Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:24 PM
I finally got and read Stephen Myhre’s book, and I corresponded with some well-known carvers to get some input (thanks to Ian Thorne and Louie the Fish).
As Janel suspected, and Stephen notes in his book, this braiding technique is very much like Japanese Kumihimo. In particular, the four-strand braid I was looking for is the yotsu gumi (part of beautiful piece shown in the link). Essentially, it requires four bobbins and a counter-clockwise-then-clockwise pattern on the loom.
Looking at Stephen’s book, I fashioned my own loom, and doing some searches for homemade bobbins (tama), I constructed this whole setup (loom and tama) for under $15!
Here’s how to make your own kumihimo loom and weighted tama (which can be around $25 for a set of four) (mine are exactly 100 grams each):
I bought six wooden spools at Jo Ann’s for $6. Each already had a 3/8” hole drilled through. I also bought a 3/8” dowel and a 5” round wooded plaque there for the loom. It was $1.50 and already round!
At Lowes, I bought eight 3/8 x 1 bolts, one 3/8 x 3 ½” bolt, 14 washers (3/8”, though I was looking more for their overall diameter, not their inner diameter), and I bought a small brass hook for my counterweight.
To get each bobbin to 100 grams, it worked out (and I admit to bringing a scale to Lowes!), I put one washer on each end of the spool, set a 1” bolt in one end, then dropped one small 2 g. lead fishing weight down the center before putting another bolt at the other end of the spool. I used a bit of multi-purpose cement to glue the washers, lead weight and bolts in place (though I pretty much lightly screwed the bolts in place since the hole was the right size.
For the counterweight, which needs to be half the combined weight of the four bobbins (i.e. 200 grams), I used the one long bolt through one spool, put six washers over the exposed end of the bolt, screwed the other spool on (dropped in a couple lead fishing weights to bring the weight up), and then this is different: I pushed the wood dowel into the other end as far as it would go and cut it off flush so I would have something to set my brass hook into.
For the loom, I drilled a center hole and carved out four notches (Stephen’s isn’t like this) for my string to stay in place when hanging. I attached the wood round to a stick and attached the stick to a table (or bookshelf, as in my case) with a strong clamp. That way it’s portable!
It still takes some practice to get the braid right, but that will come. Already it’s a simpler process than braiding “by hand”, as the video in my original thread shows.
-Ian Thorne uses black 1mm or 1.2mm waxed polyester, or for a “flax” color (like mine) he uses Speedy Stitcher thread (both coarse and fine grades).
-I’m using this beige waxed cord from Kit Kraft.
P.S. I realize that this setup does not have the versatility of a true kumihimo loom, nor is the counterweight adjustable for adding/taking away bobbins, but for a singular purpose it should suffice well.
Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:21 PM
A couple of nights ago, I needed to pull together a quick set up and cut from white foam core a circular end with the rest of the long rectangle shape intact. I wedge the rectangle end into a drawer at the side of my work bench. Not having the patience to wait for another day and a drive to town, I found some little 1" square wooden blocks and a piece of something else for the counter weight. Not a pretty set up at all, but it got the first and second jobs done. Now on my mind is how I can use the lathe and make the handsome loom from wood.
I looked up kumihimo on Youtube and saw many videos of folks using a hand-held circular card with up to 32 or more notches (numbered) for people who follow things by the number. I would prefer to be able to use both hands simultaneously when shifting the cords.
Thank you for the good descriptions/plans for making this loom! I appreciate that you did some real homework to figure it out. And thank you for bringing up the subject of making cords on TCP. You gave me the nudge that I needed.
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. ~ Goethe ~
Janel Jacobson's web site
Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:40 AM
There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about.
Posted 14 April 2013 - 07:13 PM
There is a good pattern generator at http://lythastudios....umiplanner.html for eight cords where you choose the colors and can see what the braid will look like. There are really nice patterns for 16 and 32 cords also, and other pattern makers online too.
Thanks again for the tama suggestion!
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