Caring for antique furniture.

Views 11 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful

General Care.

All antique furniture requires a little care from time to time.  For most items this is just a wax polish using beeswax once a year.  This helps to protect the timbers from drying out and builds up to a wonderful patina over time. 

Whilst this takes care of the general appearance of your antiique furniture you should also remember the parts that are not seen.  At least once a year you should dust the back and the inside of your furniture.  This will help to prevent any infestation, which although not a common problem in most circumstances, it can still cause problems if it goes unchecked.

Once a year you should take a candle and rub it on the drawer runners.  This will make them operate smoothly and will also help to prevent wear.

If you manage to break or chip a piece then it should be glued back and held with clamps as soon as possible.  Remember to use a good quality wood glue.  This will ensure a good tight repair. 

Some tips we have picked up over the years:

Mahogany furniture.  Mahogany can be wax polished as with most woods once or twice a year to keep up the general appearance.  If the piece is tired and looking dry it will usually respond well to a coat of boiled linseed oil (mixed with a little stain if faded) available from any DIY store. Test on a small area first as this method can cause a patchy finish.  The oil should be applied generously and left for an hour before wiping off the excess.  The day after you should buff lightly with a soft cloth.  You can repeat this process many times to build up a nice and resilient sheen.  Do not apply linseed oil to anything make from plastic, it will melt it!  For light scratches and scuffs you should cover using a good mahogany stain then apply a little linseed oil to finish.

Oak and Pine Furniture.  If you oak furniture is looking tired or scuffed/ scratched then follow the steps above.  For pine furniture you are best avoiding linseed oil and just coating with a clear wax and polishing.  You should always remember that period oak will usually have a very deep colour and almost mirror-like patina.  Under no circumstances should you attempt to clean this.  A light wax should be all that is required to ensure your furniture continues to look as it should.

Rosewood Furniture.  For general polishing you can use either beeswax or petroleum jelly.  It is worth trying both out on a small area to see which works best.

Teak Furniture.  Apply a light coat of teak oil and follow the steps as per Mahogany furniture.

Gilt Mirrors.  These should only ever need a light feather dusting.  Never get glass cleaner on the frame as this will wear away the finish.

This guide is an on-going item.  We will add to this as often as possible.


Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides