As part of the prep, before painting the bedrooms, I have brushed down the exposed beams – very dusty and dirty work as they are very old and dry and some of the wood surfaces are very wood wormy and fragile.
As usual I have opened a can of worms!!
How to treat these old beams required some research. Beeswax is recommended however, as the beams are so rough and uneven, I think a solid wax would be a nightmare to apply! Linseed oil is not advised as it takes time to absorb and leaves a sticky, dust attracting surface. So, I have decided to apply a coat of Osmo Polyx wax oil to the exposed beams.
Osmo oil is a natural hard wax oil that will nourish and seal the beams, making them easier to dust and keep dust free. I have used it on furniture and floors and found it easy to apply and quick to dry.
To clean the oak beams:
- Brush the beam with a soft brush to remove any dust and loose dirt.
- Sand the wood to remove any traces of paint or varnish. Fine grade sandpaper and an electric sander are best for a smooth finish, without damaging the surface of the beams.
- Clean the surface of the beam with a mixture of vinegar and water – two parts water: one part vinegar. Spray the mixture onto a cloth to wipe the surface of the wood.
- Apply the oil with a soft paint brush, getting the oil into the small crevices in the wood. Wipe off any excess oil with a cloth. The oil will darken the oak however, it will lighten over time. I may add a layer of bees wax to the surface once the oil has dried.
I have oiled the beams in the little ‘practice’ bedroom and I am reasonably pleased with the result. I have had to sacrifice lighter wood for darker however, the oil will seal the wood to nourish it and make it easier to keep clean and dust free.