eeding and Finishing Old Wood
o For educational purposes only.
      o Read and follow all label directions.
      o If in doubt, seek qualified assistance.
      o Sample on inconspicuous areas.
      o Your mileage may vary.


   I have an old fashioned recipe to feed and finish old wood that I just love!
Even the smell brings back memories :-)!

   1/2 Turpentine
   1/2 Boiled Linseed Oil

If it's very dirty along with dull and lifeless you might want to try this first:

   1/3 White Vinegar
   1/3 Turpentine
   1/3 Boiled Linseed Oil

Use an old cotton rag to rub it in... several thin rubs are better than one  heavy!
Wait til you see that beautiful cherry wood color shine!


Oil and Finish

> I have applied some linseed oil, but found that some areas
> really absorbed the oil and other areas ended up with a
> messy goo where the oil did not penetrate the wood.

   Linseed oil is used by many people who are either lucky or expert at it, but I prefer a Danish Oil like Watco, it's far easier to use. I'd remove the sticky linseed oil with turpentine, let the loom dry for a day, then apply danish oil.
   I've used danish oil many times and would recommend it for almost all woods except Pine, Cedar or Fir. Be sure you're not trying to apply an oil over a varnish or lacquer finish, these are best renewed with the original finish. Follow the directions on the can; if the loom surface isn't really smooth you may want to put the first coat on with 320 or 400 wet & dry sandpaper (auto supply).

   For an entire loom, one with areas of little or no finish:

   Do the loom in small sections as you want to wipe off the excess (soft cotton cloth) after 10-12 minutes, no more. After 2 hours, a second coat (another soft cloth) can be applied and wiped off. Wait a day to decide if more oil is needed ; 3,4 or more coats are not unusual. The next day you may decide that you need more just to the areas that have fully absorbed the oil. I'd not wax it for 6 months, if at all; an oil finish sometimes needs a touch up if it looks dry (depends on the wood and climate). Scratches can be fixed with more oil and the wet & dry paper.

  Apply oil on a warm day, warm oil is the best oil.

Pine, Cedar and Fir

  These are soft woods with open grain. If your old loom has traces of old finish on it that are in fair condition, my choice would be wax for any wood (very traditional). I like Johnson's, in the round flat, yellow can. It's a paste wax, it'll  take a couple of coats. Put one on, wipe off excess after 10 minutes, wait an hour, then put on another coat. Also for any wood I like a brushing lacquer such as Deft. This can't be put on indoors, it has lots of fumes. After the first coat dries, lightly sand with extra fine sandpaper, wait 2 hours, put on second coat, repeat for a third top coat. There is a possibility with old looms, that there is already some wax on it, which could interfere with some finishes; you can clean the loom with turpentine, this removes wax and oil. Good old varnish is also easy to apply, but I prefer the others better. The wax won't give you a high gloss,  but it enhances antiques. If the loom were to be stored on an open porch, I'd say use marine varnish, matte if possible.

I personally avoid linseed oil or silicone products for wood.

Bill Koepp in Central California

Linseed oil can be used if it is the 'Boiled' type.  These have 'dryers' in them to speed the drying time.  'Boiled' does not mean it was heated to the boiling point.  As a finish, it is at best a tiresome process of applying it warm mixed with turpentine.  An old finish used on a number of antiques I own.

On waxes, for most finishes a good hard paste wax is a fine protective coating.  I would recommend a light coat every six months or so on your wood warp and breast beams.  I use Lundmark Clear Paste Wax that is 100% carnuba wax (the hardest natural wax) softened to working consistency with turpentine.  Follow the directions on the can.  It can be applied over Danish Oil finishes after about 3-4 weeks, depending upon room temperature and humidity.  I get it at local hardware stores, like ACE or True Value or Do It Best affiliates.  Not found at the big home centers.

Walt T.

   I have an old Union Victory Loom, circa world war II.  It was in dire need of some TLC when I got it. I used a product call Bri-Wax on it. Comes in a can like Johnson's paste wax.  Rub it on with fine steel wool, wait a few minutes and rub with a soft, clean cloth.  Do fairly small areas at a time.  It seems to work well over old varnish as well as bare spots with no finish.  My loom is oak and it is still beautiful after almost 12 years of constant use.  Bri-Wax comes in different shades to match your particular wood. 

Norma, in beautiful West Virginia

   I also us Briwax as the final finish on the looms I build as well as on furniture etc. I am pleased with the product. I figured if it was good enough for the antiques in Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, it would be good on my looms. (Briwax is one of those rare products which enjoys the royal seal 'By order to H.R.M. Queen Elizabeth II etc.)  I'm not sure how much time she spends waxing looms but I have seen the antiques at Windsor Castle.

Harry in Vancouver
   I just restored the finish on my third old loom and thought I'd share what I've learned.  I start by cleaning the wood with very hot water and Murphy's oil soap.  When it is completely dry I give it a soft sand with 440 grit sandpaper - the black sand paper with an extra fine grit.  Sand just enough to rough up the old finish and take off old dirt and grime.  Don't sand down to the bear wood.  Wipe all the sanding dust off with a tack cloth. Apply one or two coats of Minwax wipe-on poly which you can find at X-mart..  I apply it with a clean white cotton sock over my hand.  The wipe-on avoids drips and the Minwax doesn't have that plastic look that polyurethane sometimes gives you.  It looks like a hand rubbed finish. 



> I have some water spots on the loom. I'm not sure
> how the wood was finished originally.  Does anyone
> know, or what I can do with the spots?

  I personally wouldn't do anything to the loom if the grain isn't raised in that spot.

  To paraphrase Bruce Johnson, furniture expert and author of several books on refinishing, leave it alone to see if the moisture dries out or try low heat with a hair drier ( carefully ) to help it dry out. If the loom is in a humid area, that can take some time. Failing that, rottonstone with a little turpentine can be rubbed on the surface to remove some water stains. White rings are water in the finish, black rings are water in the wood. I'd start by taking the loom parts into the house where it's drier and wait a few weeks to see what happens.

Re: " The Weekend Refinisher ", by Bruce Johnson, ISBN 0-345-35886-X

Bill Koepp

  Wanted to add a caution.  If you use Linseed Oil, be VERY CAREFUL with the rags.  They can spontaneously catch fire when left wadded up.  Seems amazing, but it can happen quite quickly.  Check the manufacturer's directions, but I believe it is recommended to store used rags in a metal can or immersed in water.

"I've used danish oil many times and would recommend it for almost all woods except Pine, Cedar or Fir."

Bill K.
"I have an old fashioned recipe to feed and finish old wood that I just love! Even the smell brings back memories."

"As a finish, it is at best a tiresome process of applying it warm, mixed with turpentine."

Walt T. about Linseed Oil
"Bri-Wax comes in different shades to match your particular wood."

Norma W.Va.
"White rings are water in the finish, black rings are water in the wood."

Bill Koepp
"Wanted to add a caution.  If you use Linseed Oil, be VERY CAREFUL with the rags."