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I've been asked for my expertise -Ha - that's funny.. but anyway…

A gentleman is trying to restore a log house. The walls had been lathed (is that the word?) and plastered. He has taken down the plaster but now has white blotches on the wood. He wants to know what the best way is to clean up the wood and to finish it.

At this time I don't have any other information than that. Any advice (or further questions to ask)
 

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Are these "blotches" fungus growth? Are they hard or soft, moist or dry? Close up photos would help.
 

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it's leftover plaster that has gotten right into the wood.

how do you clean it up without damaging it. He doesn't want to sand it because it was "hand-hewn" if that's the right phrase, and wants to keep this natural look to it.
 

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To save the hand hewn look he might have to clean it up by hand. Sand blasting will change the texture of the pine. Raising the grain. Which by the way looks really cool. He might try a hand plane or cabinet scraper to see just how deep the stain runs. I'd consider working with stains or glazes to find a pleasing look and living with the blotches as part of the history of the structure.
 

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Try with a wire brush

there is a machine that normally one would find in a profesional shop, we have one in ours, its a bit like a portible hand planer, but instead of cutters it has a large brush about half the width of a rolling pin with stiff bristles, we use this to make woods, normally softwoods like pine and fur, to look more rustic. its quick, not too loud and does not destroy the wood or infuse it with sand. the hard year rings will stand out "rasing the grain" like denis mentioned. Then normally we use wax, or an oil wax mix to finish the wood, giving it a warm glow. bees wax is great it goes on easy, smells nice, and its wipe on wipe off excess and then give it a bit of a buff with a shoe brush.
 

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I think if by what debbie is saying that were the walls have been lathen plastered the white marks are proberly were the knots are in the timber which would mean theses to be quite deep …

as for the sand blasting there are different grains that can be used so you can reduce the raising of the grain as Dennis has surgested as for using a wire brush i think that pine is to soft and cause tiring in the grain
 

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I guess debbie just has to get more info…

apropro the wire brush does not tear the grain… well I guess it depends on how thick the bristles are, it just removes the soft early wood between the late wood. Thats kind of the point it gives it a rustic hand made look. I guess one could say it does "tear" a bit in the soft early wood… but it does not look torn, maybe most like it has been sanded a bit course.

Walnuts huh? sounds interestin, where does one get so many walnut shells… who eats that many walnuts anyway? ;-)
 

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as the truly expert you are
you have put on your glasses, whitecoat and impressive equipment
like paperblock,pencil, digitalcamara and a knife
look like you know every thing and has forgotten it all
see how deep the blotches are snap a photo
so wee can see how the timber is handhewn and close up off the "blotches" while
you using the knife to test the debt of them
say to him you will sendt it to the lab. (read L J)
then we will dig up some nice,crazy solutions for you

go to work and impress him ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
that site mentions walnut shells as well.

so options are:
1. wire brush (or the professional machine thingy)
2. sandblasting (baking soda, walnut shells…)
3. plane/cabinet scraper
4. leave it and embrace the history

as for finishing:
1. shellac (3 step process)
2. wax / bees wax and buff
3. stains/glazes
 
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