Advice to clean rough oak boards - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-06-2019, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Advice to clean rough oak boards

I'm looking to clean some rough sawed oak boards that have been exposed to dirt and water. My goal is to keep the saw marks and the rough look as much as possible. The plan is to use these to construct my bar top. I live in Minnesota so taking them outside to wash and scrub isn't an option.

How do I clean these up and maintain the "rustic" look?

Thanks in advance.

LW
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-06-2019, 03:29 PM
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I was going to suggest pressure washing, though I can see your environment may not lend itself to that. What about a wire wheel with fine of medium bristles?

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post #3 of 8 Old 01-06-2019, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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I thought about that too. Would the wire leave marks on the wood? I should try it on a scrap piece.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-06-2019, 05:49 PM
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I would not use the wire wheel. Surely, even in Minn. you have some days where you could do some pressure washing. I am looking at the current Minn. weather map and the southern half of the state would be OK.


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post #5 of 8 Old 01-06-2019, 11:59 PM
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The power washer would be the better method. Wait for a halfway warm day or put the job off until spring.
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-07-2019, 05:27 AM
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Your local car wash should have a power sprayer. Most in UK have them to clean the wheels.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-07-2019, 10:11 AM
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I like Oxalic Acid for cleaning raw wood with stains:
as with any project where products and conditions are different
from other parts of the world; TESTING is always a good practice.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-08-2019, 01:55 AM
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My go-to tool for reclaimed wood is the Porter Cable Restorer with the Stainless Steel Wire Wheel Attachment. It does a great job of removing dirt, loose wood particles and other accumulations on reclaimed or other wood, while leaving the natural features on the wood (saw marks, grain, etc.). The surface left behind is pleasant to the touch, quite clean (though staining that is deep in the wood will remain), and have a very natural appearance that doesn't have to undergo special drying after washing with any liquids.

For dust collection I use a shop vac / Dust Deputy combination connected to the tool, though a full-size dust collector with hose attachment can work too. You can operate the Restorer without dust collection but, depending on the condition of the wood you are cleaning, you will find a LOT of dust and debris on the floor, driveway or wherever you decide to work. I highly recommend using dust collection (notably the shop vac / DD combo) and it does a great job of gathering the particles as they are removed.

With the reclaimed wood I process, I typically remove the nails and such from the wood, cut out sections that are deteriorated, badly deformed or overly filled with nails, mark nail pieces that I am unable to remove (broken below the surface, etc.) with a circle of chalk, then run the Restorer on all surfaces. I then cut the wood into sections that are easy to store or to dimensions that I will be needing for a project.

I have used the Restorer / Wire Wheel on quite a few boards and it is holding up very well - definitely worth the cost. There are likely a variety of videos on YouTube of the Restorer in action.


https://www.woodcraft.com/products/r...ld-drum-sander

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/s...cable-restorer

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