Peggy’s Weaving Tips > Combining sectional and blain beaming

Warping Drum and Beam
Warping Drum and Beam

Combining sectional beaming and plain beaming is a technique Jim Ahrens has used for a long time and makes so much sense that he often mentions it to weavers. You can put tension on the warp your usual way or use a warping drum. I have described the process in detail in my book, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps, beginning on page 149.

Basically, you wind 1″ or 2″ sections of warp (according to the size of the sections on your sectional beam) on a warping reel (like in plain beaming), and then beam them on a section at a time on a sectional warp beam with a tension box used as a raddle. Using a warping drum in addition, makes it faster and guarantees that the warp goes on with the same tension in every section. This works well when winding fine threads because you don’t need a spool for each thread in the section. Ordinarily, that could require winding over 100 spools! It is good for very long warps where a plain beam would become too fat using packing material.

Just as in plain beaming, the size of the warping reel limits the length of the warp. On a reel it’s possible to make a much longer warp than usual because the spirals can be put closer together. This is because a 1″ or 2″ section of the warp has much less bulk than a whole warp section made for plain beaming.

Modifications in the Tension Box

In this situation, the tension box is used only for guiding the threads into the sections. A short raddle or coarse reed is used in place of the reed in the front of the box.

The Procedure

Step 1. Measure a 1″ or 2″ section on the warping reel, making leases at each end of each warp section-a raddle group lease and a thread-by-thread lease.

Step 2. Put the section of warp on a kitestick or warping drum with the threading lease-end going on first.

Step 3. Just as in plain beaming, you load a raddle or pre-sley a reed to spread out the warp. In this case, the raddle is a short section of a raddle or coarse reed, used in place of the front reed on the tension box.

Step 4. Just as in sectional beaming, attach the warp to the apron cord and beam on, making sure the warp exactly fits in between the pegs so the thread layers can beam on absolutely flat. You tension manually unless you use a warping drum. Be sure to wind the warp on tight as usual. The warping drum allows you to beam faster by yourself.

Step 5. When the threading lease approaches the raddle, lift the warp out of the raddle and continue winding the rest of the warp section. If there is a reed instead of a raddle, transfer the lease to the other side of the reed and complete the section.

Step 6. Tie a string in the lease and do not cut the warp ends until later when you’re ready to thread.

Using a Warping Drum to Tension the Sections

A warping drum is ideal for combining plain and sectional beaming because it guarantees equal tension on each warp section you wind.

Warping Drum
Warping Drum
Position the drum close to the sectional beam in line with the section to be wound like in Figure 1 above. Note that the drum is not anchored to a wall and, there will be almost no weight on the drum’s tension arm and almost no tension on the spring.Remove the drum’s regular weight (see Figure 2) and use a big C-clamp or two for the weight. You’ll need about 19 ounces.


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