Oak beams

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!!

Dining room beams – light in colour, dry and unwaxed

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:

  1. Brush the beam with a soft brush to remove any dust and loose dirt.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.