Monday, December 22, 2008

How is my Loom?

Once we got the loom unloaded, we experimented with different ways we might revive the 35-year-old finish. I couldn't capture it in pictures, but it looked pretty beat up.

Thursday night we visited our local Woodcraft store, where the very helpful woodworker on duty took one look at the loom pieces we brought him, and said "Sandpaper.....or an axe!" Actually, he spent quite a bit of time with us. He tested the finish with a pocket knife even, and recommended that we sand and apply Bush Oil to the wood.

Here are 5 finished beams.....Note that my studio is re-arranged and covered in plastic....All other projects are pretty much at a standstill.

We've still got sanding in progress and many untouched pieces (the bench, the beater, most treadles).

For anyone interested in more details of the process we're using:

First we sand until the piece looks fairly uniform. We're using 80 or 100 sandpaper, then 150, then finishing with 220. The wood we're working with has 2 coats of varnish on it, and then has been sprayed with a milky-looking opaque, drippy finish - wear and tear and dirt have been added to the mix too.

Toika, the loom manufacturer, was comfortable with the sanding approach. In fact, when I emailed them, they recommended that we use power tools to sand it down. We haven't had to resort to power tools yet!

Next we wipe the loom down with microfiber cloth, and then with our hands, to remove all of the dust from sanding.

Finally, we apply 2 coats of Bush Oil following the instructions on the package. Basically, the first coat is a heavy coat, which rests for 30 minutes, then we apply a second coat. After 15 minutes, we wipe the wood completely dry then allow it to cure for 14-16 hours before use.

Before we decided on this process, we experimented with Murphy's Oil Soap, Orange Oil, Wax, De-waxer, Howard refinisher, and Formby's. Because of the combination of finishes on this loom, we decided refinishing the main pieces of the loom would get the best result. Fortunately, the moving parts of the loom appear to still have their original finish, so we don't anticipate as much work on them. At least, that is my fervent hope!

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