In October 2016, I went to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival (SAFF) with several friends. A subset of those who went are members of the monthly spinning group I attend. We found a good deal on an unfinished Kromski Fantasia and split the cost so that we could have a spinning wheel to use for teaching people to spin when they stop by our group or for members of our group to borrow to learn to wheel spin. I brought the wheel home to finish it.
I decided to finish the wheel with Danish Oil. I also decided to apply Danish Oil to my 15″ Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom. I started working on both in December 2016. I applied clear Danish oil to the wheel and dark walnut to the loom. I applied three coats, waiting at least 24 hours between coats and making sure that they were dry to the touch before applying the next coat. I was trying to finish them before Orlando Distaff Day 2017, which was on the first Saturday of 2017. I signed up to do a wheel assembly demo and planned to bring all the parts of the Fantasia with me and assemble it at the event.
Early on the Friday morning before Distaff Day, I applied the fourth and final coat of Danish Oil. That Friday night and into Saturday morning it POURED. We’d had no rain for weeks and it felt like the sky had saved all the rain we should have gotten and dumped it all at once. The pieces of the loom and wheel were on the workbench out in the garage, which is where I’d been working on this project. The garage is not climate control. When I got up on Saturday morning, the loom and wheel were both tacky to the touch. In fact, they were tackier than they had been when I applied the fourth coat on Friday morning. Obviously, there was no way I could bring them to Distaff Day!
I left the loom and wheel on the workbench for 3 or 4 weeks. They were still tacky. I brought them into the house, and laid them out around the house on any spare flat surface. I figured they would dry better in the climate-controlled house. Every month or so, I checked the pieces and they were still tacky, though it did seem as though they were slowly improving.
In the spring and summer of 2017, I took some woodworking classes, including one on finishing wood projects. I asked the teachers about my problem. They shook their heads. In all likelihood, the reason for this problem was that the earlier coats weren’t cured as well as I thought they were. I could continue to let the pieces to sit. I could try to wipe them down with mineral spirits, which is the solvent for Danish Oil.
Since the fall of 2017 was so crazy here — Hurricane Irma left us with no power and no water / water restrictions for a week, my mother-in-law’s health declining, my husband getting laid off — I did not think about the loom and wheel pieces at all. When I checked them in late December, for the first time in months, I discovered that they were slightly sticky, but not so much so that you could see my fingerprint on the surface. I decided to try wiping them down with mineral spirits to see what happened. I did just the pieces of the stand for the rigid heddle loom. I figured that was the easiest thing to replace if the mineral spirits ruined the pieces rather than improving them. I wiped the pieces down three times, letting the pieces dry in between. Then I had something else to do and forgot about them.
When we came home from our Christmas in New Jersey, my husband finished the project he’d left on the workbench when he unexpectedly left 3 weeks earlier. Then he asked me what projects I have to do. Due to the high humidity of our summers, woodworking is a winter task here and he knew that I’d been saving up some projects, waiting for the weather to co-operate. I checked the three pieces of the loom stand and found that they were no longer sticky. The mineral spirits worked! For the past two days, I’ve been working on the remaining loom pieces and the wheel pieces.
This morning, I wiped down the pieces with mineral spirits for the fourth time. The repeated coats of mineral spirits seem to be doing their work! It’s been humid the last two days and I think that this has caused more of the oil to come to the surface. Despite this, the pieces are clearly improving and becoming less sticky overall. For some of the pieces, this fourth coat should be the last coat I need to apply. I will need to flip a couple of the pieces over so I can do the back. My previous despair and fear that I’d ruined two expensive pieces of equipment have given way to hope. I think this is going to work!