I had a request recently by a gallery to make a set of mills that I used to do a long time ago. This is an 8 inch set of Morrison mills turned from ash and then dyed blue. Most of the time I would air brush the dye on but this time I didn’t want to take the time to set-up the air brush. Probably because it was 2 in the morning and my bed was calling. So instead of air brushing them I just applied the dye by hand with a paper towel.
The next morning, or later the same morning, I applied a liming wax to the dyed mills. The liming wax knocks the color down and fills the grain lines with the white wax. I wipe off the excess immediately with a paper towel. After the wax has had a while to dry I then use the Beall three buff system to put a good shine on the mills. While I’m buffing on the Tripoli wheel, if I press the mill body to the spinning wheel a little harder in spots I get the added benefit of taking more of the dye off and leaving me with a worn look. I try to do this in the areas where I know someone would be holding the mill to use it and I end up with antique looking mills by the time I’m done. I finish up with the other two buffing wheels but only to complete the waxing process and not to antique the mills any more.
I really like doing this so I’m not sure why I ever stopped making mills like this. So watch for more mills with this effect in the future.