Moses T's takes great pride in the quality and effectiveness of our all natural, Professional Quality, non polluting furniture care products.
Our products are the results of years of research and testing. We use only the finest ingredients, such as Baltic Amber from Russia; Kauri Copal from Africa; Sandarac from Morocco and Oil of Lavender. These formulas are based on those used in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Our products Do Not contain processed versions of crude oil commonly used in polishes, waxes and finishes containing petroleum distillates and a host of inorganic chemicals that ultimately dry out and damage the furniture they are intended to protect and are injurious to atmosphere and biology.
We believe Moses T's to be the finest furniture care product line available. Our products are more costly because they contain expensive ingredients that nourish, protect and maintain the integrity and beauty of your valuable antiques and fine furniture.
Included below is a guide to the proper use of these products, originally produced as a small booklet it provides important information about furniture care:
Moses T's Guide To Furniture Care & Restoration by Stephen A. Shepherd
© 2000-2001 Stephen Shepherd, All Rights Reserved
Reviver - A wood & finish treatment
This effective wood and finish treatment dramatically revives and maintains old dried out wood and finishes including Painted Finishes. Restores the original finish. Deep penetrating, Reviver consolidates, stabilizes and conditions even severely damaged pieces. Use on worm, rot and sun damaged pieces, cracked, crazed or checked finishes. Re-laminates flaking or delaminating painted finishes. Converts oxidized painted finishes back to their original color. Not an amalgamator (does not melt the finish). Removes water rings, water marks, paint splatters, heavy wax build up and other accumulations when gently rubbed in with fine (0000) steel wool in the direction of the grain. Use after stripping to neutralize stripper and return the natural oils and moisture lost through the harsh stripping process. Eliminates mold and mildew. Cleans grease from kitchen cabinets. Removes smoke and soot damage from paneling and furniture. Removes smoke order.
Old Finishes - Painted finishes - Wooden Statues - Grained Finishes - Carvings - Rattan & Wicker - Tortoiseshell - Lacquer - Mother of Pearl - Cane & Rush - Artifacts
Because of the wide variety of different colors of woods and finishes, Moses T's products are offered only in their natural color. If color is missing from the finish or wood it may be added simply by mixing a small amount of Artists Oil Colors (NOT ACRYLICS) with as small amount of Reviver to achieve the desired color. A White (zinc oxide), Black (black iron oxide), Brown (burnt umber), Red (sienna) and Yellow (ocher) will provide all of the necessary pigments to mix and match perfectly any missing color. Dry powdered pigments may also be used.
Heavily varnished finishes that have cracked or crazed finish requires only a light coverage with Reviver to treat just the cracks and to prevent the oils from penetrating through these cracks and discoloring the underlying wood. First test in an inconspicuous place. If this happens immediately wipe off and treat with a desiccant such as cornmeal, cornstarch or whiting to extract the oils from the wood.
St. John's Oil - A satin oil finish
An Old World formula for the informed and discriminating connoisseur of fine Antiques who prefers the traditional (non shiny) satin oil finish without the deteriorating and drying effects of petroleum based products. Saint Johns Oil bathes the wood with penetrating, moisturizing emollients that conditions and protects the wood and finish from within. A natural Danish oil finish that actually dries. Excellent for that satin finish on oak or pine. Safe for Painted Finishes.
St. John's Wax - A light wax oil finish
This wonderful LIGHT WAX oil finish is easy to use and contains just enough PURE Beeswax to provide maximum wax protection without the heavy wax build up. Seals and protects. Achieves a moisture barrier to exposed surfaces such as table tops, outdoor furniture, shutters and doors that need extra protection from water and exposure. Unlike most other wax products on the market, St. John's Wax contains oils which penetrate to condition, treat and finish while the Pure Beeswax remains on the surface to protect and can be easily buffed to a beautiful wax luster. Does not water mark or water ring. Seals in colored waxes. Easier to use than paste wax. Paste wax can not penetrate or protect and offers a false sense of protection that allows to wood or finish to dry out. St. John's Wax is Excellent for Painted Finishes.
Gunstocker's Finish - Capable of a high gloss
This Nineteenth Century Ohio River Valley formula was originally used to achieve the deep luster and high shine associated with fine wooden gun stocks of the region. The natural moisturizing conditioners penetrate wood or finish while the hard gums and resins are deposited on the surface to provide durable protection as well as a high gloss. Helps protect against scratches. Strengthens soft woods. Safe for Painted Finishes. Use Gunstocker's Finish on mahogany and lacquered pieces or wherever a high gloss and rich luster are desired. Excellent for wood floors. Finishes new wood in as little as three applications. Wait 24 hours between applications.
