Monday, 11 March 2013

Danish Oil, the hidden allergen

Back in December I introduced Hiawatha the Indian Spinner that I am restoring.  Well I wasn't very happy with the finish!  I had only given it a light sand and then used a wood balsam which I had imagined would be enough, but it wasn't the finish that I had envisaged.  If you looked hard you could still see where the varnish had been - so back to basics.

Wax and varnish remover and several hours of sanding and I am now getting back to the bare wood (which is pine) which isn't too bad considering that the previous owner had liberally covered the wheel in several coats of the retched varnish which unfortunately hadn't prevented water damage to the legs.....

It does look worse than it is, and a good sanding has removed a lot of the surface damage and I am determined to take my time and do a good job this time!

But what to use - most of the knowledgeable spinners on Ravelry use Danish Oil, mainly I think because it contains some wax, so giving a deep shine while also nourishing the wood.  But, and here's the rub, it contains Tung Oil which comes from the Tung Tree (Vernicia fordii ) or the China Wood Oil Tree.  The oil is made by pressing the seed from the nut and is a drying oil, that is one that hardens on exposure to air.  Note this - it comes from a nut!  I had an allergic reaction to this oil, a serious asthma attack not just a bit of a wheeze but a full blown gasping to breath type attack - not good.

So what else - a bit of research into the subject of drying oils reveals that most of the propriety brands of oil contain tung oil - gun oil is red root oil, but I can't find out what red root oil is exactly - it is used on the stock of guns and seems to give a red finish - so not really what I want for my spinning wheel.

At the moment I am trying Lemon Oil, which comes Lemon Grass, not the Lemon Tree!

One of the methods recommended was to use a very fine steel wool 0000 grade or more and apply wax three times wiping with white spirit in between each wax - thought that this sounded a good method, so this morning I decided to clean and polish the new to me Haldane bobbins for my Orkney(a recent Ebay purchase) and although the results are pretty good I need to wait for the very fine wool and remember to let the wax dry - between applications which should eliminate the need to buff!

The one on the left is the cleaned and waxed one - hope it shows!

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