shafts are lifted. With the dobby you can capture many more different shaft combinations. These are handled in sequence, and this can be done with a mechanical or electronic system. Weaving with a dobby is much more comfortable because kneeling to tie the treadles is no longer necessary.


Comparing dobby to hand-operated loom (Louët Jane, Louët Erica)

  • On dobby looms the shaft selection is preprogrammed at the program bars or on the computer; this requires fewer actions and less concentration than weaving on a hand-operated loom.
  • Weaving on a hand-operated loom is slower and requires more concentration and attention because each shaft selection is done manually.
  • On dobby looms the order of the shaft selection is fixed by a programmed liftplan. On a hand-operated loom you are completely free in the sequence of picks.
  • Hand-operated looms are cheaper than dobby looms.
  • Hand-operated looms are especially suitable for small projects, weaving samples and weaving study.

Comparing dobby to floor loom (Louët David, Louët Spring, Louët Delta)

  • On floor looms the shaft combinations are preprogrammed on treadles. There are several treadle loom systems: countermarch (Louët Delta and Louët Spring) and jack loom (Louët David).

  • The number of shaft combinations at floor looms is limited to the number of treadles. This limitation is especially noticeable if you use more than eight shafts. At the dobby looms the number of combinations depend on the number of program bars (at the mechanical dobby) or is unlimited (at the electronic dobby).

  • Especially when tying up the treadles of the countermarch loom, kneeling is a physical load for back, knees and pelvis. On a dobby loom all the programming can be done sitting on a chair.

  • At the dobby the order of the shaft combinations is fixed (skipping bars or changing direction is possible), at a treadle loom you can use the treadles in any order.

  • The dobby weaving pedal can be pushed in the middle of the loom, on floor looms you often have to stretch your legs to reach the treadles.

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