Please note, that all advice taken on these pages is done at your own risk.  Scroll down for more articles.

Remember - always test on a part that is not on show!

Quick Fix
A quick and easy way to restore wood back to a good condition is use the following instructions:

  1. Clean all glue, dirt and other detritus off wood.  Don't go mad and use stripper, just standard stuff like Methylated or White Spirit etc.
  2. Mix up the following and wash over surface to be revived with a clean paper towel.
    2 parts raw linseed oil, 1 part pure turpentine, 1 part Methylated spirit and 1 part malt vinegar.
  3. Once dry, polish with Button Polish (a bit expensive but does a good job).

I have used this on water stained furniture and it comes up a treat.

Bob Freshwater

Remove that Grime
For a number of years I have been using a branded product called Coloron "soft finish stripper".  I rub this very gently with the finest grade steel wool.  Rub to hard and you will strip off the original finish.  I then use just a good furniture polish to shine it back, to give a nice finish.

Laurence Rudolf

The complete works

Remove all dust with a dry or damp cloth, and only if the wood is filthy dirty get tough and use steel wire wool soaked in T-Cut or similar car paint restorer. Alternatively one of the water-free hand cleaning preparations is good; it will degrease the wood and leave lanolin behind.


Avoid using too much water at all costs as this may stain the wood or cause it to swell and warp.  An alternative is foaming cleanser spray (but don't leave this spray on for long).  If the wood is very dry it will need rejuvenating with a furniture restorer such as Scott's Liquid Gold.  This is a kind of liquid paraffin and wax mixture, which is allowed to soak into parched wood. It is very effective, although professional furniture restorers hate it on account of its high silicone content.


At this stage you should remove any traces of old polish, using the AF spray already mentioned. People used to employ trichlorethylene (trike) or carbon tetrachloride for this but that's now considered a hazardous substance.


It is unusual to find radio and television cabinets in really bad condition but wood-case telephones and telegraph instruments tend to live harder lives.  Over the years a mixture of polish and dust can build up to an almost black patina and this can be removed to reveal the original finish with this formula offered by John Young of the Signalling Record Society.


                                    1 part              Linseed Oil

                                    3 parts            Turpentine (or substitute)

                                    3 parts            Methylated Spirits

                                    3 parts            Vinegar


Clean the affected wood with very fine wire wool dipped in this solution, then let it dry. Afterwards polish the wood with linseed oil or ordinary wax furniture polish.

Occasionally the wood's original finish may have dried out and deteriorated so badly it must be removed chemically with Ronstrip or some other stripping compound.  Extreme caution is suggested and for valuable items it might be better to take them to a professional furniture restorer.

Note: AF spray (in an aerosol can) is a good solvent.

Andy Emmerson

Cleaning up the wood
For simply cleaning the wood finishes I use Liberon Wax and Polish Remover.  It's not aggressive and doesn't lift or dissolve French polishes, lacquers or varnishes. (So it says on the tin!).

Because of that it won't 'feather-in' or 'blend' chips and scratches, so it can't be used to 'tidy' any finishes.  To do that you would need to use a fine wood stripper such as the one you already use, but I've found that even those can be too aggressive sometimes...... but it does clean very well and leaves the finish ready for a gentle hand buff with wax polish.

Keith Green

Wax Removal
I use a clock cleaning polish from Priory Polishes designed for cleaning clock cases etc.  It lifts old wax and grime etc but leaves the patina intact ready for re-waxing, it really does do a marvellous job they also sell a small tester bottle easily found on ebay.

Andy Millea


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Last revised: October 30, 2022