How would you clean up this old walnut piece? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-25-2016, 06:16 AM Thread Starter
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How would you clean up this old walnut piece?

This little coin cabinet is only 9 inches wide. Obviously, I don't want to sand the surface. I would like to clean it. What would you clean it with? I have some Bar Keeper's Friend (oxalic acid) that I was thinking of using to lighten some of the small dark stains, assuming they are not just on the surface. I'm not sure how to handle the stains on the top of the cabinet. I have a tin of Black Bison walnut paste wax which I was intending to use after I clean it. I'll need to darken the repair at one corner. I really like this little case and I don't want to mess it up. Any suggestions? Here is a link to see the pictures of the cabinet:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...netMyFirst.jpg

Thanks. Dick in Juneau Alaska
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-25-2016, 07:59 AM
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If it were me I would use a 50/50 mixture of Old English Scratch Cover for dark wood and Lemon Oil. Use it with 0000 steel wool. If the stains can be gotten out without refinishing the steel wool will do it. Oxalic acid only works on unfinished wood.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-26-2016, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
If it were me I would use a 50/50 mixture of Old English Scratch Cover for dark wood and Lemon Oil. Use it with 0000 steel wool. If the stains can be gotten out without refinishing the steel wool will do it. Oxalic acid only works on unfinished wood.
Thanks Steve!
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-27-2016, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
If it were me I would use a 50/50 mixture of Old English Scratch Cover for dark wood and Lemon Oil.
I wonder if the Old English Scratch Cover for dark wood might be a little too dark? I could try mixing equal parts dark & light and see how that looks. Steve, have you ever done that? Thanks.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-27-2016, 10:46 PM
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I wonder if the Old English Scratch Cover for dark wood might be a little too dark? I could try mixing equal parts dark & light and see how that looks. Steve, have you ever done that? Thanks.
It's not too dark. The only thing it will color is nicks and scratches. As dark as that piece is you could use the scratch cover without the lemon oil. I have used that before. I learned it about 20 years ago from a antique shop I was doing repair work for. They cleaned all of their darker furniture with it before putting it out for sale. You would be surprised at the difference. It almost makes it look like the furniture got a fresh coat of finish on it. They just used rags with it though. I started using it with steel wool to cut more of the dirt off.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-29-2016, 11:51 AM
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Most Old English finishers are based on mineral spirits. For their "Lemon Oil" they use mineral spirits with small dollop of artificial lemon odorant. For their "dark" product they add an oil based dye. The mineral oil is a non-drying oil which is why you need to apply and wipe it dry. Because it never dries, any dust in the air will be attracted and adhere to the surface. It's like the product is assuring its own refinishing market. A damp rag will clean furniture surfaces just fine.

Their products do not generally damage a surface but they do not protect the surface either.

Howie..........
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-19-2016, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
If it were me I would use a 50/50 mixture of Old English Scratch Cover for dark wood and Lemon Oil. Use it with 0000 steel wool. If the stains can be gotten out without refinishing the steel wool will do it.
Steve, I used your method and it came out fantastic! Much better than I had hoped. Thanks so much!!!!
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-19-2016, 08:10 AM
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-29-2016, 04:46 PM
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Steve, I used your method and it came out fantastic! Much better than I had hoped. Thanks so much!!!!
I dont suppose you would show us the finished product would you?
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-12-2016, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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the finished little coin cabinet

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Originally Posted by MatthewEOD View Post
I dont suppose you would show us the finished product would you?
Here is the finished project. I think it came out great. It was a trade-off between trying to keep as much of the original finish (shellac??) as possible while getting as much of the spotting out as possible. The original finish was pretty much gone before I started. The spots seemed to go down to bare wood. It has a nice sheen which didn't show up very well in the photos. I took a bunch of photos in a photo tent. Those came out very flat, so I put it on my kitchen table that I made from a tree in Fairbanks Alaska 40 years ago. These photos looked truer. Again, thanks for the help!
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...etFinished.jpg
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-13-2016, 12:54 AM
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That turned out great, thanks for sharing.
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post #12 of 12 Old 04-13-2016, 11:46 AM
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It really turned out great. Good job on restoring the finish on a very well made little cabinet.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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