Warping went mostly smoothly. It helps to have warped a rigid-heddle loom before, and to have watched hours and hours of other people warping looms. I don't have a raddle, so I warped front to back, which works well also because the back beam folds down all the way to the floor, and you can sit on a stool right up against the heddles.
Things I've learned:
1. I think the shafts might be warped a little bit, and it makes the heddles hard to move. Solutions may be to a) not hook the heddle rods on the center hooks until done threading, b) try to un-warp the shafts, and c) unscrew the heddle rod hooks a little bit to loosen things up. New heddle rod hooks that are adjustable are $10 each (I would need eight) so that's not ideal.
2. The tie-ups are all the same length, but probably shouldn't be. I'm thinking of changing them to texsolv so I can adjust easily (the current set up is loops with overhand knots). However, I might just be being picky to have all of the shafts raise to the same level, if the weaving is fine anyway.
3. I am going to re-lash the apron rod on the front. I didn't mind that it was heavy, but I would have liked more room to get my fingers in there when tying on. The back apron rod is held on with a few random threads, so redoing that was in the plans already. I ordered some nylon cord from Camilla Valley Farm, but not enough. Once it arrives, I'll take it around and shop for something similar in a craft or hardware store. Also, the apron rods are rough, so I'll sand them like I did the metal rods that guide the shafts. It would be nice if they would turn, and they don't.
4. I might need something else to sit on. I like the height of my piano bench with a book on it, but that's not a great long-term option. Ouch!
5. Using a drill to wind bobbins is perfectly acceptable. My drill will go pretty slowly, so I can maintain control and not burn my fingers with yarn friction. Certainly more affordable than a bobbin winder. Those things are expensive!
Also, the loom still smells. :-/