One of the ladies in the weaving guild I recently joined mentioned that a warping board is one of the least expensive pieces of equipment you can obtain. Ow. At over $100 she may be right, but it does stand out as a good example of why weaving is an expensive craft to get started in. If you have your Mothers or Grandmothers loom and shuttles, or if someone gives you a Loom (Thank you Linda!), then the first purchase is taken care of and the little extra bits can be slowly accumulated over time. Admittedly, a warping board starts around $100, if you want a bobbin winder they are around $130, if you need some shuttles the wood ones start around $30+, so on and so forth. There are a few more necessities but these are the ones that make it difficult to begin if you are lacking them.
I love these old crafts, it brings me a great deal of joy to know that I can accomplish a skill that young ladies have been working on for centuries. That being said, I am also a modern girl and I really like my technology. I managed to find, online and through Interweave press, plans for a warping board made out of PVC pipes. I put this together, thanks to my local hardware store which cut the pieces for me, and took it to my first guild meeting/class. This prompted the comment about how a warping board is one of the least expensive pieces. For that first lesson where I wound about 80 ends of worsted weight yarn to sley my rigid heddle reed for a scarf, the board worked perfectly. There may have been a tiny bit of bending, but not enough to effect the quality of my end product.
With this bit of success, and my loom sanded/painted/polished, I decided to try for something a little more difficult, I wanted to wind the warp for my 50 inch loom. Due to the simple mathematics I had decided to wind my warp in 5 inch weaving segments of 50 ends (10 ends per inch over 5 inches is 50 ends). The first five inches went wonderfully, I tied it off, created the choke points and did the crochet chain thing. The first five inches are great. I then tried the second five inches, at 46 ends in disaster struck and things started to bend, the top came loose and I was not happy. I had done a counting marker so the first 40 were salvaged but the warping board was not going to work over the long term. A little gorilla glue, okay a lot of gorilla glue, and hopefully the problem is solved.
Crafting can be very fulfilling. There are some shortcuts that may work just fine, I have high hopes for the plastic shuttle and the bobbin winder that works on my cordless drill, but some may not work at all. If this warping board works, then even with the glue it cost me under $20. If it does not work, then I have learned an important lesson about what will and will not work, for under $20.