Antique Walnut bed: Polish or Wax?

lablvrsAugust 18, 2009

I recently purchased an antique walnut eastlake style bed to use in our guest room. The previous owner has had it for 50+ years, and they purchased from an antique shop. She took very good care of the bed (clean & little to no damage), but did not know if it had ever been refinished. So, I have no idea if the finish is original or not, or what even what type of finish is on the wood (if any beyond the stain). The bed really looks like new for as old is it likely is. However, the headboard appears slightly "dry" in its finish. There is no visible damage & the stain color appears good, altough possibly lighter than the footboard. I don't know if any protective coating was applied & has worn off over time, or what. Mostly, I just want to take care of the bed to preserve it for furture generations.

I don't think it needs a refinish at this point in time. I understand the need to maintain relative humidity and avoid sunlight, but what else do I need to do to care for this beautiful antique? (its my first piece of antique furniture) I've read several places that a coating of premium furniture paste wax applied 1x/year is best. However, a local restorer also recommended Guardsman product. I went looking for a Guardsman paste wax and can't find one. I guess they make a furniture cream polish and a spray wax (not paste wax?). But now, I've also read that paste wax & polishes do not mix.

So, should I go with a Guardsman (or other) polish or should I try to find a quality paste wax (any brand recommendations?). Mostly, I want to clean & protect the bed. If protecting can't be done without refinishing it, then what is the best way to care for it in the meantime?

Does the choice between polish & paste wax just come to personal preference in use? Or, is one more effective overall? THANKS!

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My DH made me a walnut bookcase when we were 1st married. It has only had paste wax on it, it is in garage now but I used to just wax it if it started to look dry. Polish is very different than wax.It might gum up. Could try a little on back side where no one sees it & wait 10-20 minute & see how it feels or if it is sticky or gummy. If it were just paste wax on walnut there might not be any stain on it or if there is the stuff in some polishes(if it says clean & shine) could damage the finish. I'm not a Guardsman user or don't know anything about it. If you got some try a little spot on back side for short time & if it gets gummy or sticky wipe off & clean with Murphy's oil soap in that 1 spot. At least that is what I would do.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 12:51AM
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I like Briwax, because I like the beeswax smell. I don't know what the difference between polish and wax is. Don't use Murphy's on nice furniture.

And avoid anything aerosol.

Here is a link that might be useful: Briwax

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 11:25AM
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Beeswax is a very soft will need re waxing often and will have a bit of a "smeary" look.
If you choose to wax it, choose a hard containing carnauba wax. Paste car waxes or a paste furniture wax is good....and polish it well with a nylon stocking.
BUT....if there are areas of bare wood showing, the wax will sink into the wood and it will be very hard to remove, should you decide to put a coat of varnish or shellac on the piece in the future.
I am not seeing it, but if you are unsure if there is any finish on it or not, I would brush on some shellac which you have thinned way down by diluting it with thinner to about 1/2 "strength".
Then wax.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 12:55PM
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