A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE
A customer recently asked whether hard wax oil can be used on antique furniture. This question prompted a thorough exploration of the topic, resulting in this comprehensive guide on how to restore antique furniture using hard wax oil. In particular, we will focus on Gilboys Hard Wax Oil, a natural and safe product that provides a beautiful and durable finish for bare wood.
When it comes to conservation, restoration, or refinishing of period furniture, the general consensus among professionals is to use methods and materials that were used at the time the furniture was made. However, unless you have been formally trained in the art of wood finishing and have acquired knowledge and experience of period finishes, you may find yourself at a crossroads.
You have two choices:
A) Take it to a professional
B) Do it yourself.
The decision may be influenced by factors such as the financial value of the furniture, the cost of professional restoration, and your desire to use the furniture for its intended purpose.
In the past, the decision to restore antique furniture was made easier due to the higher value of most antique pieces. However, today, many antique furniture items have significantly decreased in value, making it difficult to justify spending a large sum of money on professional restoration. Consequently, many people opt for the DIY approach, seeking guidance from online resources like YouTube tutorials or informative articles like this one.
The simple answer is yes. While traditional finishes like French Polish (shellac) will have been used in the past, they can be very difficult to apply and may not offer the durability and protection that modern finishes provide. Hard wax oil, such as Gilboys Hard Wax Oil, is an excellent alternative that is easy to apply and provides a durable, protective, and water-resistant finish that can also be easily over polished with Gilboys Gold range of premium wax polishes to give a soft antique finish.
Note: We must point out that we are not suggesting replacing time honoured practises and materials with hard wax oil on valuable and important antique furniture.
Gilboys Hard Wax Oil is a natural wood finish that offers numerous benefits for restoring antique furniture:
Before applying hard wax oil to your antique furniture, it is essential to prepare the surface properly. This includes cleaning the furniture, removing any old finish or paint.It is essential that the surface to be hard wax oiled is cleanly stripped of all the old finish. This will ensure the hard wax oil dries properly after application
Follow these steps to apply hard wax oil to your antique furniture:
Once the hard wax oil has thoroughly dried apply a high quality beeswax polish (such as Gilboys Gold) to create a soft antique sheen. Follow these 3 simple steps:
To keep your antique furniture looking its best, maintain the hard wax oil finish by periodically cleaning the surface with a damp cloth and mild detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives that could damage the finish. If the furniture becomes scratched or scuffed, simply sand the affected area and apply a thin coat of hard wax oil to restore the finish.
Hard wax oil, particularly Gilboys Hard Wax Oil, is an excellent choice for restoring antique furniture. It provides a durable, protective, and attractive finish that is both easy to apply and safe for use on surfaces that come into contact with food or children. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully restore your antique furniture with hard wax oil and enjoy the beauty of your piece for years to come.
For further information and guidance on antique furniture restoration, consider exploring the following resources:
By taking advantage of these resources and continually improving your skills, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any antique furniture restoration project that comes your way. Whether you're restoring a family heirloom, refinishing a flea market find, or simply looking to breathe new life into a beloved piece, hard wax oil can help you achieve the beautiful, long-lasting finish your antique furniture deserves.
In this section, we will address some common questions and concerns that individuals may have about using hard wax oil on antique furniture.
Q: Can I use hard wax oil on other types of wooden surfaces, such as floors or countertops?
A: Yes, hard wax oil can be used on a variety of wooden surfaces, including floors, countertops, doors, and tables. The durable, water-resistant, and heat-resistant qualities of hard wax oil make it an excellent choice for high-traffic and high-use areas.
Q: How often should I reapply hard wax oil to my antique furniture?
A: The frequency with which you should reapply hard wax oil depends on factors such as mechanical wear, the level of use, and environmental conditions. Generally, it is recommended to reapply hard wax oil every few years or when the finish starts to show signs of wear.
Q: Is hard wax oil compatible with other types of finishes, such as varnishes or lacquers?
A: Hard wax oil is generally not compatible with other finishes.It is possible to apply it over previously oiled or waxed finishes but this also may lead to uneven drying of the Hard wax oil and possible flaking of the finish later on.
Q: Can I use hard wax oil on painted or stained surfaces?
A: Hard wax oil can be used on painted or stained surfaces, but it may alter the appearance of the painted finish. It is recommended to test the hard wax oil on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire piece of furniture to ensure the desired result.
To illustrate the process of restoring antique furniture with hard wax oil, let's take a look at a real-life example: the restoration of an antique sewing box from the early 1900s.
The sewing box was in need of repair and refinishing, but the owner wanted to maintain its historical integrity while ensuring it was functional and protected from potential staining. They decided to use Gilboys Hard Wax Oil, following the steps outlined in this guide.
After preparing the surface by cleaning and sanding the sewing box, the owner applied two coats of hard wax oil, allowing adequate drying time between coats. The result was a beautiful, satin sheen that enhanced the natural beauty of the wood while providing a durable, water-resistant, and heat-resistant finish. The owner was able to enjoy their restored sewing box without fear of staining or damage to the delicate materials inside.
In conclusion, Gilboys Hard Wax Oil is an excellent choice for restoring antique furniture, offering a balance between preserving historical authenticity and providing modern-day protection and durability. By following the guidance provided in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently restore your antique furniture with hard wax oil and enjoy the beauty and functionality of your piece for years to come.
Simon's career began in furniture restoration in 1987. Leaving school at 16 and signing on as an apprentice French Polisher at Staverton joinery, he has accumulated over 30 years experience in the restoration of fine and antique furniture.
In 1994 Simon opened the doors on the first Gilboy’s workshop at the Riverside in Staverton with financial and mentoring help from The Prince’s Trust.
In 2015 after years of searching for a beeswax furniture polish that would befit the fine furniture Gilboys were restoring, Simon developed his own beeswax polish using only the very best of responsibly-sourced ingredients.
Simon says, "My intention was not to compete with anyone on price, but to simply make the best beeswax polish it was possible to make"
You can usually find Simon in the Gilboys workshops filming instructional how-to videos for the Gilboys YouTube channel, on help forums, or actively finding new ways to preserve the past for the future.