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Cleaning and Refinishing a Tool Chest

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Bean

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Ladies & Gentlemen
I have recently aquired a Moore & Wright Tool Chest, a Pattern makers or an Engineers, it seem to date to the sixties and at first look appears to be Oak. The 30 or 40 years of workshop life have left it a little dowdy. What sort of cleaning solution should I use and what sort of finish should I then apply. I was thinking of using a mixture of equal parts of Linseed oil, white vinegar and meths, rubbed in with 0000 wire wool. Is this suitable ? is there anything better?

Thanking you in anticipation

Bean
 

Philly

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Bean,
I think you need to speak to our "Tool Chest Queen"-She should be along shortly!
Barechest-edly,
Philly :D
 

Chris Knight

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Bean,

Your proposed finish sounds bizarre! But perhaps you were talking about a cleaning solution in which case the Linseed oil has no place there.

Don't go near oak with wire wool. The little bits of metal that break off will stick in the grain and stain it black in no time.

Depending what finish it has on it and whether it is worth keeping, I would clean it with scotchbite and white spirit. If the finish is rubbish, I would strip it and start over.

An oil finish (Liberon Finishing Oil or similar) or a decent varnish would work fine.
 

Alf

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Well I answered Bean's query via PM before I saw this thread, but in case it's any use to anyone else, here 'tis:
Well I went for "extreme patina retainment", so mine is clean but no one will ever mistake it for new. I went carefully 'cos I still had the decals and didn't want to lose them. I just used paste wax and cotton rag. Lathered it on, rubbing vigourously on the worst bits, then wiped off the dirty excess with paper towel before buffing it out. One day I mean to try Mark Marsay's recipe, which might well be a better alternative but I can't speak from experience. As always, a discreet test in an unnoticable spot will save heartache. :D Oh, and whatever you do, don't use steel wool 'cos of it being oak - staining and all that. (Please provide your own eggs for this instruction... :oops:)
Cheers, Alf
 

Bean

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Chris the solution worked well on an old oil stained captains chair which i am getting round to restoring. The recipe was given to me by an old fellow in the village, it may however be his favorite tipple but it does clean oil from wood quickly.

Are you suggesting that the solution without the oil will have improved cleaning properties. Is the oil detrimental ?

bean
 

Chris Knight

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Bean,
The reason I felt that Linseed oil had no place in the mixture was because, as a finish in it's own right - albeit pretty slow to polymerise if it is not "Boiled Linseed Oil" - it could compromise subsequent finishing or staining, depending what finish was chosen. The oil will act as a solvent for various things (notably oil stains!) but so too would any number of other oily things like white spirit, baby oil, kerosene, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil etc. that are more easily got rid of when cleaning is done.

Still, I won't argue with successful results and if it has worked for you in the past then go for it.
 

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