CraftSanity Podcast Episode 214: Road trip to South Haven, Michigan where a woodworker is working to revive his great grandfather’s loom business, McGarr Norwood Looms Co.

by jennifer

Photo by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood Mike McGarr, left, and his dad, Terry McGarr, both of South Haven, show off a brand new McGarr Norwood loom (left) and a vintage Norwood made by Terry’s grandfather, Wallace McGarr. The father and son are looking to relaunch the family loom business in South Haven, Michigan.

SOUTH HAVEN, MICHIGAN – Using a combination of vintage and modern tools, Mike McGarr is looking to revive a bit of family weaving history.

The 27-year-old is the great-grandson of Wallace and Melvina McGarr, who were owners of the Norwood Looms Co. for more than 40 years beginning in 1951. After more than four decades in business, the McGarr’s sold the company to another Michigan loom maker before it was eventually moved overseas.

Recently, Mike teamed up with his father, Terry McGarr, 60, to launch McGarr Norwood Co. Using the family’s collection of old Norwood Looms as patterns, these woodworkers are rebooting the company using the high quality cherry wood Wallace McGarr loved to build looms with.

For this episode of the podcast, I met up with the guys in Terry’s immaculate garage in South Haven where I got to see the first large cherry floor loom that Mike and Terry completed. Tune in the hear Terry crack up while sharing a bit of family weaving history and Mike discuss the ups and downs of rebooting the family business.

Mike is in the process of retooling his shop and hoping to ramp up loom production in the near future. To inquire about getting your hands on a Michigan-made, next generation Norwood loom, visit their website or Facebook page. And if you’re  local, join the Woodland Weaver’s Guild for a November panel discussion with Michigan loom makers including the McGarrs. (Stay tuned for details. I’m still working on the logistics for this event. )

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