Among the terminology questions that often come up, ” is it a barn loom? ” is frequent.
I am not the final word, but for my purposes and clarification, I define a ” barn loom ” as any loom with heavy support beams usually 3″x 4″ or 4″ x 4″ measurements, a large footprint, minimum 5 ft” x 5 ft”, mortise and tenon construction, over slung beater, roughly 6 ft. tall and held together with either pegs or wedges at the mortise and tenon join for each piece ( sometimes a combination of wedges and pegs is called for ). In other words, a barn loom is a heavy, long, wide, tall loom of mortise and tenon construction and predates manufactured looms.
However, often other looms turn up, and fit some of the above criteria, but not all of it. What then, are these looms?
In my experience they consistently show characteristics of Swedish or Finnish looms of the period, made here in the U.S. by immigrants from those countries for personal home use.
Some of the features present in a Swedish or Finnish loom are mortise and tenon construction with joints that extend beyond the loom frame protruding from the structure and are pegged or wedged on the outer side of the loom frame.
These looms are typically not tall, or long, though they may be wide. The beams are lighter and not as wide as the barn loom, more of a 2″ x 2″ measurement making them less overwhelming than a barn loom. They do have over slung beaters, are often cantilever style and frequently have a ” knee beam ” designed to give the weaver unrestricted knee room and keep the woven cloth from rubbing against the knees during the weaving process.