I asked him about my Captain's Chair - rescued from the skip at a church work day, about 25 years ago, I am very fond of it - but it is very grubby and dull looking. What is the best way of cleaning old wood? I asked. I said I had occasionally polished it, but didn't like using modern silicon sprays, and was concerned to clean off the build up of greasy hand marks on the arms without damaging the piece.
They could not have been more helpful - Mr W showed me the jar of solution he was working with "4 parts boiled linseed oil to 1 of meths" he said "can you remember that?" "Yep, 4;1 just like salad dressing" I replied.
His wife added that a small amount of white spirit can help cut through the grease too. Shake the mix and apply with steel wool, rubbing in circles. "My husband has some in the garage" I said. But it must be the finest gauge - and I was given a small square of the stuff to ensure I didn't use anything too coarse. I pootled off to the wonderful Thorn's in Norwich and bought a roll of 0000 fine gauge [neither B&Q nor Homebase had anything other than coarse] You are advised to wear gloves to protect your hands
It was such fun, mixing chemicals in an old jam jar. It is a bit like making cocktails- there is something wonderful about watching the vibrant purple meths settle on top of the rich amber coloured oil.
Then when you shake it, it emulsifies and really does look like salad dressing!
And I polished away happily, amazed at the speed with which it made a difference.Here you can see where I just worked on the right hand side - the dullness has gone, and the seat is lighter and brighter. Final result...
But I had half a jar of mixture left. So then I set to work on our Beaver&Tapley Units. These are from the 1960s ['mid-century' stuff is very trendy now, I understand] We got them secondhand in 1985, and they have suffered a lot over the years. Odd rings and water stains which I have never been able to shift - and the surfaces were looking really dull.
Look at them now!
Restored to their original gleaming glory! And I am quite high on the smell of meths and linseed, which took me right back to my childhood, watching Dad and Grandad polishing the wooden things they made.
Thank you Unicorn Studios, for sharing the recipe for your magic potion [now to source some good beeswax polish to maintain the shine]