Care for Wood

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    • #133575

      I have a question regarding the cleaning and polishing of unfinished wood. Can Renaissance Wax be used on unfinished wood? If not, what is recommended?

    • #133588

      It has been used very effectively on unfinished wood items with relatively smooth surfaces such as handles for tools, to protect them from dust and handling. If the item is a carved statue with a rough, unfinished surface I would not use a wax coating until I had tested to make sure it did not alter the appearance and checked to make sure it did not conflict with the maker/artist’s wishes. Do you have a particular type of object in mind?

    • #133587

      You can clean unfinished wood with Murphy’s Oil Soap and water. Using Renaissance Wax will seal the surface, and the object will no longer be “unfinished” wood. It may also be glossy, changing the appearance of the object. If you want to restore the look without adding a finish, try Liquid Gold.

    • #133586

      Much depends on the kind of wood it is carved from. Oak will absorb much less than pine however a more dense wood, ebony or mahogany would absorb waxes, etc at a much slower rate. I have another question however about leather. I have a pair of Spurs with leather straps. They have a white subsrance (salt?)that has crystallized on the surface of the lether. I am fairly certain it is salt because of the obvious usage of the spurs in the past, (sweat from the horse?) any Ideas ? Ken Radford Museum of Idaho

    • #133585

      Much depends on the kind of wood it is carved from. Oak will absorb much less than pine however a more dense wood, ebony or mahogany would absorb waxes, etc at a much slower rate. I have another question however about leather. I have a pair of Spurs with leather straps. They have a white subsrance (salt?)that has crystallized on the surface of the lether. I am fairly certain it is salt because of the obvious usage of the spurs in the past, (sweat from the horse?) any Ideas ? Ken Radford Museum of Idaho

    • #133584
      Carolyn Frisa
      Participant

      Kenneth, I would be willing to bet the white substance on the spur straps is indeed salt. As someone who has used spurs, I’ve often found that if the leather isn’t cleaned shortly after, use salty deposits often form on the surface of the leather.

    • #133583

      Thanks for all the advice and guidance. The objects consist of woodworking/agricultural equipment from the early 1900. The items have not be cleaned or polished in decades. This is great help! Thank you!

    • #133582

      The leather has dried and stiffened, which is also an issue for restoration. What product would you recommend? The (Spurs are silver)

    • #133581
      Richard Kerschner
      Participant

      I would not recommend using commercial products like Liquid Gold on any wood surfaces, especially unfinished wood surfaces. There is no telling what is in these products. They certainly contain oils which should not be used on wood because they do act as finishes, soaking into especially unfinished wood, changing the appearance of the surface, attracting dust and dirt, darkening with time, and are then irreversible. They may contain silicon that would make any future waxing or coating of the wood impossible. What is wrong with the unfinished wood? Simply dust/clean the surface with a damp cloth and let it be. If you need to do anything, I have found an unpigmented paste wax such as Butchers Wax, or Trewax to be a better choice than the Renaissance Wax because it is a bit harder and less likely to leave a noticeable residue in cracks and crevices. It is also easily reversible with odorless thinner.

    • #133580

      All leathers can be cleaned no matter how degraded with the following treatment..Clean the leather first with murphy;s oil soap and a wet sponge.Air dry,then follow that with applying “Hydrophane”that has been warmed to blood temp.Be generous,let the leather sit under lights to keep the surface warm for 24 hours.Then just dry wipe off excess.

    • #133579

      Kenneth, We have a carbine noose, used to attach a rifle to a saddle, that also periodically forms white crystals all over it’s surface. I just brush it off with a soft brush. I thought it was residue from whatever oil used to be used to preserve leather – Neats foot, linseed, etc. If you find out for sure what the crystals are, I would be interested in knowing, too.

    • #133578
      Richard Kerschner
      Participant

      What is Hydrophane? What does it contain? Is it reversible, especially after driving it into the leather using heat? What are the long-term effects of using Hyrdophane on historic leather? Apparently it is a refatting agent for leather that is in use, similar to Lexol or other Neats foot oil or Lard oil products. I would not recommend such products for treatment of aged, hard, museum quality historic leather artifacts.

    • #133577

      Thanks for the advice Richard. The wood objects have not been cleaned in decades. So in addition to the multiple layers of dust and dirt, one object appears brittle and another spongy. Since they are woodworking/agricultural equipment they have multiple components, including metal nuts and bolts that are rusted over.

    • #133576
      Elsa Huxley
      Member

      The C2C Online Community hosted a live chat event on “Housekeeping for Historic Sites”

      http://www.connectingtocollections.org/recording-housekeeping/

      In the description it is a little hard to tell but there is a hyperlink to some NPS videos on this topic, look for the blue “how to” in the middle of the paragraph.

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