Finding Wood Wax in China

Yesterday was an adventure. With the new Ashford hot and yearning to be assembled and woven on, we desired to do what we could to protect the wood before weaving on it to avoid what may have happened to the Glimakra Freja which may have fallen prey to environmental temperature variations; we don’t know. All we do know is that the bottom beam warped so badly that the peg strip had to be tied on to the wood so that the warps of Let There Be Light! would suddenly detach themselves from the pegs.

A visit to a friend included an inquiry about wood stain. Unbeknownst to us, that was the wrong line of inquiry. A reminder yesterday prompted sojourn to a distant place where, we thought, the wood would be stained. Unfortunately, we spent 20 RMB to visit a lumber yard only to have lots of conversation but nothing productive arise from it.

Unwilling to delay, we and our friend began to comb the local shops, sellers of paint and other housing materials, to locate wood stain, polyurethane, wood oil akin to Danish Oil or something of that nature. Lots of nada, de nada, de nada. At one shop, the clerk offered up some one pound tins of something that could have possibly been varnish; we don’t know because he refused to open them since he did not want future customers to think he was (re)selling used products.

At that point, our friend, to whom we had gifted a small container of Vaseline, clicked in to the question about furniture oil, whipped out the bottle of Vaseline, and drew the perfect analogy. Just like the Vaseline protects skin, she declared, we were looking for something that would do the same for wood. She then upbraided us for not being clear enough in identifying what we wanted, and indicated that we need not have come on this lengthy cab ride to our then destination.

Another cab ride back to the city. There, in a shop selling paints and such, willing even to entertain linseed oil, which the shop did not have, we happened to espy a tin of wood wax. Excitement! Yes! This would do it! This would do it without the awful odor of varnish and the wait time for drying. Who wants to watch varnish dry? Not us!

So we used the wax. It was a bit like using solidified paraffin wax or kerosene, but we persevered and dressed the unassembled loom with two coats of wax. Thereafter, we polished it to bring out the beauty of the Ashford’s marvelous birch color and, admiring that beauty, were grateful that we found wax and not stain.

Now, the Ashford sits clamped to the dining table, anticipating its warping, eager to be put into service.