Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Refinishing Loom Update

The name of my loom
I have spent the last month refinishing my Mother's old loom.

This is the same loom that sat in our kitchen when I was a kid.  Others have breakfast tables in their kitchens...we had an old counterbalance loom.   My Mother painted it black when she got it and used it a lot to weave tapestries until she got an upright loom.  When she gave this loom to me way back when, I too had it touched up with black paint.

So far, I have finished stripping off what was there, sanding, staining, dyeing and finishing with three coats of clear coat.   I had discovered when removing all the old crud that the name of the loom was branded into the wood.  It is made by Hammett of Cambridge Mass.  It's model number is 401.  

Originally I had wanted to stain the wood a very dark black, but I decided to go a bit lighter to retain the name of the loom on the sides.  I went with an ebony stain which showed off the grain in many places and was light enough to make the writing remain faintly visible.  It took awhile to convince myself I did not want it all pure black...all my life I have seen this loom as pure black...so it never looked quite dark enough....never quite right.  But now, I am moving forward with a deep blackish brown.  I can't wait to see it put all together!

The new look...
Most interestingly, I also discovered why I think Mom painted it black.  A number of the pieces took the stain differently.  Some of the pieces were different woods which would explain the different colors.  Plus, I am sure there were some places that I did to get everything off I should have.  

I had pieces in a multitude of shades of brownish blacks after a couple of ebony stain coats.  These were obvious differences.  Every treadle was different!  Plus, the beaters and back beams had a tinge of yellow which would be obvious even in the poor light of my studio.   Fortunately, a friend's spouse turned me on to black leather dye which allowed me to darken some of the pieces to match the others.

I must admit that dyeing the wood was scary but quite fun; clearly the most artistic part of this project. I was never sure how much dye to use nor whether the liquid I used to dilute it would work.  But once I darkened one piece there always seemed to be another to darken.  Just yesterday, I added some dye to the clear finish in order to darken a few treadles just a tad more.   Finally, I like the shades of all 40 pieces.

Parts inventory
Now that the finished pieces are migrating back to my studio from the garage it's time to tackle the rusty hardware...and there is a lot of it!  

More later.  

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