How To

Building a Wood Tri Loom
Revised from  Tri Loom Weaving by Barbara A. Herdman

What size Loom should you build?
                                 Making a Cardboard Loom


Deminsions for Building Looms 

It is best to use hard wood such as Oak for building looms
 but Pine will also work or some have even used plywood.
The wood must be smooth enough to prevent snagging the yarn and stong enough to prevent bending.

I use paneling nails.
They come in different colors so you could alternate colors.
You might want to make every 5th nail a second color to make it easier to count.

-----------Size of Loom----------

Total board length needed-
You will have wood left over but commercial wood comes in 4, 6 , 8, and 10 foot lengths
number of top nails
Total nails
One Foot Loom
4 foot one by two
18 inch loom
Six foot one by two
Two Foot Loom
               Six foot one by two                
Three Foot Loom
Ten foot one by two
Four Foot Loom
Three- six foot one by two's
Five Foot Loom
Three- six foot one by four's
Six Foot Loom
Three- six foot one by four's
Seven Foot Loom
Three- eight foot one by four's
Eight Foot Loom
Three- ten foot one by four's
Larger looms over 4 to 5 feet need larger size lumber to help prevent bending. Especially if you use pine.

Using pegs instead of nails

If you want to use pegs instead of nails cut the same number of one inch pegs from about 1/4inch dowel rod as needed to replace nails.
Check dowel rods to select the size peg you prefer.
Sand one end of each peg smooth.

If you check wood working supplies you might be able to buy the pegs ready made.
I have not used pegs in looms.

Building the Wood Loom

You will construct an equilaterail right triangle with a row of nails or pegs on each side.

Materials needed:
Hardwood (pine will work) about two inches wide and one inch thick. A commecial one by two will actually be smaller but usable.

Each of the three sides should be about 4 to 6 inches longer then the finished size loom you want.
One inch panel nails and wood glue.
Saw, chisel, hammer, drill, sand paper, hand plane, framing square, sand paper, pencil and ruler, and an art gum eraser.


Lay out the three pieces of your loom on a flat work surface until you have the configurations shown.
Carefully mark the outside and inside of the angles on each piece.
The X's indicate material to cut off.

NOTE: Side one exactly equales side two.

The top two corner nails are shown. The distance between them equales the size of the loom.
The bottom point nail is show directly under the center nail of the hypotenuse.
The top two angles are 45 degrees.
The bottom corner angle is 90 degrees.

lay out

Following the marks you made cut Half Lap joints at each corner.   
you want to cut away half the depth of each piece.
Use a chisel and sandpaper to obtain a clean accurate tight fitting joint.

The hypotenuse piece is shown at the top.
 Both half laps are cut from the top side of the board.

Side one on the left shows both half laps cut from the bottom side of the board.

Side two on the right shows the upper corner half lap cut from the bottom of the board
and the lower corner half lap is cut from the top side of the board.

    Layout and cutting half laps for joints
   layout  cut  smooth


Check to make sure all joints fit tightly.
check joint fit


Glue and clamp all three corners.
Let the loom dry over night.

STEP THREE: Bolting Corners

If the loom is large enough that you will want to take it apart
 for storing or transporting do not glue corners.

Prepare the half lap joints on all corners as you did for glueing.
Put a corner together and clamp it in place so that it doesn't move while you drill. Do not glue it.
Mark the center of the corner clear of the nail line.
Drill  a quarter inch hole through both pieces of wood at the same time.
Insert a carriage bolt and fasten on the back with a washer and nut.

Do the next two corners the same way. Fastening them together as you go.

Glue and clamp
STEP FOUR: Hypotenuse Nails

Mark a nailing line on all three sides 1/2 inch in from the inside edge of the loom.

If your nails are to close to the edge you might split the wood.
To far back from the edge and you will have trouble  getting your hook under the top rows of yarn. 

Mark the layout for the nails on the hypotenuse.
The center nail should be directly over the bottom corner of the loom.
Mark half of the length of your loom to the right of your center nail and mark your corner nail.
Do the same to the left. 

The distance between the corner nails should be the same as the loom size you want.
Such as 12 inches for a one foot loom.  84 inches for a seven foot loom.
Make sure they are in a straight line.

nail layout
STEP FIVE: Side Nails
To mark the spacing for the side nails use an L (Framing Square) or a T square.

Place the outside short edge of the L on the outside short edge of the loom.

Place the outside long edge of the L on the nail marking on the hypotenuse.

With a pencil mark where the L crosses your nailing line on the short side.

Move the L to the next marking on the hypotenuse and repeat for each nail.

The spacing between nails on the short sides will be closer then they are on the hypotenuse.
The number of nails between the three corner nails will be the same on all three sides.

Repeat for the other short side.

Side nail layout
STEP SIX: Check Markings

Carefully check the nail markings before you continue.
Are there the same number of nails on each side?
There is a corner nail at each upper corner and at the botton point corner.
There should be the same number of nails in between each set of corner nails.
Is the bottom point nail exactly centered under the center nail on the hypotenuse?
Is the distance between the corner hypotneus nails the exact distance you want your loom size to be?

Center of Hypotenous
check markings
Bottom point nail directly under Hypotenous center


To help keep the nails from splitting the wood use a scratch Awl to make a small hole at each nail mark.

You can also pre-drill the holes.
To get the correct size cut the head off of a panel nail and use it in the drill.
You will have to replace the nail occasionally, especially if you are making a large loom with lots of nails.

The holes or indentations will keep the marks visable when you erase your pencil marks, sand the loom, and put on the loom finish.

Now erase all pencil marks and sande the loom smooth.

STEP EIGHT: Make Loom User Friendly

Mark where you want to round off the corners.
Cut the corner points off and sand corners smooth.

It is much easier to store and work with a loom that has nice smooth corners and edges .
So sand all edges on the loom smooth so they are slightly rounded.

round corners and sides

mark corners

corners rounded

STEP NINE: Loom Finish
Next apply the loom finish.
You may stain it, stencil on a design or use a wax finish.

I like to use bees wax and rub it in really well until I get a smooth burnished finish.
As you rub it will warm up and spread evenly.


Carefully hammer the nails in to the same depth.
Leave about 9/16th of an inch of the one inch nails above the loom.

nail depth

If you are using pegs instead of nails use a drill bit the same size as your peg to drill holes.
Use a bit of glue in the hole before tapping each peg in securely with a hammer.

Congratulations !
Sit back and admire your new loom for at least 5 minutes before you reach for yarn and start weaving.

It is also a good idea to put a small label on the back of your loom.
It should have your name and contact information if you take your loom away from home.
Also add the size of the loom, the amount of yarn it takes to weave, and the number of side nails for fringe.
 This will save you a lot of time when you are planing a new weaving. Especially if you have more then one size loom.

My husband liked to use hand tools to build looms but power tools would speed up the building process.

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Copyright Barbara A. Herdman