Monday, January 14, 2013

New Old Loom: its own little circle

To clean rust in these very tiny gaps (15 gaps per inch) I began with steel wool, then tried wire brushing after WD 40.
I am travelling around the edge of a new circle. Eventually, I will travel the smaller and smaller paths as I spiral toward the center of it.  I call this circle New Old Loom.

Weaving is a much used and often overused metaphor for working on your life, but like so many things, weaving comes with its own WHOLE LIFE. I was gifted a wonderful old floor loom (read about it here: Asking + Action = Attraction . So, I get to weave. Grow. Create and contemplate while doing it.  I have a New Old Loom and along with it I have been gifted hours and hours of assembly and rust removal. Contemplative time.
Next, I tried other grades of steel wool and tiny strips of fine sandpaper. I can make the outside shiny but the inside remains rough. I tested the "cleaned" spaces with the little piece of 40/2 linen, and it frays. As a last resort, Naval Jelly will turn the rust into a neutral coating that I can scrub off.  I taped the wrapped-thread rails to keep the Naval Jelly off them and followed the instructions. I include all of this because when I searched the web for hints on cleaning rusted reeds I found very little. Mostly, advice that it can't be done well enough and the reed must be replaced.  Plus, I find pictures reassuring, maybe the next reed cleaner will enjoy finding these.
I am trying to make the rust work as enjoyable as possible by lighting candles or incense, visualizing the wonderful woven goods that will roll from my beams after I have my darling's parts smooth, even having a lovely cup of tea handy. This last is kind of tricky because I am wearing a dust mask while I use all the steel wool and stuff. I could probably design a tasty tea delivery system to work with the mask if I weren't so committed to staying focused on this rust until it is gone. No distraction. No project hopping.

Project hopping will take me out of this circle and make me start another circle. I want to stay put.

Those would be some legendary parties, though.
This is where the biggest obstacle to weaving lies. While I rub and polish and sand and Never Ever swear at all I have my mind on a leash so it doesn't wander completely off and go shopping for the materials to build a yacht. Or a fence around our raised beds. Or teach the dachshund to balance on my big exercise ball. Wouldn't that be awesome? She could do it at parties and our parties would become legendary! Woah- pull back... It's kind of a bungee leash, so I am always having to pull my wandering mind back from somewhere where another project looks much better than this one.

The project my mind is on is seldom a project already underway. Those projects are not interesting and my skibbly little mind has explored them as much as needed because they were the mind-wandering destinations for previous hobby activities. Hobbies can eat your house, and vice versa, but I don't want to live without either one (I have friends who would happily live without a house if they could bed down in a Hobby Lobby or Michael's at night).

So, radio. I am not a big background sound person, but keeping the radio on might keep me from dreaming up a more compelling project than rust removal. Let's face it, after 4 hours of smoothing little delicate rusted reed fins and heddles replacing all the wax rings under the toilets is more compelling.

If I am going off on a non-weaving mental stroll and the radio doesn't work I want to at least redirect my head to wander over and think through some of those half done... mostly done projects I have that fall more firmly into the category of Home Repair and Improvement than Hobby. I often confuse them because I enjoy working on the house so much. Its just as satisfying as creating, just less portable. I hope this works, because my ability to picture how good it's going to look when the last piece of molding goes into place is blinding me a little to how many little "finish-ups" there are here. Stay tuned, Divine Reader. I pledge to report honestly on whether or not I am working on new or old projects.

Back to the rust part of the weaving circle.
After two rounds of Naval Jelly, the reed is covered with a film of black ex-rust and grey phosphorus coating. I can scrub this off the outside with steel wool and brass brushes (see the stripes where I tried each one), but between the fins the metal remains pitted and rough. It seems like the advice was right- if I want a reed this fine I need to buy a new smooth one.  Drat! 5 hours of subborn effort decides it. I will send for a stainless 10 dent reed


  1. *snort*...replacing all the wax rings under the toilets...
    I laughed out loud - so loud my husband asked me what was so funny. I'm sorry it ended up being a waste of time, but I understand the need to at least try. Good luck with this, I know nothing about weaving but am interested in seeing what you do with the loom.

    1. My first snort! I saw this just before I fell asleep last night and it made me smile. You made my night, Aliln

  2. Just a thought here, There is another product called Metal Rescue. It used to be sold at Menards, but now apparently exclusively at Home Depot. It looks and smells like water and is safe on everything 'except rust'. You will need to soak the reed, but it will remove all or the rust overnight - turning the metal to a charcoal grey which is easily shined up. I've had good success with this.

    Another possibility is 'sandpaper in a string'. There are rolls of black sandpaper that come in various grades. They're used for sanding/polishing grooves and forms.

    The third suggestion is to use a wire brush wheel on an electric drill or Dremel tool. This provides a lot more 'strokes' with a lot less effort and usually a much smoother finish than by hand.

    Keep weavin'
    Tom Z in IL


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