Friday, 7 August 2009

Builders!











Good morning bloggers - it is a lovely morning here; the sun is shining and there is a light breeze. That does not mean to say that it is good hay-making weather (too soft, says the farmer, whatever that means) but hay-making is having to take place as this is the first spell of fine weather for many a day. A lot of the grass is now cut and lying, to be tossed up later today and left again. In between times the farmer is also the builders' labourer. Today it is the day of the utility room roof - old one coming off, new one (and insulation) going on. So there is a lot of noise to contend with. Still, we are not down hearted - some jobs have been finished which now gives me something to start on.
The dining room fireplace has been changed for a wood burning stove and that is done and the chimney breast has been replastered. I must say it is looking rather nice. Now I can take the blue-fronted drawers outside one by one, rub them down and repaint them in my chosen colour scheme. So that is today's job and I shall start it shortly.
Just one thing before i go - has anyone any experience of treating English Oak? In the photograph you will see that above the stove is a shelf - this is a nice piece of English Oak, very nicely marked. The builder suggests that I treat it with clear wax so that it gets a sheen. Has anyone done anything like this - if so I would be grateful of advice - brush or cloth, how many coats etc.
Have a good day!

16 comments:

steven said...

hello weaver, what a busy place you're living inside - i expect it usually is being a farm but especially with the retooling, rebuilding, reconfiguring that's going on. the woodstove is sweet and you'll love it come wintertime! as for the refinishing question - well i was brought up to be a painter, a writer, a thinker, a good housecleaner, gardener, and a few other things that ensured i earned enough money to be able to hire men to do the big maintenance work around here!!! now my brother was raised to strip down jaguar engines, rebuild houses, plumbing, electrical work, etc. so i'll write him and see if he has any thoughts. have a (well peaceful doesn't really fit here does it?!) productive day!!! steven

Cathy said...

It looks like the Farmer has it all under control and the stove looks beautiful. I'm sure you will find something beautiful to put on that mantle.

Golden West said...

Hi Weaver - When refinishing antiques, we've always used a dark walnut stain to get the "English oak" color (regular oak stain gives the wood a too yellow/gold look), followed with a couple coats of lacquer sanding sealer (satin finish). You can use 000 steel wool between coats and follow up with a good quality wood wax. Try to avoid the polyurethanes an stick with a nice lacquer if you can.

Your project is coming right along and looking great!

Dave King said...

Oh, I do wish you hadn't... we're shortly to go through a similar transformation. I've been trying not to think about it.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

In the old days, you would finish such a mantle with boiled linseed oil thinned with turpentine or mineral spirits. This would be applied in several thin coats—brushed on or just wiped on with a rag, and allowed to dry completely between coats. The oil penetrated the first layer of wood, giving a good finish. This mix was used for everything from hardwood floors to fine furniture to hoe handles, and is still useful and easy.

If you want to stain it beforehand you can, or you can add a tiny bit of stain to the oil mix; the linseed oil/turpentine mix on its own will darken the wood slightly, though not much. (Linseed oil is simply flaxseed oil, by the way—same as the oil in those capsules from the health food store.)

After treating, you then apply a good paste wax. This makes a nice deep finish with not too much sheen—not bright shiny like varnish, for example.

There are modern alternatives to linseed oil mix…though you'll have to compare them on a brand-to-brand basis. Personally, for something like this, I like a finish that goes "in" the wood rather than "on" it. I would second that vote on avoiding polyurethane.

The important thing is to take your time. If you have some scraps left over from the building, try a finish on a piece of that first. Better to waste a few dollars/pounds/euros on a can of prepared finish (or the linseed oil mix) and throw it away than get something on a piece you're going to have to live with, like it or not.

Hope this helps.

I love the little stove, by the way.

Pondside said...

That stove will keep you cozy all winter. I love ours - keep it going for days on end in the deep damp of winter.
I have to agree with the grizzled scribe re the finish for your piece of oak - the linseed oil is the ticket - 'in' rather than 'on'.

Denise Burden said...

Well Weaver, I've renovated lots of furniture over the years so first of all i would, of course, sand it down then add some teak oil applied with rags. Leave this to soak in for a few days. Then buy some neutral wax (cannot remember the name but its in a blue tin) from Wrays and apply it with wire wool. Leave for 10/20 mins then buff up. Reaply the wax and buff (sometimes days/weeks/months apart)until you reach the desired patina. I would not reccomend a stain as it is difficult to achieve a natural looking finish.
Feel free to call by to have a look at the pieces i have "done up". (Weaver lives nearby!)
Most are in the holiday home and Sat.10-3 is changeover day and therefore empty of guests.

Sara said...

You're going to be nice & toastie in front of that stove this Winter. It reminded me of a reason to be cheerful about the nights drawing in - lovely, cosy family evenings.

Teresa said...

Mornin' Weaver!

I've finally escaped from the blueberry bushes! :-)

Love your wood burning stove. I used to live in a home with one and I really enjoyed it.... warms the house very well... and I enjoyed cooking on/in it too!

elizabethm said...

Love the stove and have used the wire wool and beeswax technique on oak doors and pine too. Seems to work well and you can easily rub down if it gets marked (more of a problem with pine than oak) and apply again.

The Weaver of Grass said...

You brilliant people - you have all responded beautifully to my request for help in waxing the oak shelf. Shall purchase the necessary bits and pieces when I go into town tomorrow and when it is all done I shall post it again to show before and after. Thank you all so much.
Dave - keep calm, think nice thoughts, refuse to get het up - that is my philosophy although must admit it has worn a bit thin today.

Heather said...

Your new chimney breast and wood burning stove look lovely Weaver. I don't really know how to treat English Oak but would go for putting the wax on with a cloth and buffing between applications and possibly give it time to soak in before the next. Stop when it looks the way you like it and after that polish with beeswax. Hope the weather holds for the hay making. We have had a lovely day here too.

Gramma Ann said...

It's nice to have a neighbor close by to talk to about the oak wood project, if you need help. The stove looks cozy and warm on a cool winter night or day. We are in the process of remodeling a house we bought about a month ago. But, fortunately no one is living in it. When it is finished we will rent it to a friend and his son.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

Living in Yorkshire - the home of cricket - you'll just have to use linseed oil, like they do on the bats!! Glad it's all coming along and hope today may be a little less noisy for you.

maggi said...

Lovely log burner. I had one fitted earlier in the year and wished I had done it earlier.

BT said...

What an improvement Weaver. The wood burning stove is lovely. I think the Grizzled But.... has given you the best advice and I would go with that. Good luck with it.