Suggested mixtures for cleaning old wooden items.

Method

Initial clean. Using a mild solution of pure soap and warm water on a damp (not wet) cloth, wipe off surface dirt. Dry immediately with a dry cloth. Leave to dry. Then apply reviver.

Recipes

Recent correspondence in the newsletter shows that there are a host of different recipes - everybody seems to have their own one. Various recipes are given, for you to choose. Relevant points are:

  • Boiled or raw linseed oil? Raw penetrates better than boiled, but takes much longer to dry. Raw does not dry so quickly and causes stickiness, boiled contains a drier. When used on their own they can be thinned with turps substitute or white spirit for better penetration.
  • Whether to use linseed oil at all?

In favour are those who cite it as a cheap and traditional treatment for eg wooden planes. ("With a new bench plane, we'd plug the mouth and top it up with linseed oil until it was soaked right through". HOWEVER PLEASE NOTE that an advertisement from Alex Mathieson and Sons from the mid-1800's advises specifically against doing this!).)

Against are those who are concerned that scratches may reappear as the oil dries out, and fears about possible mould if stored in unventilated conditions.

  • A little ammonia solution is felt by many to help. (When used with vinegar some say it will simply be neutralized; however, the smell seems to persist suggesting that its effect seems likely to persist as well?). Note that ammonia solution "goes off" if not stored in a totally sealed bottle; also that it should be decanted in a well-ventilated area. It has a very pungent smell which can cause panic attacks if unexpected.
  • Pure turpentine is more expensive than white spirit but goes a long way and has a wonderful smell!
  • Teepol makes lots of things – make sure you use the simple soap one.
  • A little T-cut or Brasso provides a mild abrasive effect.
  • A little dissolved shellac can help in creating a slight shine on generally dull surfaces.
  • As always:
  • LABEL THE JAR CLEARLY
  • TRY ON A SMALL INCONSPICUOUS AREA FIRST – it can dissolve certain finishes.
  • NOTE that as with most such things, there are some nasty poisonous substances involved. Take care and keep safe from children.
  • RAGS SOAKED IN OIL OR REVIVER CAN SELF-COMBUST if not disposed of carefully. Hang out to dry and do not bin until completely dry. Even then, treat with caution.

Use

  • The constituents layer quickly, so shake the bottle vigorously with each application.

reviver mix

  • Apply with a cotton cloth, but do not flood large areas. Use 0000 wire wool where heavy deposits need removing. Work into the surface, and observe the cloth to see what you are removing. Leave for several minutes then buff with a clean cotton cloth. Finally wax with a beeswax/turps polish. A dark polish fills unsightly scratches but will colour unsealed beech and paler woods; for the latter use clear polish or Renaissance Wax. Finally buff with cotton cloth.
  • Repeat as necessary. As always, a light application, repeated, is better than a single over-enthusiastic application. (When it's gone, it's gone...)
  • Recipe 3 is also used on furniture but requires care in use as it can disturb existing finishes and alter appearance of faded timber drastically if not controlled.

As an example, this is an old handscrew, as found; dry, grubby and unattractive:

handscrew before

And this is it, after treatment with linseed oil-based reviver:

handscrew after

Reviver recipes

(Don't worry too much about exact quantities.) Quantities are shown in ml.

1 Basic linseed oil reviver

Several recipes are given, with a suggested "compromise" mix at the end. (Quantities are in any case approximate).

makes 500 ml reviver

Recipe 1

Recipe 2

Recipe 3

Recipe 4

suggested

Boiled linseed oil   [ * raw]

150

*250

140

110

150

White vinegar

150

240

140

150

150

Pure turps or white spirit

150

 

140

150

150

Methylated spirit

40

10

80

80

40

Household ammonia solution (or half the quantity of .880 solution)

10

   

10

10

 

500

500

500

500

500

2 Non-linseed oil reviver

makes 500 ml reviver

ml

Pure turps

250

Methylated spirit

125

Acetic acid BP (33%)

65

Teepol (liquid soap)

25

Brasso (metal polish) – shake before decanting

25

Household ammonia solution (or half the quantity of .880 solution).

10

 

500

3 With Shellac

makes 500 ml reviver

ml

Boiled Linseed oil

140

Pure turps or white spirit or turps substitute

140

Methylated spirit

140

Dissolved shellac (could use Button Polish or Garnet Shellac dissolved in meths.)

65

Household ammonia solution (or half the quantity of .880 solution).

10

Teaspoon of T-Cut (Brasso will do)

5

 

500

Comments   

#1 Crystal x 2016-11-14 19:14
Informative article, exactly what I wanted to find.
Quote

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