Thursday, July 6, 2017

Weaver's Friend Shafts and Heddle Repair

This loom only has two shafts, so it would seem like the restoration of these parts should go quickly. That is an erroneous assumption, because there are a lot of small parts that make these two shafts do their job well, and ended up being a two day job. Of course, I was not working on them more than a few minutes at a time.

The cast shaft brackets were removed and shown in my previous post.

The long metal bars fit into a couple brackets that are attached to the loom frame.
The metal heddles on this loom were not in real bad condition.  They had a little surface rust, but nothing that couldn't be fixed.

I removed them by threading craft chenille wires through the top and bottom loops while still on the shafts, to keep them in order. For a two shaft rug loom, there were a lot of heddles. I wired them into eight bundles and then pulled the shaft bars out of the shafts.
I started the process of removing the rust on the heddles by soaking them in a tub of vinegar, one bundle at a time.

My energy level was just coming back following my most recent chemo treatment, so this was a good project, taking just a few minutes at a time.
After soaking for a while, I took a scrub brush to the bundle to remove any loose rust and then rinsed them.
I mixed a jar of water and baking soda to give a final neutralizing rinse before blotting on paper towels.
I placed the bundle on a tray in my oven, set at 200 degrees F. to dry.

I just left them in the oven until I was ready for the next bundle, anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours.

After removing them from the oven, I sprayed the bundle with silicone to keep rust from forming again.  They will need to be wiped down well before using them to make sure any dark residue is removed.  I will make sure to not use a white warp for the first run of rugs.
An electric sander was the quickest way to remove the corrosion on the shaft bars.
I almost forgot to sand the edges, the most important surfaces of the bars. The heddles won't slide without them being smooth.

I finished up with a silicone spray.
The wooden frames weren't in too bad of shape.  I started by sanding them just enough to remove any lose finish, but not enough to remove the stain.
I have tried numerous things to spruce up the finish, but found that sanding, followed by wiping well with lacquer thinner gave the best results if the stain was pretty well intact. It helped smooth out the remaining finish and stain.

Once all the loom pieces are prepped, I will finish all the wood with a polyurethane varnish.