Furniture Reviver

Wooden furniture gets grimy, over-waxed, dry, scratched or dull with time. The trouble is, we don't always have the time (or skill) to refinish a piece, and some of us are reluctant to remove any patina altogether... Well, I've got a marvelous trick to revive your furniture in an instant - on a budget - no skills involved.

This is a recipe you can adapt to various finishes once you understand what each of the three components does.

In an empty jar, mix:

- one part boiled linseed oil

- one part white spirit

- one part methylated spirit

all available from your local hardware shop. Shake/stir well before each use. Apply with a cloth using a polishing movement. Dry immediately with a clean cloth.

Before Reviver

This recipe is particularly good to revive French polish, but I use it on many finishes, regardless of what they are and it is simply brilliant. I even use it on old leather (do try it on a hidden part first to see how your leather reacts to it). For your information, French polish is a high gloss finish achieved by applying multiple thin layers of natural shellac to the wood. This finish was favoured in the 18th century and still used up to the 1930s.

Here, I use it on a very damaged, dry and grimy finish, possibly French polished armchair leg. This is the result in a few seconds.

After Reviver

This is how each part of the reviver works:

The methylated spirit softens French polish, and if left on the surface, it will eventually remove it (so make sure you wipe your piece dry with a clean cloth within a few seconds of applying the reviver). Because the French polish gets soft, the cloth will bring the polish to a shine. On other finishes, it will help with dirt or anything sticky, like for example, the glue left after a label has been removed.

The white spirit will weaken, even remove wax and grime.

Boiled linseed oil will darken the appearance of the wood, and make any scratches less obvious. It will replace softly any finish that might have been removed by the other two ingredients.

Of course, this reviver will not work very well if your finish is varnish. In the case of dull and lightly scratched varnish, I like to rub on some white spirit mixed with a little car compound (T-Cut for example). Finish off with some Danish oil to even out the surface.


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