Table looms (mine is a 60cm 8 Shaft Ashford) do not generally come with a “shuttle race” – in a floor loom this is a little shelf beneath the reed that prevents a boat shuttle from diving to the floor.
In order to use a boat shuttle with a table loom or a rigid heddle loom you have to rely on the tension of the warp. Depending on the weight of your warp, this may work just fine or end up badly – the time spent rescuing the boat shuttle from the floor/table top and disentangling it from the warp defeats the purpose, not to mention the risk the risk of damaging the shuttles.
However hacking a race for a table loom is really pretty easy (and I suspect I can do something similar for my Rigid Heddle loom), and “non invasive”, in that it is a non permanent hack.
I borrowed this idea from a discussion in a weaving Facebook group, so I have no claim to originality here, but as I could not find this solution on online blogs, I thought I’d record it here. Alternative solutions using clamps are here and here.
For this you only need a lease stick compatible with your loom, and some elastic bands, cord or anything you can use to tie something up. In my case I use some Ashford helping hands, but e.g. strips of jersey fabric from an old t-shirt would probably work equally well.
As you can see in the picture at the top, the lease stick is sitting just below the warp. At each end of the lease stick I have passed the helping hand cord through the reed from above and below to make it snug. Here are a couple of close-ups from the front and back.
In this picture you see that the cord goes through the hole at the end of the lease stick. The cord end coming out from the top goes through the reed and around the top part of the beater from behind. The cord end coming out of the heddle hole from below goes also through the reed, but then comes back out from the next slots, and joins the other end in a bow knot at the top of the beater.
Here is a picture from the back of the reed:
You can see next how the “race” sits below the warp:
Even if the race moves a bit below the warp (which it will do while weaving), it will still work well, and being supported the shuttle will glide through without issues.
This seems to work well for my setup, and it does make weaving faster and more pleasurable, at least for me.
Some final observations:
- care must be taken if you are using a temple: if the teeth are long enough to come out on the other side of the cloth, when the temple is close to the fell line, its teeth will scrape the race when beating (ask me how I know…).
- I wound’t recommend usin a piece of wood wider than a lease stick; however this will limit the advancing of the cloth, as the race will be “one shuttle race width” apart from the front beam when beating.
- unless the lease stick are leaft in place when weaving, there is no need to buy a separate shuttle stick, as one of those used for holding the cross when warping can double as shuttle race once the warp has been beamed.