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Subject: Furniture polish

Furniture polish

From: Paul Storch <paul.storch>
Date: Tuesday, March 3, 1998
Andrea Hathaway inquired about an alternative to using "lemon oil"
polishes on library tables.  I think that her concern is a valid
one. Depending on how thorough the maintenance workers are at any
particular polishing session, there may be excess liquid on the
surface of the table that could be wicked up by bookbindings and
maps.  Lemon oil polishes are all based on mineral oil with citrus
scents added.  The polishes merely saturate the surface of the wood
and serve no purpose in 'moisturizing' or 'feeding' the wood, nor in
any way serves a preservation function.

An alternative would be to apply a coating of hard wax, such as
Butcher's White Diamond Bowling Alley wax, buff it well, then switch
to dusting with a clean, soft cloth at the same intervals that the
polish was applied.  The wax formulation contains turpentine, so the
waxing might have to be done at off-hours with good ventilation and
allowed to dry thoroughly before using the tables.  It usually takes
5-10 minutes to be dry enough for buffing.  Follow the directions on
the can. Depending on the amount of use of the table tops, the
waxing might have to be repeated every 6 months.  The wax will give
more protection to the wood and the original finish and will not
effect the library materials. It also cuts down on labor and
maintenance.  Hope this helps.

Paul S. Storch
Objects Conservator
John and Martha Daniels Objects Conservation Laboratory (JMD-OCL)
B-109.1, Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd West
St. Paul, MN  55102-1906
Fax: 612-297-2967

                  Conservation DistList Instance 11:74
                   Distributed: Friday, March 6, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-11-74-006
Received on Tuesday, 3 March, 1998

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