Leather Reviver - Restores old dried out leather
This exceptional leather treatment and cleaner renews pliability and flexibility to old dried out leather as well as keeping new leather looking beautiful. Provides lasting protection, conditions and waterproofs. Removes surface accumulations. Deep penetrating Leather Reviver consolidates, strengthens and moisturizes brittle powdery and disintegrating leather. Treats red rot. Leather Reviver also treats hides, skins and furs to reduce hair loss (apply to skin side - not hair side). Not recommended for suede and will like other oil products darkens most leather.
Oxyguard - Finish for metal or painted finishes
An all natural oxidation protection for any metal. Cleans surface accumulation, not abrasive (may be used with 0000 steel wool or fine bronze wool). Prevents rusting and if applied to rust prevents spreading. Provides tarnish protection on brass, copper and bronze with a thin coating that does not chip. Excellent for wrought iron, ornamental iron, cast iron, steel and sheet metal. Prevents oxidation on pot (gray) metal and pewter. Safe for Painted Metal Finishes. Oxyguard is also excellent for vehicles, RV's, boats and planes. Provides lasting shine on vinyl, plastics and plastic laminates as well as oxidized exterior finishes. Protects from sun and heat damage. Provides exceptional results on fiberglass and other hard resin finishes. Excellent for sporting goods. Gently and effectively removes road tar and tree pitch. Protection that lasts.
The oils used in Moses T's All Natural Products are long bond complex natural polymer molecules that because of their small size penetrates deeply and provides protection from within thereby strengthening the internal structure of the finish, wood or leather. Unaffected by ultraviolet radiation. These oils actually dry. All other products that contain petroleum distillates, lemon or orange oil, never dry. They are merely cosmetic and do not treat or protect but evaporate and dry out the wood and finish causing further damage.
All the wax, gums and resins in Moses T's products are huge sticky molecules that can not penetrate the wood fibers or finish but are deposited on the surface where they protect from exposure.
KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN. Warning: Contains turpentine, not for internal use. If accidentally swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting, seek Professional help. If contact with eyes flush immediately with water. Use Adequate Ventilation.
Dispose of Oily Rags Properly. Spread out to dry in airy place or soak with water and place in outside trash. Spontaneous Combustion Hazard. This product, like all oils will darken raw, untreated wood.
Material Safety Data Sheet - available on request.
Moses T's Guide To Furniture Care & Restoration by Stephen A. Shepherd
Furniture including antiques requires a certain amount of maintenance and care. The proper care of furniture can increase the life of the furniture indefinitely. This publication focuses on the care of furniture and the correct methods of touch up and finish restoration to damage that invariably occurs to the exposed surfaces of the furniture. Repairs to furniture are covered in another of Moses T's Technical Leaflet series.
Repairs should be done to the furniture prior to any finish or touch up work. Missing parts need to be replaced with replacement parts that exactly match the original. The wood used should be of the same species as the original and fabrication in the exact style and shape as the original. Liquid hide glue should be used to repair any loose joints of antique furniture and carpenters glue used only on any breaks in the wood itself. Any glue should be removed from exposed surfaces to allow the finish and or stain to soak in evenly. Pigmented shellac can be used to cover up any glue that can not be easily removed. Check the list of Furniture Care Tips at the end of this publication.
The first step in the process of maintaining and caring for furniture, including antiques, is a thorough cleaning. The interior should be brushed down and vacuumed. All loose dirt should be dusted from the surface prior to washing. Washing is done with clean warm water and any liquid soap, not detergent. Put a few drops of soap into a quart of water, add more if surface accumulations are excessive. Wash the piece with a soft cloth or sponge that has been wrung out. The surfaces should NOT be flooded with the soap water mixture. Puddles should not be allowed to stand on any surface. In some cases a plastic scouring pad can be used to remove thick accumulations, paint splatters and any other surface irregularities. Do Not rub too hard at this time on paint splatters or smudges; these can be dealt with during the treatment process.
Some finishes such as shellac and spirit based varnishes will turn milky when water is applied. The hazy milky ness will go away as the surface dries out completely. Dont panic if there is some cloudiness, the treatment process will eliminate this problem.
Once the surface has been washed and cleaned, a dry cloth is used to wipe up any moisture remaining on the surface. Particularly abused or dirty finishes may require a second washing after the first washing has dried completely. Before the second washing or before the treatment process, the surfaces must be completely dry. This can take from a few minutes to a few days depending on the humidity and temperature.
The treatment process should not be attempted until the piece of furniture has been through a thorough cleaning and washing processes and allowed to dry completely. This assures that if the surfaces have been softened by the cleaning process it will have time to dry out and firm up. Accumulations that are not readily removed in the cleaning process (water soluble dirt), will be taken care of during the treatment process.
All repairs should be done prior to the treatment process. Some damage is only uncovered after a piece has been cleaned, so the damage should be repaired before any treatment takes place.
Once a piece of furniture has been cleaned and repaired, if necessary, its surfaces need to be treated with Moses T's Reviver. Simply apply Moses T's Reviver sparingly to all exposed surfaces needing treatment; making sure that all surfaces ore covered evenly with Reviver. Let stand on the surfaces for 10 minutes. After waiting 10 minutes, remove any excess that has not soaked into the surface with a clean cloth. Read the directions on the label.
