I haven’t posted in a very long time b/c life is too crazy for me to keep up on all this, but I had a couple of pics to share with my friends in the Kromski Spinning Wheel Owners group on Ravelry. I bought an unfinished Kromski Minstrel and planned to stain it cherry with some stenciled staining on the treadles and wheel in dark walnut gel stain, finished off with a rub-on polyeurethane. However, Carol (Doowicky) informed me of a wonderful product, Briwax, which is a blend of beeswax, carnauba wax, and toluene that is available in tinted varieties. Using Briwax, the finishing of my Minstrel went from an at least week long project to one labor-intensive day project.
A little explanation of the stenciled staining: I wanted to represent both of my grandmothers with the stained treadles. I knew from the start that I wanted a peony on one treadle to represent my father’s mother. My mother’s mother was a harder nut to crack. I finally came up with perfection. When my grandmother had passed away, she left me one of her Doulton Ladies, Southern Belle. I was looking at the figurine the other night and decided to copy the shoe for the other treadle. My grandmother had written some of her remembrances down for us to have after she passed away. She told a story of me as a baby being discovered playing with a mess in my diaper. At this point in her story, she addressed me saying, “Don’t feel bad about this; when I was a little girl, I pooped in my dad’s shoe.” I think its kind of funny that that was the last thing that my grandma ever said to me, so it had to be a shoe.
I planned to stencil these images in walnut, but was concerned that the stain would bleed underneath the stencil, so instead I drew the images on the wood and used Elmer’s glue to protect the wood that was not to receive walnut stain. The next day, using a damp rag, I cleaned off the glue. It worked fairly well, except you can see some staining from the glue around the shoe.
Using Briwax in Dark Brown, I applied the wax using 0000 steel wool to all raw wood and polished it off with t-shirt material. I used a toothbrush to get into the crevices. Before I learned of Briwax, I had stained the whorls, bobbins, and orifice hook in cherry, so I applied the Briwax to these items using t-shirt material and did the same for the treadles. I had used a pre-stain wood conditioner on the treadles before the stenciled staining and that seems to have made the Briwax go on slightly unevenly there, but I am still happy with the results. I have not applied the Briwax to the walnut stained teardrops on the spokes of the wheel yet b/c I want the stain to set in the wood first, but it helps to show the effects of the Dark Brown Briwax pretty well by comparison. I also have included a photo of the flyer and bobbin b/c the bobbin was stained with cherry and finished with the Briwax, but the flyer was only coated with Briwax. You notice a bit of variation between the two, but its not overwhelming.
These pictures on my monitor look a little bit reddish, but there is really no red in the Briwax finish (the pieces with cherrry stain do have a slight reddish tinge). Other than that, I think that the finish was adequately captured in these pictures. That said, it is prettier in person. I hope you like it and that you may consider using Briwax if you have a wheel that needs finishing; it really was a pleasure to work with.
PS: That overly twisted yarn on the bobbin, some of that was my doing, but my husband couldn’t resist trying his hand too, so the REALLY twisted bits are his.