On a weaving list I was asked for my opinion regarding the Kromski Harp vs. the Schacht Flip. Since I have nothing to show for this week (and I'm going to be plying the rest of the day), I decided to use my answer for today's post. Some of it I covered last weekend, but here is my post, in a (really large) nutshell:
Here are my impressions of the two looms (with probably too much detail ). Keep in mind that I am a very inexperienced weaver - I'm on my third project on the Harp, and first on the Flip; the looms are different sizes (Harp - 24", Flip - 15"); and I'm a visual learner. I have all the heddles for the Harp (8, 10, 12) but have only used the 10 so far, and the 8-dent heddle for the Flip.
Out of the box:
The Flip wins for being the easiest and fastest to put together. All you need to do is unfold the Flip and attach the apron rods - about 5 minutes for Ms. FumbleFingers here. (I also like that you get to pick which heddle you get when you order.) You get a warping peg, two shuttles, a heddle hook, a pair of loom clamps, and an instruction booklet.
The Harp is unassembled, but comes with excellent instructions with drawings, and IIRC it took me about an hour or less; you do need a screwdriver. You also need to 'assemble' the apron strings - the Flip has the laddered kind that you just thread the ends through; the Harp has the kind you have to melt to stick together. You get a warping peg, two shuttles, a pickup stick, a heddle hook, a pair of loom clamps, a bunch of pegs for the warping board, and an instruction booklet and video.
The Flip's instructions leave a lot to be desired - it is a small 10-page booklet that, had I started with a Flip instead of a Harp, I would've had a lot more difficulty learning to weave. It does list some books, magazines, and websites.
The Harp wins here. Its booklet is downloadable in color from the Kromski site (which you might want to do so you can make the pictures bigger), and includes instructions for a first project. The video mostly covers their spinning wheels, but the rest of it covers warping, using the warping board, how to use the heddle, and IIRC it starts you on the project in the booklet.
At first glance, the Flip is more robust and sturdy-looking; the Harp is more refined and 'stylish'. The Harp seems to be just as strong, however; at least the way I've used it. I would guess that in equivalent sizes the Flip would weigh more. The Flip isn't ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but the Harp is definitely more attractive and something I wouldn't mind leaving out for company to see.
The Harp comes with a built-in warping board, which is quite handy if you don't have one already. You can use the Harp as a warping board with a project on the loom, though I haven't done that.
One thing I really like about the Flip is that the heddle holes - at least on the 8-dent heddle - are elongated and the heddle hook has a decently-sized hook. The Harp's holes & hooks are smaller, and it's not easy to thread Sugar & Cream yarn though a 10-dent heddle hole. The Harp 8-dent heddle holes did not look any larger.
The heddle stability is about the same on both. I have trouble with the Harp's heddle falling off the upshed slots, unless my warp is pretty tight, but that's because I like to weave with my loom at about a 45 degree angle. If you weave at a flatter angle you shouldn't have a problem. The Harp's heddle is very secure in the downshed and neutral positions. The Flip is more stable in the upshed than the Harp, but it just hooks under the heddle blocks in the downshed position.
The good news is the less-expensive Ashford heddles fit both looms. I've been told you might have to trim the wood a bit for the Harp, though I have no personal experience; but it fits fine on the Flip though a bit wobbly.
As to the Flip being already set up for using two heddles - not so much, IMO. There is a neutral position slot for a second heddle; there also appears to be another neutral slot a ways behind that, but no upshed and I'm not sure how you are supposed to do the downshed. I haven't figured out how two-heddle weaving would work with it, and the booklet doesn't even *mention* two-heddle weaving, which has been one of it's selling points. (Disclaimer: I haven't tried multiple-heddle weaving yet so I might not be seeing how it works with the Flip, and I haven't checked their website yet.)
They both have close to the same size shed - the Harp might be ever-so-slightly larger (on the order of a quarter-inch, which could well be a measuring error). The Harp does have a little more usable working area in front of the heddle, by about an inch. Moving the Harp's heddle into the different positions can be a bit fiddly until you get used to it.
The pawls & ratchets are slightly different, but seem to work equally well. They are all made of nylon. I have trouble reaching the warp beam pawl and ratchet on the Flip to advance the warp, but I have short arms.
One thing I really don't like about the Flip is that it only has knobs on the right side. The Harp has them on both sides, and it is so much easier to advance the warp (for me) using opposite sides.
Both of the looms will fold in half with a warp on them, though I haven't done it with the Harp yet.
The Flip is basically two pieces attached in the middle by the black T-knob. It will fold flatter than the Harp because the back is narrower than the front, so it folds inside of itself. The black T-knob allows you to fold the loom, and the 'lock knobs' (basically a screw with a plastic knob on it) lock it in the open position. I was able to find a tote at Hobby Lobby (in the art section) that fits the Flip well enough, though it sticks out a bit, and for a lot less than a Harp bag costs (I keep thinking I'm going to weave one, but haven't gotten around to it yet).
The Harp looks like it is one piece that was cut in the middle and hinged. It uses swing hinges, and I sometimes pinch my fingers when I'm folding the loom halfway (while on the stand, you can't fold it all the way but you can drop the front down). They don't really secure - they just catch on the 'bolt' on the side. The good thing is they are permanently attached; the Flip's lock knobs at least could easily be lost as they come completely out.
Over all, they are both good looms, but if I had it to do over again I would buy another Harp instead of a Flip, as IMO the Flip isn’t worth the extra money. I still have time to return it for exchange or refund, but I haven't decided if it's worth the aggravation of shipping it back or not (plus I’d have to take the current warp off).
Regarding the stands - I have the Harp stand but not the Schacht, so I didn't cover those but I imagine they are both pretty equal. The Harp stand is lightweight - I have to keep my feet on it when I beat the fell line, but it is styled like the Harp, plus it has holes in several places where you can put the warp pegs (I put some on the arms to hold my tools) so it also is attractive and quite functional.
I don't want to put anyone off the Flip if they have their heart set on it; it's a perfectly good loom. And, each loom has its good points and bad points. I just happen to prefer the Harp.
Labels: Flip, Harp, RH weaving