Two Homemade Counters for Sectional Beaming
Some might call a counter “optional equipment,” because it is possible to weigh your spools and then count as you turn the beam crank. But anyone who has wound a revolution too short in a section or has had some spools run out too soon, understands why counters are essential. Counters can be expensive. Here are two counters you can make.
Screw and washer counter
This homemade counter (Figure A) uses a piece of metal threaded rod (20 threads per inch) and a very thin washer (you can use an “external retaining ring” available at hardware stores). If your beam is hollow, insert a piece of wood doweling into the axle of the beam. Otherwise, you can drill a hole into the end of the axle. Insert into the end of the dowel or axle something for attaching the counter. (I use a hanger bolt — a special screw with wood threads on one end and metal threads on the other end). Mount the rod in the end of the warp beam beginning with the dowel and hanger bolt. (Buy the hanger bolt to fit the coupler shown in Figure B.) Put a nut and a “hexagon coupler” (also called a 1/4-20 coupling nut) onto the hanger bolt like in Figure B.
To connect the threaded rod to the hanger bolt, screw the rod into the hexagon coupler like in Figure A. Count the number of grooves on the rod equal to the number of warp beam revolutions you want. Hang the washer there like in the illustration. As you turn the beam, the rod revolves and the washer moves along it. If you place a metal can under the end of the rod, you hear the clang when the washer drops off — and you know you’ve wound on enough. Two nuts can be set on the rod so you know where to place the washer each time. They tighten against each other so they stay in position. An external retaining ring works well instead of a washer because it is thin, and you can hang some weight on it to keep it sitting in the grooves.
Before mounting the threaded rod, experiment first to be sure you’re mounting it on the correct end of the beam so the washer moves toward the rod’s tip.
Tips for Mounting Counters
If your loom’s axle doesn’t have a hole on the side,try to wedge the wood dowel in very tight. Ask at a hardware store or lumberyard for help. Otherwise, drill one 3/8″ hole in the side of the axle, mark the hole on the dowel, and drill a matching hole partway into the dowel. See Figure C. Into the dowel’s hole put in a 1/4-20 threaded insert, available at hardware stores. Put a 1/4″ machine screw through the axle and dowel holes and tighten it to hold the dowel tight in the axle.
Another way to attach a threaded rod, is to put a threaded insert like above into the end of wood doweling or a solid axle and screw the threaded rod into the insert.
Find the right size doweling at a lumberyard if your hardware store doesn’t have a wide variety of sizes. Buy it a little larger if you can’t get an exact fit, and sand one end of it down so it will fit in snugly. To sand it and keep it round, grip the sand paper around the dowel and turn it round and round in the same direction. You want to end up with a tapered shape with one end small enough to fit snugly into the axle. Be sure it goes in far enough to be stable.
A piece of string with a knot in it can be used to tell when you’ve cranked enough revolutions. Measure a length of string as long as one thread of your warp, plus enough extra length to tie around your warp beam’s axle. Tie this on the beam axle and make a simple flange from a piece of plastic, like a coffee can lid. (You may need to use a piece of wood doweling like in Figure C to give something to nail the flange into).
Tie a knot in the string at the point where the warp should end. See Figure D. Then, as you wind on each section, you know you’ve wound on the right length when the knot reaches the beam. To be absolutely sure you notice when the knot reaches the beam, put a little bell in the knot.