Hi everyone - a question from a very new weaver. I am looking at tabletop warping mills due to shoulder/arm issues. Wow they are pricey! (I’m in the UK, and they seem even pricier here!).
The Ashford one seems the most affordable - does anyone know if it can be easily dismantled for stowing away when not in use? Are there major benefits to the pricier Harrisville, Louet, Leclerc, etc? I know the Harrisville has a brake system - is that very, very useful (as in an extra £100 useful)? Leclerc is an additional £200 over the Ashford… Louet is about the same as Harrisville. Are they worth the price difference? There also seems to be a shortage of them all round for purchasing, and I have only seen one huge floor one available pre-loved.
Any suggestions or recommendations greatly appreciated. Thank you!
I know that this post is a month old and you may have already bought a warping mill, but I just wanted to mention that the Leclerc table mill has a simple braking function that could be added to many wood mills. It's a locking pin that drops through a small hold drilled through one of the rotating arms and into a matching hole in the base, preventing the mill from rotating when you're chaining your warp.
Hi, Carley! If you ever have aspirations of weaving more than say 8 yard warps, get the largest warping mill you can afford. They're big and gobble up a lot of real estate in your weaving area, but when you have to wind a warp, there's NOTHING better than a good warping mill! They're so much easier, faster, and smoother to use than a warping board that you should ask around and see who might have one to let you try out. They're a definite game changer!
How's your hand doing these days? And, how's the new loom? I'm so envious! You must be on cloud 9, for sure!
Honestly, large warping mills are a nightmare to store, because they take up so much space, BUT when it comes time to wind a warp, they become the biggest slice of heaven you could imagine - especially, if you're winding a long warp. They do take a wee bit of getting used to, but after you get the hang of it, it becomes as indispensable as your loom itself. Trust me, they're not a waste of money at all.
I second everything Jon has said. The Leclerc table mill that I bought was very expensive but worth every cent. A LOT of money to buy in Australia. I LOVE it and it has made warping my favourite thing! Don’t worry about the space it takes up as you will love it so much. Sorry but have not heard good things about the Ashford which would have been less than half the price for me to buy here but I didn’t want anything I would regret as I had so many problems with warping on a board that I was about to give up! I think my Leclerc mill is the most important piece of equipment I own. Good luck with whatever you decide. PS Leclerc did not pay me to write this!!! 🤣. All my other equipment is Ashford!
I have an Ashford warping mill and it seems to work quite well. I haven't tried dismantling it, but I can see that if you remove the horizontal bars, it will fold up. Now that I've used it quite a lot, I can see that having a break system would be useful, so I'm thinking of replacing it because I have had a few collapses which is never a good thing!
I have never had a “collapse” with my Ashford vertical mill and use it constantly….. are you sure you are securing it well with the horizontal bars and the nuts and bolts? ? It is a very sturdy structure, if so. Once prepared, I am able to lift up up and down off the table, move it around, do anything with it and it remains sturdy and strong.
Also can you explain what you mean by brake system?
The mill works fine for me while I'm winding, but it would be useful to have a brake system to stop the mill turning as you chain off the warp rather than have to jam it up against your knee or hip. This is when I have had collapsing episodes and is just due to my not being able to find a reliable way to hold the warp taut while I'm chaining. In other words, operator error, not equipment failure!!!!!
Oh, I totally know what you mean. I watched some videos in the beginning that showed people using their knee or hip to brace the mill and chain as tightly as possible. That is so awkward and I got tired of doing that! I read more about it and watched some experienced weavers just not even worry about the tension as they chained, they just chained up the warp as tightly as they could without bracing with knee or hip or foot or whatever. So I have happily done it that way ever since and not had any problem at all! Give it a try!
I’ve had my Ashford for a few months now and am loving it. Just in the middle of my longest warp yet, 10m and its so much easier than a board. I’ve found it easy to dismantle and store. I agree with Sueann that its OK not to worry too much about tension when chaining. Though I do put something upright and heavy alongside the mill so that I can slide the mill against it to act as a brake if necessary, a pile of books or a dining chair alongside the table works well enough.
Thank you all for your comments and reviews! It has been really helpful. I went with the Ashford for now, and figure I can upgrade in future if needed. I oiled the wood, put it together… and it’s now been waiting patiently for weeks as I haven’t managed to get around to starting anything yet! Soon….
I have a large horizontal warping mill that I bought fairly inexpensively from someone in our local weaving guild. Things like this make going the weaving guild so worth it! At first, I was leery of it being horizontal, but after using it this month (for the first time), I found it extremely easy-- probably way easier than a vertical one. It does take space when opened and in use, but folds up nicely so I can push it back against the wall and then just pull it out when needed. It seems to have been handmade by someone, as it has no commercial markings on it at all, but perhaps my describing my experience with the horizontal mill might help you consider horizontal rather than vertical. The back and forth movement is much easier than up and down, methinks.