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Thursday, January 23 2014

My furniture is dull and dry!  What can we do?


FURNITURE CARE AND MAINTENANCE: HOW TO CARE FOR DRY WOOD FURNITURE

General Maintenance Tips

Frequent dusting of your furniture will help maintain the luster of both oil and lacquer finishes.  To prevent the wood from becoming dull and dry perform the following.  Use a dry, soft cotton cloth.
Use common sense and don't place wet or hot objects on your wooden furniture. Use trivets and coasters to prevent damage, and wipe up spills promptly.
Excessive or prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade the color of your furniture and dry the wood. Use window coverings or tablecloths to prevent daily direct exposure of your furniture to the sun. If you leave objects such as candleholders or vases on an uncovered wood surface, rotate them regularly to prevent dark or light spots.
As part of natural aging, your wood furniture will typically develop a beautiful patina and undergo color changes, depending on the wood. Cherry typically darkens while walnut tends to lighten with time. Pine, alder and red oak tend to turn a golden color as they age.
To care for furniture finished with oil and wax:
Besides frequent dusting, we recommend you re-wax your oil/wax furniture with paste wax every six months to a year, depending on how much wear the furniture receives. We use Liberon Fine paste wax, available at woodworking supply shops. For tips on using paste wax, see "How to Re-wax with Paste Wax" below.
To brighten an oil & wax finish, you may also use Finish Feeder which penetrates the existing finish and adds a layer of beeswax. It covers up small scratches and removes all built-up grease, dust, grime and dirt. Use Finish Feeder in between re-waxes whenever your furniture appears dull. For tips on using Finish Feeder, see "How to Use Finish Feeder" below.
If your oil/wax furniture looks particularly dry (as opposed to merely dull), you may want to re-oil the piece. Re-oiling involves removing existing wax, applying an oil product such as linseed oil, and re-waxing. For specific instructions, see "How to Re-oil Furniture" below.
To care for furniture finished with catalyzed lacquer:
As with oiled furniture, frequent dusting will prolong the luster of lacquered furniture. To add luster and shine, use your favorite furniture polish making sure to wipe off the excess.
When your furniture appears grimy and dull, we recommend using Finish Feeder to clean and brighten the finish. For tips on using Finish Feeder, see "How to Use Finish Feeder" below.
How to Re-Wax with Paste Wax

We use Liberon Fine paste wax, available at woodworking supply shops. Make sure to follow any instructions provided with the specific wax product you are using. Also consider the following tips:

When prepping the surface, use only super-fine grade #0000 steel wool, and always work in the direction of the wood grain.
After applying a coat of paste wax, use a super-fine Scotch Brite pad to spread it evenly. (Using steel wool will leave grit behind.) Use light, consistent pressure to cover the surface with the wax, always working with the wood grain.
When letting the wax set, be sure not to exceed 20 minutes.
Use a clean super-fine Scotch Brite pad to remove the excess wax, working lightly with the grain of the wood.
Using a soft cloth, lightly buff the surface until it feels smooth.
How to Use Finish Feeder

Finish feeder will help brighten both oil/wax and lacquered finishes. Note that this product will not work on polyurethane or plastic-based finishes. Application involves a few simple steps:

Apply Finish Feeder with a soft cotton cloth, or with super-fine grade #0000 steel wool if the piece is particularly dirty or scratched. Allow Finish Feeder to soak into the surface for 10 to 15 minutes.
This step is the important one: To prevent the surface from becoming tacky, be sure to completely remove all the excess Finish Feeder that is unabsorbed after 10 to 15 minutes. Use super-fine #0000 steel wool to wipe the excess Finish Feeder from the surface. Wipe the surface dry with a clean, soft cotton cloth.
If you didn't successfully remove the excess Finish Feeder and the surface becomes tacky, just add more Finish Feeder which will dissolve the tacky residue, allow it to soak for a few minutes and wipe it completely dry.
Important safety note: Handle oily rags with caution, as there is a risk of spontaneous combustion if they are stored improperly. Be sure to spread oily rags flat and allow them to dry completely, after which they can be discarded or washed.

How to Re-Oil Furniture

Furniture finished with oil and wax will probably not need to be re-oiled unless it becomes dry from being stored in extreme cold or heat, or in constant direct sunlight or other drying conditions. If your piece does become overly dry, follow the following instructions for re-oiling.

Use turpentine or naptha applied with a clean cotton cloth to remove the existing wax. Clean the surface with water and Murphy's Oil Soap, using only as much liquid so as to make the cloth damp, not wet. Allow the surface to dry completely.
Use super-fine grade #0000 steel wool to further prepare the surface, using light, even pressure and always working with the wood grain.
Apply a liberal amount of oil to the surface. We use a blend of 1/3 boiled linseed oil, 1/3 pure tung oil and 1/3 oil-based polyurethane. Allow the oil to soak into the wood for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Wipe off all excess oil using a clean cotton cloth. Allow the newly oiled furniture to set for at least 24 hours.
To prepare for waxing, clean the surface with super-fine #0000 grade steel wool. Carefully wipe the surface clean with a soft cotton cloth to remove all grit and residue.
If the wood still appears dry, you may re-apply oil and repeat the steps 3 through 5.
Re-wax the piece as described above under "How to Re-Wax with Paste Wax."
Important safety note: Handle oily rags with caution, as there is a risk of spontaneous combustion if they are stored improperly. Be sure to spread oily rags flat and allow them to dry completely, after which they can be discarded or washed.

Contact Furniture-EMT Virginia to schedule a professional in home evaluation of your wood furniture.  Our technicians are certified and will provide the best solution to return the beauty of your wood.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 02:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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