Cleaning 50+ year old pine tongue and groove

pupwhippedApril 12, 2009

We bought a lake home that has this 50+ year old tongue and groove pine wood. We have been remodeling different areas (kitchen, bath) of the house and now need to clean every square inch of this wood that's in two different living areas. One of those areas has a vaulted ceiling. What product would you suggest using to clean the pine? I've seen stuff on QVC like Rejuvenation and some other product I can't remember the name of. They make it look good! Course, there's always the Murphy's Oil Soap I like. I really just want to get all the sheet rock dust off, remove 50+ years of grime, and give the wood some moisture...give it some lovin that I'm sure it hasn't had in decades. I really don't want a real shiny look...not into shiny. Also, I'm only gonna do this once, so I want to make sure I get it right the first time.

Thanks for any suggestions.


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We have a dark pine library that was installed in 1935. When we moved it it looked bad. I used Watco Danish oil and whipped on a fresh coat. It cleaned up nice and left a nice satin look.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 9:13PM
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"Course, there's always the Murphy's Oil Soap I like."

If the finish is completely intact Murphy's can be OK.
If there are ANY defects in the finish the Murphy's and water can get under the finish and cause damage.

If the finish is shellac you need to use a minimum of water if you go that route.

Paint thinner will not harm any type of finish and removes grease and dirt very well.

Open the windows and start wiping.

Finer grades of non-woven finish pads can speed up the work.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 1:20PM
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I am sorry to be so late with a "thank you reply" to both of you. Couple of things came up for me including MIL in the Intensive Care Unit. Anyway, I learned something from both your replies. Never heard of the Watco Danish Oil but will look into it. Brickeyee, I would guess? that there was originally a shellac finish on this wood. In the places where we remove pictures and such that have been there forever, there is a shiny finish. Everywhere else there is no shine at all.

Good thing about an old lake cottage like this is that it's rustic.....beat to heck and back is not a bad thing. Our biggest challenge has been renovating the stinkin kitchen and bath and trying not to get either one too new or prissy. With these pine walls, I just want them cleaned and conditioned.

Thanks for your replies,

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 6:05PM
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The attached article is for furniture, but it applies also to cabinetry and paneling.

Watco Danish Oil is a fine product, but is not really meant to go over a film-forming finish. It will not be able to soak into the wood fibers and will leave a soft residue on the surface. I'd much rather see you pad on some varnish or shellac -- After a through cleaning and light abrasion.

I just top coated an old cedar chest. It was really dirty on top, so I did a cleaning. Then I sanded down all the rough finish (about half the top). I applied a coat of padding lacquer (shellac), let it dry then padded on a coat of non-poly varnish. Does not look "Like New" but it looks old and well-cared for. The dents and distresses add to age and character.

Here is a link that might be useful: Saving the finish

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:30PM
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