The very first loom I ever owned was a piece of junk. Literally. Judge for yourself.
This loom was found in a my partner's family barn in New England where I suspect it had been for about 100 years. I can hardly believe Uncle Les paid shipping to send this to Nevada, but there it was. It was missing a lot of parts but it was clear it used to be a two-harness counterbalance loom.
We made a new castle for it and my partner figured out how to make it into a four-harness counterbalance loom. We bought new harnesses and this was the result.
The loom actually worked pretty well. What I didn't realize for awhile was that the structures I wanted to weave were not possible on a counterbalance loom. The women of the Reno Fiber Guild were instrumental in starting me on this path. I still have a lot of gratitude for Mary and Julie who taught me so much along with the rest of the group.
Eventually I realized that the complicated weave structures I wanted to do were just not possible on this kind of loom. Even many four-harness patterns were not possible because the shafts had to be evenly balanced. When two went down, two had to go up. I sold it and bought an 8-harness Gilmore straight from the factory in central California.
That Gilmore loom was a great companion for quite a few years. It did what I wanted it to do and was a beautiful tool. In this photo I'm weaving a lace scarf with fringe on four sides. Eventually I started doing doubleweave, then doubleweave pickup with words and images, and then I found tapestry.
The Gilmore was sold and I got my first walking loom in New Mexico... from there the countermarche Harrisville Rug Loom which I still use supplemented by a LeClerc Gobelin tapestry loom and a 48 inch Macomber jack loom.
When I was teaching in San Diego in 2016, I found this Union Loom in their weaving museum. It is definitely the same loom I had in Nevada but in much better shape. If you're ever in southern California, perhaps take a visit to the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum and visit the Weaving Barn run by the Palomar Handweaver's Guild. It is quite an amazing place.
There are more images of the Weaver's Barn in THIS blog post.