The surface should be allowed to dry and firm up before further treatment. The nature of Moses T's Reviver is such that it slightly softens the surface to start the healing process. So not be alarmed at this slight softening of the finish as this happens to all finishes and is part of the reviving process. Some surfaces will need only one treatment with Reviver to renew. Others will require additional treatments with Reviver to help repair the damage to the finish caused by the drying effects of time and exposure.
The advantage of Moses T's Reviver is that its solvents are similar to the original finish solvents and the application of Reviver to original finishes does not dissolve and reapply the finish. Rather it slightly softens the finish, re-adheres any flaking finish and begins to repair cracks, crazes, spider webbing and hazing in the finish.
At the same time the cleaning agents in Reviver loosen surface accumulations as well as softening paint splatters and scuffs, allowing them to be removed with a fingernail, putty knife or 0000 steel wool. A light surface scouring with fine steel wool or fine sandpaper can be used to remove stubborn accumulations and surface irregularities. However, if most of the original finish is high gloss, then steel wool or sand paper are not recommended, a coarse cloth such as linen is recommended.
Most water rings and water marks are successfully treated with Moses T's Reviver. Again, 0000 steel wool might be required to open the surface of the finish slightly to allow the Reviver to easily penetrate and treat the damaged finished caused by water.
Clear heavily varnished or lacquered finishes with fine checking require special treatment. All oil products will darken raw untreated wood. This also applies to the raw wood at the bottom of the fine checking or cracks of the heavy clear finish. If Reviver is soaked into these cracks it will darken or change the color of the wood underneath. For this treatment the Reviver is sparingly applied to the cracks with a fine cloth, cotton swab or cotton ball, without soaking the cracks or checks to the extent the Reviver goes through the cracks and into the wood. The Reviver is carefully applied to a small area and quickly wiped from the surface; this is repeated until the entire surface is treated. This is especially relevant to musical instrument finishes. Violins, guitars, harp sounding boards and other surfaces using vertical grain spruce or cedar, require this careful light treatment with Reviver to prevent discoloration of the wood under the clear finish. The darker woods such as rosewood or mahogany might discolor under their heavy clear finish but this is not usually as noticeable and the treatment usually reduces deterioration of this type of finish. A test can be done in an inconspicuous area to determine if Reviver will effect the wood underneath the clear finish.
Antique finishes when they were originally applied, contained moisture in the form of oils and gums that begin to dry out the moment they are applied. Moses T's Reviver, adds the moisture to the finish materials and refreshes the properties of the finish. Cracks, checking, hazing and dulling are all the result of loss of original moisture, hence, flexibility and oxidation begins. This is why the surface damage called alligatoring or alligator finish happens. As the cracks first microscopically appear, air is allowed into the finish and the cracks get wider. Heavy washing of the surface and exposure widens the cracks by washing away the oxidation. Just frequent dusting of damaged surfaces can wipe away the loose oxidation. With a treatment of Moses T's Reviver, the healing process begins, the moisture is added back to the original finish and the solvents also act upon the oxidation to re-fuse it to its surrounding areas. With repeated application, in conjunction with light sanding with fine sandpaper (400 to 600 grit), the heavily textured finish can be smoothed and restored to near original condition. This will never replace missing finish. However, a treatment with Moses T's Reviver will make the missing finish less noticeable. If the finish needs to be replaced, see the following section on touch-ups.
Certain types of furniture are painted with opaque paints to cover the wood grain and change the color of the furniture. Some furniture is constructed of different wood and a heavy bodied stain is used to make all of the woods match. Some old antique furniture is painted and grained to imitate other woods or stone such as mahogany and marble. Moses T's Reviver is safe to use on painted finishes and can perform the same healing process to damaged paint. Flaking and delaminating paint can be re-adhered to the groundwork with a careful application of Moses T's Reviver.
Bubbles or blisters in paint or other clear finishes can be treated with some success with Moses T's Reviver. The Reviver is applied to the areas and the bubbles of finish or paint are observed. Sometimes they will flatten out on their own, other require a flat smooth object such as a piece of glass is placed over the bubbles and pressured applied to smooth them down. If a wooden block is used to flatten the bubbles then an intervening sheet of wax paper is used to keep the finish from sticking to the block of wood. Any blisters that have ruptured and produce areas of missing finish or paint need to be in-filled with matching finish or paint, see following section.
If the finish or wood is severely damaged, several applications of Moses T's Reviver might be required. The finish should be allowed to firm up between treatments to prevent the finish from becoming too soft and susceptible to further damage. The firming up time varies from a few hours to a few days depending upon the properties of the finish and the temperature and humidity.
