Woodworking Project: Pin Looms

I do not know much about weaving, but my friends in 4H do, and when one of them said they needed some pin looms for the kids to use to learn weaving in the new Fiber Arts Workshop they were organizing, I thought that sounded like a job for my new workshop. And also an excuse to go buy a drill press.

Going with pictures online, and the plans on this website http://adventuresinpinloomweaving.com/2018/08/02/pin-loom-templates/

I set out to make 15 5.5 inch pin looms. I started out by taking 1 x 2s and ripping them in half on the table saw, then I cut them on the miter saw, using a stop block to make them all axactly the same, and cut the 60 sides I would need.

I glued them together using this neat frame clamp, but I had to bring them inside and do it on the dining room table, because it was too cold out in the garage for the glue to set. Then I drilled a hole in each corner and glued in an oak pin, to help hold them together if the kids dropped them, which is sure to happen. I sanded it all smooth so hopefully nobody gets any slivers. To sand them, I created another little jig on my bench that I could set them on to help hold them still while I sanded without risking having the sander whip them out of my hand, or sanding my fingers.

Then, using a guide clamped on my drill press table I used the template from the website, printed on heavy cardstock, to drill the holes in the correct positions, and the guide on the table ensured they were all in a neat line on each side. Then I just had to gently tap in about a million wire brads. The pre-drilled holes made them go in nice and straight without splitting the wood. The benchtop jig was again handy for keeping the frame still while I tapped away.

And in no time, it was done:

I was happy to be able to do this for the 4H club. I think its such a great program and helps the kids learn all kinds of life skills in addition to the animal care and craft skills, while having fun and making friends, of course. And I know the club would be hard pressed to have paid for these looms at a retail price, especially since they didn’t get to do their Christmas Tree Sale because of Covid this year. They cost me less than $20 and a bit of time, and I got to use ALL my woodshop tools, including the table saw for the first time(!) and I got practice using stop blocks and guides, I got practice creating a thing and then figuring out to make 14 more of them in the easiest way possible, and I got the satisfaction of a job well done.

Also, the last time I worked in my woodshop was when Barclay was sick, I finished staining and finishing the Garden Bench. He liked to come hang out with me in the garage and sleep on the floor because it was cool, even before he got sick. I didn’t really feel like getting back out there without my buddy. Then Christmas came and Dave was using the shop for his toy business, so there was no hurry. This was a nice little project to do to warm back up to it all.

I couldn’t have done this without the Weekend Woodworker course teaching me to think about jigs and stop blocks and things like that. I have owned my miter saw for about 20 years, building stuff on stage and around the farm, and not even once did I ever thinking of using a stop block! So the course has already made me a better woodworker, and I’ve only done three projects! I can’t wait to proceed to the next one!

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