Sunday, January 27, 2008

Oiling and Waxing Spinning Wheels

Several people have asked me how to care for the wood in spinning wheels. Well, this goes right along with your fine wood dining table, china cabinet or any other piece of furniture that features fine woods. They are all made from trees, a renewable resource, cut down, sliced into lumber, refined into the fine furniture we all love. They all require care, polishing, oiling and loving.

Now, I happen to collect antique furniture. I inherited quite a mixture of different woods from antique to quite modern pieces, and have added some very fine and some very rough pieces to this collection. Decorators ask what shade of wood would we like in our rooms, Walnut?, Knotty Pine, Distressed Pecan?, Oak or Maple? in their many different shades? They would have a fit when viewing my great room! I have everything. I have Pine, Walnut, Oak, distressed Pecan, Rock Maple all jumbled in together. The one thing all these have in common is the need to be dusted, polished and waxed.

Our great, great grandmothers had only the choice of beeswax to make a nice shine on their furniture. Today we have about as many choices of polishing substances as there are bees in a bee hive. Some of the furniture I have brought home, like the Great Wheels were so old and worn they had little or no finish left on them. Some like the Moswolt Wheel are things of great beauty, lovingly cared for all their lives.

When I bring home a piece of wood furniture with out much finish left on it, I finish sanding it down, saturate it with linseed oil for several days, then hand rub Tung Oil blended finish into it’s surface. If I choose not to refinish it, I spray it with Orange Oil and buff with a soft cloth. For general purpose dusting and polishing, I like Beeswax and Orange Oil in suspension. There are the heavenly odors of the beeswax and orange to make my room smell good, but mostly that combination gives enough oil to the wood to preserve it and the beeswax lays down a protective coat and really nice shine. I pour the Beeswax and Orange Oil on the fleece side of the sheepskin, and coat the wood liberally and have at least one cup of coffee. I then go back and buff the wood with a soft cloth like worn out tee-shirts.

The one brand name of furniture polish I look for is Howard's. I can find it at most hardware stores that have a wood refinishing section or I can go to the woodworking supply stores to get it. I keep little scraps of sheepskin pelts to use for furniture waxing. I get these from making vests and other fancy stuff from sheepskins. Or I can get them from leather supply companies. Tandy Leather Company and Leather Factory stores may have these scraps available. You can also get these from saddle making shops. You just have to look to see what is available in your area.

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