Dents, dings and creases in the finish and in the wood underneath can be treated with Moses T's Reviver. The Reviver will swell the dents and creases up almost to their original level and will make these marks less noticeable to the eye.
If the furniture does not have any original finish remaining or the original oil finish has dried out then an application of Moses T's Reviver will penetrate the wood and strengthen it from within its fibers. This strengthening also occurs if the wood has a finish. Reviver is the deepest penetrating of all Moses T's Products. After a treatment with Moses T's Reviver, the finish is capable of withstanding heavy use and will be more durable and easier to repair from subsequent damage.
It is important to follow the instructions on the container of Moses T's Reviver. The most important thing is not to allow a thick coat of Reviver to dry on the surface. If this happens a sticky film may result and is easily removed with an additional application of Reviver and the surface wiped down. All excess should be wiped away after the piece has been soaking for 10 minutes.
Old pieces of furniture are frequently covered with many coats of paint over the original finish. The over painting was frequently done just to modernize the old furniture and the original finish may be largely in tact. Some painted and grained pieces of antique furniture have very valuable finishes under the subsequent coats of paint.
In some instances the finish will be protected by a varnish and this varnish provides a layer that separates the original over painting. This varnish layer together with the usual surface accumulations provides a point at which the over paint can be removed. Depending on how well the over paint adheres to the varnish determines how difficult the extra paint is removed. The varnish layer sometimes provides a surface from which the paint will delaminate from the surface from which the paint will delaminate from the original finish and can be removed mechanically. Dull smooth putty knives, pallet or painting knives or dull chisels can be used to remove the paint. Start at a crack or chip and determine if the mechanical removal process will work. Followed by a treatment of Moses T's Reviver, touch ups and finish.
If the mechanical process will not work then chemical strippers can be used. Follow the directions on the container except do not apply the last coat of stripper. Carefully strip only small areas at a time, then after the stripped surface has firmed up (the solvents will slightly soften the original finish), using Moses T's Reviver and fine 0000 steel wool, clean of the remaining paint and treat the original finish beneath. This is followed by touch ups and the piece can be finished.
Holes, cracks and voids in the finished surface need to be filled after treatment and prior to touch up. Some filling is best done after the finish is applied, depending upon the individual cases.
Pumice or rottenstone and pigment mixed with thinned spar varnish can be applied to areas were just the grain of the wood needs to be filled. The area is allowed to dry and smoothed with fine sandpaper lubricated with Moses T's St. John's Oil.
Holes, cracks and voids are vest filled with a hard burn in stick. Shellac sticks or stopping (made of beeswax and rosin) can be used to fill larger holes. Use a burn in knife and apply enough material to fill the particular voids, cracks, etc., then heat the knife and clean it with a soft cloth. Then gently heat the knife and smooth out each filled spot. A lower temperature must be maintained to avoid scorching surrounding areas. Some burn in sticks will bubble if the temperature is too high or dimples in after they cool. You may need to repeat the process if this occurs. If necessary the filling can then be smoothed with fine sandpaper lubricated with Moses T's St. John's Oil or St. John's Wax. Rottenstone can be used to buff out to a desired shine, it should also be lubricated with oil.
Once you get the knack of using stopping or burn in sticks, you will find it a versatile material for finish repairs. It is completely reversible for curatorial considerations and its workability can produce professional results with a little practice.
By adding powdered pigment to heated stopping, any color can be achieved. Only a small amount of pigment should be used, to allow the translucent nature of stopping to match the natural depth of real wood. With filling and touching up, it is important to imitate the nature of the wood by adding depth to fill or touch up by layering fill and touchup. Wood has natural depth and luster. Finishing increases the depth and luster by optically changing the surface. By copying the depth and luster of the real wood and finish in the fill and touchup, the eye is more easily fooled into not noticing the touch ups and fills.
IV Touch ups
Once the furniture has been washed and treated with Moses T's Reviver and any necessary filling is done, it is ready for touch ups. Touch ups are done only in areas where the finish is missing or damaged. Touch ups can be done with dry powdered pigments and a variety of vehicles. The pigment can be used With Moses T's St. John's Oil, with shellac, with paint or varnish or in paste wax depending on the requirements.
If the finish is in good shape but a few minor holes need to be filled then paste wax is chosen. Enough beeswax to fill all of the holes is formed into a ball with the fingers and touched into the powdered pigment until the exact color match is achieved. The wax and pigments are mixed by kneading the ball of wax with the fingers. It is then forced into the holes and can be smoothed with a smooth putty knife, pallet or painting knife. If the was / is not the same color as the original then it should ere to the lighter side and can be touched up later. The wax is then buffed with a clean cloth moistened with Moses T's St. John's Oil if a satin finish is desired or St. John's Wax if wax protection is required or with Moses T's Gunstocker's Finish to achieve a high gloss.
