Collectibles-General (Antiques)/old wood furniture


Hi Eileen,
I have a 70 year old wooden child's rocker (girls), that is scratched and the carvings are dusty looking.

How can I clean up the wood, without destroying the patina - I don't want to strip it, just make it look better.

Same goes for an old chest with ornate handles.  It's been in my family forever.  When I really look at it, I can see that it looks pretty ratty, but again don't want it stripped.  I think both pieces are walnut.

Thank you,

Hi Agnes
Nice to hear from you.
I would simply give the pieces a cleaning with soft rags and mineral spirits.
Pour some spirits in a dish, dip the rag and wipe well over the wood. Dry with clean rags as you go.
Follow this with a nice paste waxing.
Thanks for writing

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Eileen Cronk


I can answer most questions about the repairing and refinishing of all your old furniture items (the things we call antiques). I can also give you advice on what wood items to choose and what wood items to avoid at auctions, flea markets etc. I DO NOT give appraisals on antiques as this is not my field of expertise.


I have been repairing, refinishing and of course buying old furniture for the past 30 years. On any given weekend I can be found at auction sales or flea markets searching out a good buy. I have taken several courses in this area over the years, but I find "Hands On" learning to be the best teacher. I can help you avoid the pitfalls and problems of this wonderful rewarding craft.

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