Tag Archives: steel wool

Leclerc Nilart – Dismantling, Cleaning, Polishing, & Refinishing

dsc00001I spent the day hauling in various parts of our Nilart loom.  I started with scouring the heddle support bars on the harnesses using 0000 super fine steel wool.  The loom is in great shape.  Nevertheless, these bars are steel and as such subject to corrosion.  Dust and grime also accumulate…in this case 42 years worth.  While it did not seem significant, once I did this, the heddles slid back-and-forth like they are now on ice skates!  I also lightly sanded the wood on the harnesses and wiped on a light coating of boiled linseed oil…my favourite natural finish.  While the finish on Leclerc looms is nice, it is far from being a fine-furniture grade.  Some of the wood’s roughness is from an incomplete sanding on the wood, and some is from roughness on the part of the varnish application.  Sanding with fine sandpaper and then rubbing with linseed oil makes for a smooth-as-glass finish.

The reed was likewise tarnished and grimy.  Steel wool worked off the worst.  Then with a new polishing wheel I worked in between the reeds.  It came out incredibly smooth.

Before scouring…

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After polishing…

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I went on to the larger pieces of the loom, sanding and finishing…

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The canvas on the front take-up reel was dirty…

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…and got washed; the rear one will be done tomorrow when I dismantle the rear beam apparatus.  And then the metal parts were scoured…

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It’s coming out quite nicely.  There is no reason to not do this.  First of all an evaluation of all parts should be made…better now than when I load up my first warp and find out that there is a problem, that’s for sure!  But just the prospect of alleviating any unnecessary friction in a loom that works 12 shafts will surely prove to be a benefit in the end.  Better now than later.  Today the windchill was -35, so it seems to be a great time to do this.

And it is turning out beautifully.

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Restoring Harnesses

Restoring three harnesses required twelve hours of work today; I was in no rush. The easy part was unhooking them from the rollers. The roller ropes were not original and need to be replaced.  All parts of the harness needed to be reworked…wood, screws, brackets, heddle bars, heddles…

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Steel-wooling the frames allowed for application of aluminum paint…

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Polishing hardware on a buffing wheel restored its lustre…

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Each harness holds contained between 324 and 347 heddles.  I removed them from the heddle bars and steel wooled the bars and replaced the heddles all with the same orientation (the ends are different).  After refinishing the wood I reassembled the frames….

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Grouping heddles in 10’s I was able to divide them into exactly half, placing each half on their own respective side of the centre heddle bar supports…

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I have one more harness to finish tomorrow, then the rollers, and finally the reassembly of the loom and several more coats of boiled linseed oil.

This is tedious and methodical work, and I extremely enjoying doing it.  Not only is the restoration starting to look nice, I am also finding it a great way to fully understand the mechanics of the loom itself…