I just purhased one too. It will be fun to learn along with you. I have made my warp chains and hope to put the warp on the back beam within the next 2 days. I am trying how to incorporate the details of warping in the manual with the warping I now do. Tricky.
I just warped mine the way I normally warp a loom and had no problems. I do not have the cloth beam or the lease sticks they talk about. I hope to be able to replace some of the missing original parts. It weaves like a dream. Not to mention it is a very handsome loom.
I have one of these, too, and it looks exactly like the photos above. Bob at AVL estimates it was made 1980-82. It weaves beautifully, but lacks the added functionality of reversing, for example.
After getting it, I warped it first as I would any other loom before finding the recommended manual that goes with a later loom. I then tried to warp it as recommended there–from the back beam and under the angled cross bar before threading. Don’t! The shed was awful. (and yes, I redid it.)
I have a set of 40 of the original dobby bars and they are pretty well worn. This loom was originally in the inventory at FIT in NYC. I have been using them, but have strengthened the peg holes with Elmers glue and they are working well. I just ordered another set from AVL.