Mechanically speaking there are 3 types of looms:
- Jack-type looms work as well for balanced weaving as for unbalanced weaving (1 harness against 3) because each harness frame is operated independently; however the treadling is slightly noisier and harder than on counterbalance looms and, because the tension on the warp cannot be very high, non-elastic warps (linen, nylon) are not recommended on these looms. If you plan on doing a great amount of fabric weaving, a jack loom may suit your work.
- Counterbalance looms are quiet and have a faster and softer treadling than jack-type looms; they allow a high warp tension (important in rug weaving) and elastic warps (wool, cotton) as well as non-elastic warps; the shed is not perfect when weaving is unbalanced but with some looms (Leclerc) the problem is solved by adding a shed regulator.
- Countermarch looms (such as Glimakra's Ideal and Standard, and the Schacht Cranbrook Loom) combine the rising/sinking action of the counterbalance loom with the ability of the jack loom to open any shed, whether balanced or unbalanced. They are quiet, sturdy and the favorite of many highly skilled weavers.
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