How to refresh wooden furniture (1910)

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How to refresh wooden furniture (1910)

Renovating furniture

When chairs and tables show signs of much wear, it is time they were renovated, and, if the work is well done, the furniture will look as handsome as when new.

There are some very important points about the work that one should know about, of course, before undertaking to restore the new look to the dented and lusterless surface of the chairs and tables. A smooth satin finish, or wax finish, has largely taken the place of the highly-varnished surface in the homes of refined people.

Mahogany cabinet-topped block-front scrutoirWe put an old, worn table of finely-proportioned colonial style into good condition with a few hours’ work. The first move was to scour the table all over with hot soapsuds, to give it a clean surface. A rinsing with clear warm water followed.

For the next step we used powdered pumice stone, mixed with water. With a brush, dipped in this mixture, we went over the surface with forceful strokes, to smooth down any lingering traces of varnish, defects in the wood, and so on.

Varnishing the surface came next, applied first with the grain of the wood, then across the grain, and finally, with the third going over, streaking it on along the lines of least resistance. This coating of varnish filled up the dents, obliterated the scratches, and prepared the surface for the next process.

This varnish dried in a short time, when it was removed with pumice powder that had been mixed with linseed oil. This combination gave a wonderful result — a dull smoothness that brought the table almost up to the standard of new furniture. The mixture was distributed with a stiff brush in a circular motion.

The wax finish was given with an application of oil, rubbed in with a piece of soft felt. It is best to use as little oil as possible — just enough to work into the wood nicely. With the last rubover, using a dry flannel cloth, tho excess of oil. If there is any, is absorbed in the flannel.

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This is a simple method for cleaning, with good results on all pieces of wooden furniture.

Illustrations: Top — Characteristic colourings and grain markings of principal constructional and decorative woods used in early times by Edwin Foley (c1910). Second — Mahogany cabinet-topped block-front scrutoir, made by Messrs. Brown & Ives, Bankers, Providence, c1775, drawn by Edwin Foley (c1910).

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