Tried and True: Cheater Bar

UPDATE: I no longer use the cheater bar, as it could put too much force on the loom parts. Instead, I loosen the front ratchet first, and then I am able to loosen the back ratchet.

I have a tool that makes me stronger than I naturally am. Warp tension is extremely tight on my loom when I am weaving rugs. After advancing the warp, and locking the pawl on the cloth beam, I tighten the ratchet on the warp beam as much as I can. Then, I put all my weight into tightening the cloth beam. And then, with a bit of oomph, I lean into the handles on that cloth beam wheel to turn it one more notch on the ratchet. I pat myself on the back for exhibiting such strength. But wait, I have just created a problem. The next time I need to advance the warp, I’m not nearly strong enough to release those front and back pawls.

Meet my simplest tool: The Cheater Bar.

Cheater Bar is PVC pipe to use as a lever.
PVC pipe, 1 1/4″ x 24″

With this amazing helper, I can safely release even the most extremely tight warp tension. (But NEVER use the Cheater Bar to tighten the warp.)

Slip the end of the pipe over a handle on the ratchet wheel.
Force of the lever makes it easy to release the ratchet. CAUTION! Do not use the lever to tighten the warp beam or cloth beam. You could easily tighten it more than the loom is made to handle.

I never knew I could be this strong. Celebrate the moment! (A play on words. Steve tells me “moment” is a physics term that has to do with a force’s tendency to cause something to rotate about a specific point or axis.)

Good tools make hard things easier.

May you find strength you didn’t know you had.

Happy weaving,

13 thoughts on “Tried and True: Cheater Bar

  1. That’s very helpful to know! That is a beautiful rug. What type of pattern is it, that lets you do blocks like that? (I see it is four shafts.). Can you please give the warp yarn size, sett, and tie up? Thanks!

  2. It’s definitely a misquote on my part by an ancient Greek off the top of my head.

    “With a long enough lever, I could move the world.”

    My handmade floor loom is old and of a size suited for rug weaving. Last year the upright bars from where the breast beam nestles began to crack. I glued the cracks, then wrapped both areas with 3″ fiberglass reinforced strapping.

    Good suggestion for loosening up a warp.

    Keep weaving.

  3. Absolutely tImely tip, thanks Karen. The rug I have on now has to have the tension cranked up to the true maximum and yep, releasing it to wind on has been a real problem, requiring husband’s assistance. Thank heaven he’s still WFH, but this will save me interrupting him. Let’s hear it for moments of leverage (hi Steve!).

  4. Karen,

    Thanks for the cheater bar tip and caution. Knowing our own limits and those of the equipment we’re using are valuable assessments! I too like the definition of a “moment!”

    1. Hi Leslie, You are right! It is important to know our limits. I never took physics in school, so I’ve gone a very long time without knowing this definition of “moment.”

      All the best,

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