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Woodworking/Restoring moisture to dry wood


Hello--I have mahagony wainscoting and windows.  The sills and trim around the windows is VERY dry--mostly from sun, light and age.  The windows have been replaced and the seal is very tight.  There is no mold/mildew.  I like the aged patina of the wood and do not want to refinish but definitely need to restore moisture to the wood.  What should I use?

Hi Kathy, Mahogany will lighten, bleach, perhaps even turn grey with exposure like that, and any attempt to treat the wood will darken it some degree. You can't really "restore moisture" to the wood. You can seal it and protect it with a finish of some type, be it penetrating or a coating like varnish or urethane, but that will alter the look of the wood from what you have now. Without seeing it, and evaluating it's condition, I can't be much help...but to say that it probably should be protected and sealed.....and I vote for a penetrating type oil or modified oil finish. It will leave the wood looking the most natural, as it does not put a film coating over the wood, but instead penetrates and dries from within, with resins and oil that will seal the fibers and protect the wood. Unfortunately, it will likely change the current appearance of the wood, and if there are minor/major variations in the level of beaching/damage over all the surface, then results will be varied as to how the finish affects the wood in different areas. I like WaterLox "original", at the link below:

Great product...good website, available online and other places...Watco is another choice I could recommend...thinner than the Waterlox, but available in a range of colors too.

Please feel free to post back, you'll need to experiment likely, in an out of the way place or on some scrap if available...make SURE to do that before committing to the stuff, because there's really no going back once applied.
Regards, Greg


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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects,Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings,wood species recognition,usage,etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Sold, built, serviced, setup Home,Industrial and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools, and offered instruction on use and care as well.I even have some Trade show Demo experience.

none at this time.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002)-("27 year compilation of expert know-how"),Multiple times in Family Handyman Magazine, local newspapers as well.

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars by Major tool manufacturers, Delta, Powermatic, Performax, Porter Cable, Skil/Bosch to name a few.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT.(the Antiques capital of CT.)
Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies.For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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