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Restore or renovate furniture finished with wax or oil

Many older pieces of furniture have been finished with a variety of waxes and oils, and it can be tricky removing these when wanting to restore or renovate furniture. Waxes and oils quickly clog up sandpaper, and for this reason it is better to strip wax and oil before doing any sanding or restoration work.

I remember a few years back being asked to restore an old 60s cabinet that container a radio and turntable. The project itself was a breeze, apart from trying to remove layer upon layer of wax polish that had been applied over the years. The sander was useless as it continuously clogged up with chunks of wax, so a better solution was needed.

Place whatever furniture you are working on onto a level surface. Stripping wax is a messy process, so be sure to put down plenty of newspaper to catch the sludge.

Pop on some rubber gloves and apply Woodoc Wood Reviver according to the instructions. Allow this to stand for a few minutes. Woodoc Wood Reviver also removes grey weathered wood, mould and mildew.

Wait for approximately 30 to 45 minutes and then use a paint scraper to scrape off as much wax as you can - working along the grain. Keep scraper flat and level so you don’t scratch the surface. As you scrape, wipe the scraper with a rag. You need to work as quickly as possible - you don't want the remover to dry. Repeat the process a second time depending upon how many layers of wax there are.

Work around edge, as far as possible, working along the grain. It takes a bit of time, and if yours is an extension table, open it up so you can do edges of table leaves and remove any mess that will inevitably run down the joints.

After you have finished scraping, use fine steel wool and warm water to remove any remaining finish out of the grain and around the end grain, where a scraper is difficult to use.

If you need to remove any deep gouges, start by sanding with 80- to 120-grit paper, then work your way up to 180- and 240-grit; it all depends on whether you want a new-looking surface or to retain some of the character accumulated during the years.

After sanding far enough using a sander, switch to 240-grit sandpaper and a sanding block and sand along the grain to give table that hand-rubbed look.

Use a varnish brush to apply Plascon Woodcare Waterbased Varnish. Follow the instructions on the can. If you want to stain the piece - do so before applying the varnish.

Plascon Woodcare Waterbased Varnish is ideal for use on most wooden surfaces – shelving, cupboards, skirting, panelling and general interior wood surfaces. Easy to apply and quick-drying, this product is environmentally friendly and highly durable - offering long-lasting protection for all interior wooden surfaces.

As an alternative to varnish, apply wax or a suitable wood oil, such as Danish Oil, as required. Apply and rub wax along the grain using fine steel wool, which will polish the timber as it cuts the wax well into the table to build up a protective layer. Once applied, allow to stand for 10 to 15 minutes, then buff wax with a soft rag for a rich, deep sheen.


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