Pigmented wax repairs or touch ups might be all required after treatment to complete a restoration. Sometimes it is done before any other finish work is done. But it can also be done after the finish is completed. Pigmented wax is a versatile repair tool that can be taken into the field and serviceable repairs accomplished without moving the furniture. The wax repairs are buffed with a clean cloth to match the shine of the surrounding finish.
The dry powdered pigments can be mixed with white oil based paint to match the surface being touched up. White latex paint also works. This technique is used to cover marks that cannot be removed or that do not respond to treatments. Cigarette burns and holes filled with wood putty as well as dark stains are candidate for pigmented paint touch ups. The pigmented paints are used to physically cover the unsightly marks. They are applied with a small brush and done in the same direction as the grain of the wood or in the manner of the original finish if it is painted.
Wood is usually more than one color so the first touch ups are done with the lightest color first. This is allowed to dry and the darker marks of the pores of the wood are put on by adding some burnt umber or black to the previously pigmented paint touch up. If the touch ups are dull and not as shiny as the surrounding finish then a final coat of one of Moses T's Fine Finishes will bring all the surfaces to the same shine and luster. If a touch up is particularly dull then a light coat of shellac can add the needed shine; if the touch ups are too shiny then whiting or rottenstone can be added to paint or shellac to dull the finish.
Pigments can also be added to clear varnish to color it when the opaqueness of white paint is not required.
Pigments can also be added to Moses T's St. John's Oil to provide an oil based stain. Once a piece has been treated with Moses T's Reviver they any lighter areas can be stained with pigmented St. John's Oil. Enough oil to do the staining is mixed with just enough pigment to provide the exact color match. It is rubbed on in the direction of the wood, allowed to dry for 10 minutes and the excess wiped off. If should be allowed to dry at least overnight before any finish work or further staining is done.
Pigmented St. John's Oil can also be used to stain wood that has been previously stripped. The stripped piece should be treated with Moses T's Reviver prior to staining. This is done to replace the moisture that is removed by the harsh stripping process. This also ensures that the pigmented St. John's Oil will absorb evenly. End grain wood will absorb more stain than the side grain, so if it is previously treated with Reviver, the stain will absorb more evenly.
If a piece of antique furniture needs a part or two replaced it will need to match the old wood and finish. All wood turns either red or yellow with age. Walnut becomes lighter with age. When replacing parts the first stain should be red or yellow to add artificial age before the matching stain is applied.
Some surfaces might be bleached out by exposure to sunlight. Pigmented St. John's Oil can add the proper color back to the faded colors of the wood or finish. If a darker color is needed then the process should be repeated with thin coats only until the desired finish is achieved. Do not allow a thick coat of pigmented St. John's Oil to dry on the surface; either add more pigment to the oil or use pigmented shellac. Two or three thin coats are better than one thick coats.
Pigmented shellac is one of the most versatile touch up materials. It can be applied in a thin even coat or built up to fill in missing or to fill small holes. It is easily removed with more shellac or alcohol. In museum terminology it is reversible.
Pigmented shellac can be used for a variety of finish repairs. Plain non pigmented shellac can be used to make previous touch ups shine. Rottenstone or whiting can be used with shellac to produce a non shiny (matte) finish. The degree of dullness is directly proportional to the amount of rottenstone or whiting. More - dull and less - shiny. If wood is being touched up then the same process as described with pigmented paint is followed. The lightest color pigmented shellac is applied first, followed by the darker pigmented shellac. If a white or clear finish needs to be touched up then the clear varnish or bleached shellac is used. It may be slightly colored with dry powdered pigments to match the desired light or clear finish.
At times it is necessary to smooth the finish or touch up with fine 600 grit sandpaper. This should be done wet, in other words with a little St. John's Oil on the sandpaper. This lubricates the surface being sanded and reduces heavy scratching on fine surfaces.
If a piece of furniture has been over painted and is stripped, sometimes paint is left in the grain or in cracks or corners. Instead of trying to remove the fine lines of bright paint in the grain of dark oak for example, it is easier to touch up the light paint with umber pigmented shellac and a small brush. At times a brown colored pencil can prove indispensable in covering blemishes such as paint in cracks or open grain. If a light coat of shellac is placed over the touch ups or the entire surface, the pencil marks become permanent and will not rub off. Orange shellac can be used for darker woods and bleached shellac or clear varnished can be used for lighter colored woods and finishes.
After the piece has been repaired, washed, treated and touched up, it is ready for its final finish. In some instances the treatment and touch ups are all that is needed, but if the treated finish or touch ups are dull then a final finish should be applied. Moses T's provides a complete choice of finishes. For a satin oil finish, St. John's Oil is the choice. If wax protection or a rich wax luster are required then St. John's Wax is selected. For those who prefer a high gloss or bright shine then Gunstocker's Finish is the one to choose.
Moses T's All Natural Products are blended from the highest quality ingredients to traditional formulas. They have provided hundreds of years of proven history and have stood the test of time.
