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To choose the best table loom, you should consider the size of the loom, the number of shafts, and your own personal preferences. The size of the loom will of course affect how much space it takes up but also how you will be able to use the loom. Similarly, the number of shafts will have an impact on the type of weaves that can be done with your table loom. Finally, some of the available options you might choose from will depend on your own personal comfort and preference.
A table loom is most often a jack loom and is typically relatively small. This smaller size is what makes it portable and more convenient for weavers who need to travel with their loom. Even with the generally smaller size of table looms, you will be faced with several size options, which can range from 12 inches (40.64 cm) on the very small end all the way to 32 inches (81.28 cm). The size you need will be determined by what kind of projects you would like to use your loom for, where you will be storing it, and how often you will want to pack it up and transport it.
In addition to size, table looms come with varying numbers of harnesses, which are also called shafts. Typically, there are 4, 8, 12 or occasionally, 16 harnesses on a loom. The number of harnesses affects the complexity of patterns that you can make with your table loom. A beginning weaver might have plenty of options with only four harnesses, while an experienced weaver who wants to take on more complex projects will need more than that.
Once you have determined the appropriate size and number of harnesses for your skill level and project needs, the rest of the decisions come down to personal preference. You can find table looms made of many different types of wood, and some companies design their looms with aesthetics in mind as much as functionality. If you will be keeping your loom where it will be visible, these aesthetic aspects may be more important to you. Price is, of course, also variable and may play a role in determining the wood and design that you choose for your loom.
Weavers say that some of the comfort of a loom depends solely on each person's preferences and cannot be decided by anyone but the weaver himself. This might depend on something as simple as your height and how the loom works with your body. Other variables, such as the type of beater and number of heddles the loom has, can affect how comfortable you are using it. Finally, many table looms can be folded up for easier storage and transport and can be used with optional features like a floor stand. You should consider all of these possibilities before making your final choice.
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