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Make lemonade from those lemons instead

Posted by Hank Metz on March 26th, 2000 01:10 PM
In reply to clean and polish old furniture by Mary Daly on March 26th, 2000 11:57 AM [Go to top of thread]

You're not to be blamed for being confused as to how to care for your heirloom woodwork, an incredible amount of sophisticated marketing techniques are used to get you to buy inappropriate and overpriced products when simple means will suffice. First step is to give it a good cleaning; Naphtha or Mineral Spirits, in a well-ventilated room will work just fine and costs only pennies on the average. Expect to use about a cup or so gently wiping down an average dresser with a disposable wiper that has been dampened with the solvent. Turn the wipe frequently to expose a fresh surface, lay used wipes outside on the ground to dry when done & then dispose of.

The universal caveat applies: before using any solvent, test in an inconspicuous place first to make sure it will not harm the finish.

Now that it's nice and clean, you want to apply a solid paste wax. There are generally 2 types available, dark tinted, for dark woods and clear which can be used on both dark or light pieces, follow the directions on the container. Over time, you can tell when it needs more wax when a buffing fails to bring back the shine.

The problem with polishes and oils are that they perform poorly on a film finished surface like Shellac, Lacquer, or poly. They also tend to darken with age, so the figure of the wood will eventually get muddy and indistinct. The "Lemon" scents and other aromatics are put in simply for your nose, and have no beneficial effects for the piece- think designer dog food made to resemble shapes and textures pleasing to the human eye, but of little or no nutritional value or appeal to the dog.

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