Frequently Asked Questions

About Millstek

Millstek is a family run business formed in 2001, based in the Northwest of the UK in the Manchester Area.  We supply equipment and materials used in making and finishing rugs, carpets, wall hangings.

The Hofmann Hand-Tufting gun VML 16 can produce handtufted (hand Tufted) area rugs with both cut and loop pile. The same hand tufting technique is used in the Hitex Robotic Tufting machine

Shearing edge bevelling and carving equipment is also provided by Hofmann. Carving and sculpting of area rugs and carpets give the product a third dimension and plain carpets can be made very attractive by skilled carving. Hofmann offer machines for edge bevelling of carpet tiles, carpet samples and sample books on table machines.

Flexorand offer their mobile / portable carpet edge binding machine and materials for the rapid binding and edging of carpet and rug edges. 

Titan supply very heavy duty  table sewing, tape edging,  whipping and fringing machines

In addition to providing equipment, Millstek supply backing fabric and Latex for the construction of hand tufted (handtufting) carpets and rugs. 

Machines for preparation of carpet tiles, by bevelling of carpet samples and carpet books.

Each page states where we are allowed to ship the product to, if we are restricted from selling to a country the page will also give a contact email for the manufacturer who’ll be able to advise who your local distributor is.

About our Products

Hofmann VML16 Tufing Gun

Yes, and it is very easy.

To move between Cut Pile and Loop Pile you simply remove the blade,  this takes 5-10 seconds.

To move back from Loop Pile to Cut Pile take a little bit longer, approximately 2 minutes,  it is the same process as changing the blade which can be seen here


Originally there was just the one blade, type 95 810512

Then Hofmann developed
type 96 801511 which had a slight advantage when using a pure wool yarn, as the blade didn’t go blunt as quick. but to use this blade you needed to change the driver disc.

Then Hofmann developed the
08HQ hardened blade 801510 which uses the original driver disc.

So which blade should I use? if you are using the 810512 you will find that you will not need to sharpen the blade as often by upgrading to the 810510.

If you are using the type 95 blade, then again you will find it advantageous to upgrade to the 810510, however to do this you will need to swap your driver disc to the compatable one with two dots on it (rather that one) available here – part 12

if you have a large number of type 96 blades, then it is possibly not worth swapping over until all your blades cannot be sharpened any further.

The Hofmann Hand-Tufting gun VML16 operates by using both an electric motor (230V) and a compressed air. The compressor needs to be bought separately.

The Minimum Requirement for the Compressor for one VML16 is:
pressure: 8 bar
rate: 250 litres per minute / 9 cubic feet per minute

The Recommended Requirement for the Compressor for one VML16 is:
pressure: 10 bar
rate: 400-600 litres per minute / 14-21 cubic feet per minute

the size of the tank is less important but we’d suggest at least a 100-150l tank We suggest including a air clearing and pressure regulating module.

if you wish to buy a compressor locally Machine Mart stock a good range, and using the information above will give you several options. If your organisation has more specifics requirements (eg automatic de-compression) or wish to buy with a maintenance contact, we suggest contacting

Primary Backing Fabrics

Short answer:   if you don’t know go for the 266g

Longer answer:

The 225g/266g refers to the weight of the 1 square metre of the material.  Both the materials have an even weave, meaning they have the same number of threads going horizontally and vertically .   the 225g has 60 threads in each direction our every 4inches/10cm, the 266g has 70 threads in each direction every 4 inches.   hence the names 225g(60/60). and 266g (70/70)


266g has always been the standard specification in the UK and the commonwealth countries, 225g is standard in Europe, but which is better? The old professionals in spinning towns of the north of England will tell you its the 266g 70/70,  but their French or Belgian equivalents will swear by 225g 60/60.   This is because it is just what you get used to.    

Many people when they are starting out try and calculate the size of the gap between the threads assuming that because the gap is smaller in the 266g(70/70) it will hold their thread better, or alternatively the needle will slip into the 225g(60/60).   Both are true to a minor extent, but not enough that this will be noticeable.  

The thread size is the same in both versions. In a 10mm section there are either 6 (225g) or 7 (266g) rows and columns of holes. Each hole is less than a mm square in both the versions (approx .95mm in the 225g and .75mm in the 266g).  the theory stack up so far, but then you compare that with the size of your needle and yarn.  your yarn tends to be just over a mm in diameter so one strand will sit snuggly in the hole of this material with just a bit of friction to hold it in place,  but you will put 2 or three yarns into one hole.   Similarly the needle of your gun is usually 7mm in diameter, and you push this into the .75 or .95mm hole.   The 0.2mm will make very little difference

in the UK 266g (70/70) is used widely so if you aren’t sure, just go for that one.


weft = pick = width of fabric  

warp = end = length of the fabric


All of our primary backing fabrics are made from woven polyester.  Polyester is much stronger than cotton, remember you will be putting your weight behind the gun whilst punching a 7mm needle through it several times a second.  Polyester is not affected by humidity, Cotton takes in moisture so a backing fabric tightly fitted to your frame can become saggy with just a slight change of humidity. 


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