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ANTIQUE FURNITURE RESTORATION DISCUSSION BOARD

How clean is clean?

Posted By: Maureen (d125.as5.clev.oh.voyager.net)
Date: 5/21/3 15:12

I'm working on two pieces at once...that's why I have so many questions about finishes.

One of the tables I'm working on is a shellac-finished inexpensive dining table from early 1920's. It's a hand-me-down from my inlaws, and truthfully, it looks awful. The finish is dull, sticky (from years of bad polish and poor cleaning) and had several whitish areas (heat or water, I presumed). I have successfully removed most of the white spots with mineral oil, and I've used naphtha and a mineral oil based hand cleaner to clean a lot of the sticky grime away. I'm stunned to see a really beautiful sheen underneath.

However, I don't see the sheen everywhere. In some areas, it seems like the naphtha still didn't get all the waxy grime off. The shiny sheen I'm finding is only in the area where I used a lot of muscle and the 4/0 steel wool with naphtha, alternating with Gojo hand cleaner and steel wool. Lots of rubbing involved.

I'd like to finish the table with a new shellac finish, but how clean do I need to get the table to begin? Remove every bit of wax I can? Lots of rubbing and time? It seems that just a soft cloth and naphtha isn't making a dent in the grime. I've also seen that if I use 2/0 steel wool, I see the finish underneath gets very dull, as if I'm scratching it.

Should I be using a more agressive wax remover? Like Zylene?

Thanks! Maureen

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