The surface should be allowed to firm up after treatment any touch ups should be allowed enough time to completely dry. Any irregularities in the surface should be smoothed with 0000 steel wool or 600 grit sandpaper. Any dust should be wiped away from all surfaces, then one of Moses T's fine finishes can be applied.
Moses T's St. John's Oil produces a satin hand rubbed finish. From medieval origins this oil has been a standard for furniture builders and cabinetmakers for centuries. The beautiful patinas created by repeated application have lasted and protected for hundreds of years. By far the most common furniture finish, St. John's Oil is faithfully recreated by Moses T's for continued use today.
St. John's Oil is applied evenly to the surface needing finish. A thin covering is all that is required. It is allowed to soak into the wood or finish for 10 minutes. Then all excess should wiped off with a clean cloth. A thick film should not be allowed to dry on the surface. If this happens and immediate application of St. John's Oil or in extreme cases Reviver, are required to soften the sticky deposits. It is easy and will save you extra work if all excess is wiped from the surface within 15 minutes after application.
If the surface is too dull after the finish dries then additional applications of Moses T's St. John's Oil may be required. The amount of drying time varies from a few minutes to several hours depending upon the condition of the wood or finish and the surrounding temperature and humidity. Periodic treatment with Moses T's St. John's Oil is all that is required to maintain the surface of the furniture. The oil strengthens the internal fibers of the wood and strengthens and enhances the finish.
Moses T's St. John's Oil is an excellent first application for finishing with St. John's Wax or Gunstocker's Finish. If the wood has open grain and needs to be filled with whiting or rottenstone are mixed with a small amount of St. John's Oil and wiped into the grain of the wood in a circular motion to deposit the filler into the grain. The surface is then wiped smooth, but not hard enough to remove the filler from the grain. Allow the filler finish to dry completely before any further finishing. A light sanding with 600 grit sand paper might be required.
Moses T's St. John's Wax is an oil wax finish that is easy to use, provides beeswax protection from moisture damage and does not build up. The waxes are in a fine suspension within the oil and are deposited on the surface of the finish or wood and maintain the moisture barrier when properly and evenly applied.
St. John's Wax is applied in a circular motion to deposit the wax into any open grain or uniformly cover the surface. It is allowed to soak in for 10 minutes and then the excess is removed with a clean cloth rubbing in the direction of the grain. St. John's Wax can also be used to fill any open grain of the wood.
While the excess wax is being removed with a clean cloth, it will polish itself and buff to a beautiful wax luster. If necessary the process is repeated and after the final application has been wiped from the surface, it can be buffed to the desired wax shine.
On table tops, counters and other areas exposed to water, several applications of St. John's Wax may be required. On exterior wooden doors the frequent application should be in relation to the amount of exposure the door has to the weather. All heavily exposed areas should have frequent treatments of St. John's Wax to provide continuing protection.
For those who prefer a finish capable of a high gloss, Moses T's Gunstocker's Finish, a hard natural resin oil finish is recommended. Gunstocker's Finish was originally used in the early nineteenth century to provide a fine finish capable of a high gloss for rifle and pistol gun stocks. It is easy to use and provides the necessary protection for both metal and wood on those gun stocks. Gunstocker's Finish contains rare gums and valuable resins including amber, to produce a durable shiny finish. Moses T's Gunstocker's Finish is applied to the entire surface needing a finish. It is allowed to stand for 10 minutes to soak in any excess is wiped from the surfaces. Just follow the direction on the container and do not allow a thick film to dry on the surface or the surface will be sticky. Wipe off all excess. It is easier to get a better finish with several thin coats rather than one thick coat.
For a high gloss, several applications may be required. It is important to allow the previous coat to dry before applying the subsequent coats. The time required to dry can range from a few minutes to several hours. Once the final application dries, the surface can be buffed by hand, a lint free cloth or a soft power buffer can be used to bring a high gloss to the surface.
The gums and resins are deposited on the surface while the oils penetrate to strengthen the wood fibers or the finish material. These gums and resins produce friction on the surface that allows Gunstocker's Finish to be buffed to a high gloss.
If the surface is damaged then another application of Gunstocker's Finish can be applied to repair the finish. If extreme damage occurs a treatment of Reviver might be recommended.
When caring for furniture especially antique furniture, it is always best to preserve as much of the original as possible and this includes the original finish. An antique is of greater value if it has its original finish. Moses T's All Natural Wood Care Products provides those original finishes with St. John's Oil, St. John's Wax and Gunstocker's Finish and an excellent treatment for other original finishes with Reviver.
The original integrity of the artifacts can be preserved as well as caring for new furniture that will become heirlooms and priceless antiques for our children.
With proper care and maintenance the useful life expectancy of furniture can be extended indefinitely.
It is far easier to restore and touch up a finish on a piece of furniture than it is to completely remove the old valuable finish and replace it with a new one. Moses T's Reviver allows that to happen by restoring the finish rather than replacing it.
