Saturday, January 21, 2006

I Like It With Lots Of Tung.

Despite the somewhat evocative post title, this entry may not be as interesting to the average fiber enthusiast as others, but it truly does apply. I promise!

It's a short lecture-of-sorts on the art of wood finishing! Sorry if you surfed here expecting something else. I'm sure Google can redirect you to what you were looking for speedily.

I am the daughter of a former Industrial Arts teacher who later went on to become the Director of two of Maine's largest Vocational/Technical Centers. Thus, I was raised in an environment rife with car repair, woodworking and electrical wiring. Dad wasn't necessarily the enlightened type who believed that a girl would benefit from doing any of this stuff, but, to be fair, I really never expressed any interest. However, it would be impossible not to absorb some skills when this is the stuff of life in your home.

One of the things that I picked up along the way is a love of quality wood finishes. Tung Oil, particularly when applied to cherry wood, is a favorite of mine. This is a penetrating oil derived from the nut of the tung tree and is not one of the more common finishes seen these days. However, it's super easy to apply and gives a beautiful finish. As an added bonus, it does not seal the wood, allowing it to darken and age naturally. It can be reapplied whenever the mood strikes without harming the wood or can be used with other finishes or sealers. And the fumes...oh baby! One minute I'm a middle-aged woman sitting in the middle of my kitchen with a rag in hand polishing a bobbin, the next it's 1985 and I'm back at the University of Maine with the gang swearing that, after graduation, we'll all buy a house and live together forever being wicked cool and never getting old. Fumey goodness, I'm tellin' ya!

So, for those of you who use wooden tools in your fiber crafts (and who doesn't?) this is a great way to finish them yourself. I've been working on the new bobbins that came a couple of weeks ago. For those who missed that scintillating post, here's where we started:

They were dusted off to remove any debris and the first coat was applied using a soft, clean rag. Following that, they were lightly buffed after five minutes or so. 24 hours later, I lightly sanded with extra fine steel wool and applied the second coat. 24 hours later, the process was repeated. Now, we have this:

I'll probably hit them with one more coat just to get the finish a bit darker, but they are looking just the way I wanted: the natural grain and markings in the wood are enhanced and they have this kind of light glow that the camera isn't going to pick up to my satisfaction. They smell to high heaven and the cats are beyond horrified, but I that just keeps them away from the good wood. Really, it's a benefit!

While those dry, I'm off to see my Scary Stylist for a trim and to hit the good old LYS to get some more yarn for Son of Skinny Scarf and the new rug project. I don't care that I don't have any money in my checking account courtesy of the failed direct deposit yesterday. I'm going to go on as if things had all just worked out this week. Denial is a beautiful thing.

Enjoy Your Day And Ignore The Stupid Stuff!


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