June 23, 2008

it's here!

Actually, the new spinning wheel and the roving both showed up last Thursday. The roving is a pound of Corridale wool top. The wheel is an Ashford Traveller and came in a flat box, unfinished. Yesterday I finally had time to start finishing the wood prior to assembly. First, I went into the garage to see if there was anything suitable already here at home. Hmmm, teak oil, danish furniture oil in light walnut, oil stains in both english chestnut and ebony. Oh, and a container of satin wax finish.

Well, the wax finish can be used, but the wood needs to be treated first. The wheel is made of New Zealand Silver Birch, which is a light colored wood with some pinkish tones. I'd like it to be a little darker, but ebony, walnut and chestnut are all darker than I want. Something closer to a natural cherry would be nice. I did a test with the teak oil, and while it brought out the grain nicely, it didn't really seem to soak into the wood. So off to the local big box hardware store. I know there are probably better choices in where to find furniture finishing stuff, but with the current heat wave still going strong, I just don't feel like trying to track something down. (I swear, a couple of days ago it was sooooo hot, wearing clothes hurt!)

Part of what I don't like about shopping at the bb hardware store for this stuff is that none of the help there really knows anymore than I do about furniture finishing - so I'm on my own. After reading little cans of oils and stains, and looking at the little colored wood samples, in either oak or pine only btw, I finally decide to just use tung oil, and then finish up with the wax finish.

Applying the tung oil took a lot longer than I expected, but all the pieces, except 3 of the bobbins, had the first coat applied yesterday. Since the bobbins are the only bits that come into contact with the fiber, I wasn't sure if I should put any finish on them at all. I decided to try just one and see how things went. Today I'm driving my cousins up to LAX, so I don't know if I'll have time to apply the recommended second coat today or not. Instructions on the wax finish say the oil coat has to dry for 72 hours before applying, so maybe by this weekend I can actually try my hand at spinning. The pics show the bits after the first coat of tung oil, you can see the unfinished bobbins next to the wheel, and the pinkish tint is seen on the leg pieces.

All this has me toying with the idea of designing and building my own spinning wheel. I'd love to come up with something a little more modern, to blend in with more contemporary furnishing, and perhaps easily portable as well. Whether or not this idea goes anywhere remains to be seen.

1 comment:

  1. Cool, we got our wheels about the same time. Mine is also a Traveller, and I'm thrilled with it. I'm also enthralled with the Schlacht ladybug, if you haven't seen it, give yourself a treat.

    There's a book you can probably get on interlibrary loan called Anyone Can build a Spinning Wheel by WC West. It is copyright 1974, ISBN 9-913664-06-5. One of those rare old goodies that is buried on the public library shelves, but could be useful if you decide to build your own.