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A Terrific Notion and Several Things to Consider

There are many types of finishes used for antique furniture including oils, shellack and waxes. And of the those three finishes there are many different subcategories that are not important here. What is important is if an items wood finish isn't completely destroyed you may be able to revive the finish using the original technique. Most Oil or Rubbed Finishes can be revived by reapplying the oil with 4000 steel wool. Keep the wool pad lubricated with the oil and follow the grain or the wood. Pressure should be applied evenly but not too aggressively. Buff with a clean lint free cloth and allow to dry. Reapply if needed to get the desired affect.

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Wax finishes are not as durable but are wonderful on woods such as pine and oaks. Here the same process is used as the oil. But buffing is the final and most important step. Also a quality paste wax should be used such as a tinted English type Paste Wax. Avoid yellow supermarket or big box bowling alley or floor waxes. These have their place, but must be modified and tinted for use on furniture to achieve a good look and that may be in another post.

Shellack is a wonderful finish when applied correctly. And there are several ways including French Polish which is in my opinion the ultimate finish for a proper piece. Most often though we run into shellack finished that have crackled and appears like an alligator skin. This happens over time when the piece is heated up by storing in a hot attic. Apply denatured alcohol to smooth the finish. Again 4000 steel wool is used and the proper safety and protection gear and precautions are important. This should be done outside or with proper ventilation.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 08/03/2016


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