polissoir

Polissoirs Back In Stock

For several months my broom maker has been up to his eyeballs in alligators as 1) his brooms have been selling like hotcakes and 2) he’s been finishing building their dream house on the family farm.  As a result my inventory was low at first then gone altogether.  Last week I got an infusion of polissoirs so I can now fill my back-orders, which will ship out tomorrow.

Juncus Is Way Up!

I chatted recently with the cattle man who runs his herd on the pasture through which I drive coming and going to and from the homestead, and he was fine with me harvesting the Juncus that is burgeoning in the fields.  I am pretty sure I  will be able to harvest as much of it as I can possibly use, and then some, come August or so.  Fortunately the cattle have no interest in it so it should just keep on growing until I harvest the bundles and get them drying.  The clusters of the grass popped their heads last week, so now it is simply a matter of waiting for nature to take its course.  Fortunately most of the densest growth is adjacent to the road.

Over the winter I will start making Juncus polissoirs for sale, although since I have to do every step myself by hand they will be pricey.  If they do not sell, I will just keep them here for workshop students to use.

Juncus Popping Up All Over!

A couple weeks ago as we were driving up the road to the cabin, (our road cuts through a few pastures along its way, so there are literally times we have to wait for the cattle to move aside) Mrs. Barn remarked that there were clumps of Juncus effusus grass popping up in the fields.  I asked around, and it turns out that it is considered a noxious invasive in these parts, spreading in many pastures but inedible by the cattle, or at least not preferred.  So I am delighted that there will be dozens of Juncus bundles of new polissoir stock in a couple months, and our local cattleman will be pleased to have me cut it down.

For those who like me have been bitten by the polissoirs bug I will be harvesting then hand-making polissoirs for sale come this fall.  They will be identically configured to the Model 296.  My broom-maker is not set up to make these, he is set up only for working with the sorghum straw.  Juncus is simply too different from sorghum, most especially in that sorghum compresses comparatively little when bound whereas Juncus compresses about 60-70% during the binding.

Some Juncus left over from my last harvest. I will use this to improve my manufacturing technique.

They will be labor intensive and thus pricey, but if you gotta have one, I’m your guy.  They will be, quite literally, as close to what Roubo described as I can get without a Time Machine.  These are not better nor worse than my other polissoirs, they are just different.

 

A Juncus polissoir.

 

Up A Creek Without A Polissoir

At the recent gathering of the Professional Refinisher’s Group one of the presenters was addressing a topic that would have fit seamlessly with the use of polissoirs.  When I asked the host for his, I was informed it could not be found.  I canvassed the group and none was to be found.  Even I had not brought one with me!  While I normally travel with my rolling Store for some reason this time I did not.

But with a little thrashing around and some yeoman’s help from TomD we made one that worked enough or the task.

The starting point was the old shop broom, a roll of twine, and my dull Victorinox multi-tool knife (dull because I had cut some wire and had not sharpened it.  My bad.)

After cutting of some broom fibers we set about trying to find the string necessary.  We could not find anything really robust, what we found was some soft twine similar to macrame yarn.  So we used what we could find.  (I think the broom went back to hang on its nail, ready to go to work albeit a little less effectively).

Working carefully, and celebrating the fact that my broken arm from two years ago has recovered almost all of its dexterity and strength, I started putting it together.  My biggest challenge was trying to work right up to the limit of the tensile strength of our soft twine.  Normally I use heavyweight waxed linen cord, which I literally cannot break by hand, resulting in a polissoir so tight it has a sharp sound when rapped against a hard surface.  This undertaking did not yield such a result, but the polissoir was tight enough to serve well enough for the task at hand.

I trimmed one end  and we put it to work.

I’ll know to never travel anywhere without a polissoir in the future.  Note to self: when packing for a trip, it’s glaucoma meds, toothbrush, and a polissoir.