dried out wood finish, please help

Holly- KayJune 11, 2013

I have a lovely antique breakfast table that belonged to my mother. It has a fluted pie crust type edge and a beautiful center carving. The finish on it is in very bad shape with numerous water rings etc where my DGS put drinks on the table. The wood is also extremely dried out.

I have been using a lemon oil on it weekly and that helps to make it look a bit better but still not great. I know that refinishing it could affect it's value but I don't plan on ever selling it.

What would be the best way to clean it and also protect it? I would so very much appreciate the expert help from my fellow GW members. TIA.

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The first step is to identify what finish is on the table now.

It may be shellac and easily restored by applying some new layers.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 12:58PM
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Holly- Kay

How do I tell? It almost seems like it is just stained because the sheen is only present after I oil it.

This came from an antique shop in the Washington DC area and was purchased about 40 years ago. It was deemed an antique even then. I believe the wood may be walnut.

I am attaching a pic of it.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:29PM
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Use this preparation to clean, and restore wood furniture.

In the top of an old double boiler or in a two-quart can, add:
3 tablespoons boiled linseed oil (buy it as such)
2 tablespoons turpentine
1 quart hot water
Place over hot water until the moisture is as warm as a gloved hand can stand. For best
results, provide a means for keeping the solution hot while it is being used.
Dip in a soft, clean cloth into the solution. Lift it out and squeeze until it does not drip.
Go over an area no larger than about 1 by 2 feet, redipping the cloth in the hot solution,
squeezing it until it does not drip, and washing until the area is clean. Follow immediately with a
clean, dry, absorbent cloth until all oil is removed. Boiled linseed oil allowed to remain on the
wood will become tacky. Continue until the entire piece has been cleaned.
The solution not only cleans woods, it also protects the finish. The hot water and
turpentine removes the soil and the boiled linseed oil lubricates the wood, thus preventing
hairline checks in the finish. It also makes checks already in the wood less noticeable.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:08PM
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Holly- Kay

Thank you Sloyd. I will see if I can get my FIL to help me.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:42PM
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