Moses T's All Natural wood Care Products are traditional solutions to furniture care problems.
Notes on the Care of Antique Furniture
-Antique furniture must be cared for not only as personal possessions but as material examples of our culture. Antiques are actual examples of our past and we have a responsibility to preserve and protect these examples for our posterity to enjoy and study. Antiques tell a great deal about our past. They can tell us of how our ancestors mad the artifacts as well as the styles that were popular when our ancestors were alive. The wear can indicate how difficult the past was on both furniture and people. These antiques are rare examples how life was one, two, three hundred or more years ago.
-When repairing or restoring antique furniture it is best to maintain as much of the original as possible, this includes the original finish. The furniture will be of more value if as much as possible of the original is intact. Only replace that which is missing without removing any undamaged sections. Replacing is not preserving but if it can not be helped then the replacement should be exactly like the original in material and workmanship.
-When restoring antique furniture it is important to replace anything missing with exact replacement whether it is the finish or the glue. Antique furniture was glued together with animal hide glue applied hot. When replacing missing glue in loose joints it is important to use hide glue. It is not stronger than the wood itself and if further damage occurs it will usually happen at the hide glue joint and minimize damage. It is easier to repair a loose joint than split wood. Modern glues can be used to repair breaks and splits in wood as long as it is not an original hide glue joint.
-It is always better to restore an original finish than it is to strip and replace it with a new one. As much as 70 to 80% of the value of a piece of antique furniture can be in its original finish. However if the finish can not be saved then a finish exactly like the original should be used to replace the original finish. By using Moses T's Reviver, old finishes can be restored to original condition and any missing finish can then be replaced with finish matching the original in kind with Moses T's Furniture Care Products and shellac or varnish.
-When dealing with veneered pieces of antique furniture, care must be taken to insure the veneer is not damaged. If a piece has to be stripped then the veneer surfaces should not be flooded with stripper or water in the cleaning process. These old veneers were attached using hide glue and hide glue is water soluble. To test for loose veneer on a surface simply run your fingers lightly over the surfaces. If the veneer has a good glue joint then there will be no sound. If the veneer is blistered or the glue bond has failed then there will be a hissing sound as the fingers pass over the bad area. If the glue has recently failed then there is a 50% chance that it can be re-adhere with heat. This can be done by a carefully controlled heat source applied just to the damaged area. If this does not work then the glue will need to be replaced. The area must be free of dirt and other accumulations. This can be accomplished with a hypodermic needle to re-inject glue into the area where the glue is missing. A small slit might be necessary to allow any trapped air to escape as the veneer is being re-glued. Once the glue is under the veneer then it should be clamped flat to the surrounding surfaces. If the veneer is loose at an edge then accumulated dirt should be removed to insure that the glue has a clean surface to adhere to properly. Use a thick piece of clear plastic (1/4 to 3/8 inch thick) when clamping the veneer to allow you to observe the area being repaired.
Care of Furniture
Furniture should be cared for to insure that it makes it through its life usefully and if the furniture is antique to insure that it can make it through the years to come.
The worst enemies of furniture are light, heat, moisture and abuse. If the furniture is protected from these elements then it has a good chance of surviving indefinitely. With some historically important pieces of furniture there is an obligation to mankind to maintain and preserve.
Furniture should be protected from harmful UV (Ultra Violet) rays that can damage the finish and hasten deterioration of the cell walls of the wood itself. These UV rays come from artificial light as well as direct and indirect sunlight. Furniture should never be exposed to direct sunlight. It should be protected by placement in the room or the windows should be coated with a UV filter to minimize damage. Artificial lights in the room should be filtered if they are near any wooden furniture.
Furniture should not be placed in front of heat vents, near radiators or other heat sources. This heat can force dry out the wood fibers, blister the finish, and loosen glue joints or bubble veneer. A clothes iron is a handy tool for reapplying loose veneer but it is also a tool of destruction if it is unintentionally placed on furniture. Before placing any hot object such as a sauce pan on tables or any other wooden surface, always place a trivet, coaster or hot pad down first.
Moisture is perhaps the most insidious natural enemy of furniture. In the form of rain dripping from a leaky roof, flood water damage, water damage under green house plants, water rings or humidity, water loves wood. With a good beeswax finish, however, most water damage can be averted. Green potted house plants should always have seamless pans under them to prevent damage from over watering. Wipe up any spilled water immediately. Even damage from flood waters can be minimized if the wooden furniture is protected with beeswax. The ever present water rings caused by wet drinking glasses can be avoided if the surface is protected with beeswax. For beeswax can only be solved or cut with turpentine, therefore it will protect against other liquids. Humidity is an enemy that can be controlled if the surfaces are sealed with a finish. These finishes need to be inherently flexible to stand the changes in wood with changes in humidity. Finishes made of petroleum distillates do no behave like natural finishes and can cause severe damage. Excessive humidity causes the wood to swell and low humidity causes the wood to shrink. A proper finish will act with the wood while protecting it from excessive movement.
