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How to clean and put finish on antique 1850 metal furniture

Posted by alyceusvi (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 30, 07 at 17:34

Hello from St John,
About thirty years ago I purchased a set of outdoor furniture from an estate in Main Line Philadelphia. I paid 400 dollars for five pieces. I assumed they were iron.One of the pieces is a library table I wanted to use as a coffee table so I took it to an iron shop in Bryn Mawr to take about four inches off the legs as it was too tall. The iron shop owner advised me not to do it as he said that the
metal had been forged before 1850 as the frame is forged in a twisted pattern. He said metal hadn't been forged that way since the 1800's.I did shorten it and used it in our Philadelphia home. We moved to St. John in the Virgin Islands eight years ago and have just finished a new house. I took the furniture out storage in the the garage and there isn't a bit of rust on it. Everything in the tropics rusts how can this be? It is a blue grey metal with a sort of dusty white wash on it. I want to clean it up and put some type of finish on it. It is beautiful just as is but I thought it would need preserved.
What kind of metal could it be? What should I clean it with. Should I put anyfinish on it?
Thanks in advance.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How to clean and put finish on antique 1850 metal furniture

If it isn't rusting than there isn't a problem. It has to get wet to rust. I wouldn't do anything to it. If you do anything to it, it will cause futher maintenance for sure.

I know this post is a little old but I thought it wouldn't hurt to reply.

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