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In the reed

Okay, now the spinning wheel(s) are nicely sorted it's time to focus on the freebie loom I picked up before Christmas.

The very first thing to tackle is the reed. It's quite rusted but I think otherwise in good condition. If I can't successfully remove the rust then it's $200-400 for a new reed. If I was keeping the loom I'd probably buy a new reed, but as I plan on donating it then I'd rather not outlay that kind of cash.

So, the reed! First step is a good soak in some vinegar. I built a little trough for the reed to soak in out some from black plastic weed mat (which I used for dyeing warp chains) and some odds and sods.

Here's the reed having a nice long soak.

After half an hour or so I pulled the reed out and gave it a scrub with some steel wool to see how it was going. And the result was very satisfying!

And honestly, being given a gentle soak and then a good exfoliation? I'm kinda jealous.

The reed is coming up beautifully and there's no corrosion under that rust, the teeth are strong and smooth and won't damage threads as it moves over a warp. Gorgeous.

After the inital scrub I grabbed a straw cleaning brush and started cleaning in between the teeth. This was really finicky and tricky on the wrists, but was also giving a great result. You can see the top part of the reed here is cleaned fully, the middle part scrubbed and the bottom part left to be scrubbed.

Given how fiddly the full cleaning was going I decided to pause and finish another day. I rinshed the reed in water to neutralise the vinegar and left the reed to dry.

When I came back the next day it looked more rusty than I remembered it. Which was weird. So I gave it a quick scrub down with some vinegar soaked steel wool and left it to dry. When I came back in an hour... it was rusty again. Turns out this is a thing: flash rust.

I did some googling and all the solutions involved treating the metal with an oil or lubricant after it's cleaned and before it's dry. But this wouldn't work for a reed, which needs to be clean or it will stain your weaving. But I did see a product recommended a few times, so one day I popped out to Super Cheap Auto and picked up a can of Evapo-rust spray gel.

I'm hoping to have a quiet day soon to play with the reed again and get it back to a useable state.

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