Abuse is the easiest enemy of furniture damage to defeat. If furniture is treated properly it will last indefinitely. This does not mean that the furniture should not be used, non use and neglect allow the furniture to all into a state of disrepair and disregard. If a piece of furniture is being used then any damage that occurs is apparent right away. All damage should be repaired as soon as it happens. This allows the repairs to be done before any further damage. If the wood is broken, the break or crack can be more easily repaired if the edges are sharp and fresh rather than broken over with pieces missing. If a piece of furniture breaks into pieces, those pieces should all be collected and the repair should be done immediately.
Care of furniture also includes how the furniture is used, and how it is positioned or set. It is very important that the piece of furniture is sitting flat on the floor. It must be setting level. Pieces like breakfronts, desks or other items with drawers and doors, require that it be set LEVEL in order for the doors and drawers to operate properly. The hinges and other hardware need to be free from binding to insure smooth operation. If an object with four legs is set with one leg on the carpeting, chances are the doors will not work as they should. This can be alleviated by placing all four legs on the same surfaces and shim under the appropriate leg(s) to make the object plumb, level and square.
Furniture needs to be used for the purpose for which it was intended through design and construction. It is tempting to set on the arm of an overstuffed couch or chair, but that is not how it is supposed to be used. A side chair is not a step stool, a table is not a platform from which to change a light bulb, a coffee table is not a foot rest and a cabinet door is not a childs swing. A chair is intended for setting, not leaning back on the back two legs or twirling circus tricks on one leg, it is for setting or is it sitting. When moving a chair it is best to pick it up by its seat, NOT its arms or cresting rail. When sitting in a chair and it has to be moved up to the table, your weight needs to be shifted to your feet and the chair gently moved forward rather than trying the four legged leap. The same consideration should be given when leaving the table and the chair should be returned gently to the table without hitting the edge of the table top with the chair arms or back or the table legs with the chair legs.
The problem with chairs is the fact that they are the most mobile piece of furniture. It is usually light weight, easy to move, carries heavy loads and is the most frequently damaged. If these guidelines are followed the chair has a better chance to survive.
Tables are subject to their own kind of damage. Setting on uneven ground can twist the woodwork and loosen joints. Liquids allowed to soak in and damage untreated surfaces. Hot objects are all too often placed on tables, heavy items dropped on the tops can cause dents and dings. Heavy loads can cause stress on the woodwork, the heavy handed writer can leave a permanent record of their scribe work through their paper and into the surface of the wood. Protection from these problems can be provided with the use of place mats, doilies or table cloths.
When moving tables, always remove any extra leaves, drawers, etc. to lighten the load. Never grab a table to move it by its top, always pick it up by its apron, under the top where the legs are attached. The apron is stronger and the support is more evenly distributed.
When moving anything with drawers, always remove them before picking it up. Even if it is just to the next room. Invariably what ever is being moved is tipped and out comes the drawers spilling its contents and splitting its seams. Also drawers should never be overloaded with too much weight or too much volume. Drawers should work smoothly and any binding can mean uneven floors, missing guides, broken or worn parts. Try rubbing a little soap on the outside bottom edges of the drawer to make it work smoothly. If a drawer has two handles, used both of them not just one.
Doors on furniture can be damaged because of their frequent use or for many other reasons. The hinges are usually the problem and many adjustments such as tightening up the screws and straightening the leaves or pins may be required. Again the furniture should be sitting flat on the floor to insure that every thing is square.
The best way to care for furniture is to provide protection. This can be in the form of intentional placement, protective coverings and a proper finish. If a piece of furniture is exposed to moisture then it needs protection with beeswax. If a piece gets surface wear then a natural hard resin oil finish is required. The use of products containing petroleum distillates should be avoided. These plastics are not like wood and can cause irreparable damage. Use only natural products when treating natural wooden furniture.
Furniture Care Tips
-A little powdered pigment goes a long way, use sparingly.
-Mix up only the amount of material that can be used at one time, the fresher the mixture the better, dry products have indefinite shelf life.
-Mix shellac flakes with equal parts alcohol, allow to dissolve, shake well, strain or allow particulate to settle, thin to desired consistency. Premixed Shellac in a can should be fresh, check date and dilute at least 50%.
-Use a soot-less flame (alcohol lamp, hot plate, etc.) to heat the burn in knife for stopping and stick shellac. Does not require high temperature that could damage surrounding finish, keep it cool.
-Ideal Furniture Environment: CONSTANT temperature and humidity.
Temperature: Between 60 and 75 degrees (F) Fahrenheit
Humidity: Between 30 and 50 percent (relative humidity)
Avoid rapid changes in temperature and or humidity, drying time of different products varies with temperature and humidity. Cooler and or humid conditions require longer drying times.
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