October 31, 2021
A Tapestry Beater, or Weaving Beater, or Weft Beater, or just plain Beater, is a handheld tool with a handle and tines, that is used to press the weft down, in order to seat it properly in the warp and in order to compress is as tightly or loosely as the weaver wishes, onto the weft below.
Here I will share how to make Tapestry Beaters without electricity, using only hand tools. Enjoy!
I decided I wanted to have a nice warm, well-finished, handmade tool to beat down the weft of my weavings.
I have been weaving for a while now, on a small hand held loom, and also a tapestry loom. Having used forks and other devices as beaters, I set out to make some nice hand-made wooden beaters with stainless steel tines.
Making a Hardwood Tapestry Beater:
First, here are my drawings. I designed this style of beater to be nicely balanced in the hand while being heavier at the tines-end; I also included a long point on the back end which can be used to press down, or lift, individual yarns in the weaving if needed. Please feel free to make these beaters for your own use, but please do not use my design for commercial purposes to make and sell these.
For the peacefulness and the fun-of-it, I made these beaters without any electric tools, I used only manual tools. One could just as well use electric saws and drills and have great time making these!
Now I will make the stainless steel tines. I used 1/16" stainless rod for the 5 EPI beater. I used this stout little wire cutter. I wire snips or tin snips will not cut this stainless rod (at least not without damaging the tool) so use a some type of hack saw/metal saw, or cutter such as this, or cut off disc.
Making Long Wooden Needles
For weaving on little hand-looms, I find a long needle with an eye in it, helpful. It is easy to make them out of wood. I cut 3/16" thick strips from Hickory, drill the eye hole (before carving the needle), then carve the needle, sand it, and oil it.