Many people have antiques without them even being aware of the value of them, many are tucked away in garden sheds or are littered amongst other items in the loft and it is only at spring cleaning time that they are remembered and once again discovered. So for all those who have buried treasures by the way of antique furniture then here are some tips for breathing life back into it and reviving it to its former glory and beauty.
If you take the piece out and have taken a good look at it then you will probably see that much of the woods beauty by way of the grain has been hidden by what could have been years of dirt and dust accumulation.
This is no determent to the furniture and in the majority of cases is nothing more than a good clean wont take care of. Depending on the type of wood the furniture is made out of will all depend on what is used to clean the furniture, pieces that have elaborate and delicate carvings inlaid into it will of course take more time and also more expertise is required. It is essential that with all wooden furniture a natural colour and patina will have built up over the years and this shouldn’t be destroyed in the cleaning process, it is only the dirt and grime you are getting rid of not the patina so don’t scrub too vigorously.
If the furniture has been previously waxed then getting the wax off is the best way to begin restoring the piece back to its natural beauty, the easiest way to get rid of what could be years build up of wax is to take a cloth and cleaning fluid. When it comes to rubbing down the furniture you should always ensure that you work with the grain not against it, antique cleaner or restorer will help to soften and loosen the wax and this will then build up to form a sludge like substance which can be easily removed for the furniture with the damp cloth. If you wish to mix your own cleaner rather than buy one then 4 parts white spirit to 1 part linseed oil will work just as well.
Continue to apply the cleaner going with the grain until no more dirt and wax remains on the piece, if the piece has carvings then you might have to use a very fine grade piece of steel wool to get into all the nooks and crannies but ensure that you dip it into the cleaning solution and don’t scrub too hard or this will damage the underlying patina and wood grain. When all the wax has been removed then go over the item with a soft clean dry cloth to which a little white spirit has been added.
Once this has been done the furniture should look a little better but there is still more to do if you wish to bring life back into the piece, here is where burnishing cream comes into its own and can really help to make the piece shine and stand out in all its glory. If you wish to highlight the colour of the grain or to make grain stand out clearer then apply a little wood reviver.