Like all vintage furniture this piece requires a little love and care to keep it looking so great. One product we use to acheive this, particularly for table tops, is hardwax oil. Don't be fooled by the name, it is neither a wax nor an oil, yet at the same time it is both. Like an oil, it is applied liberally and easily, and buffed back till dry. Like a wax it gives your piece a protective layer, repelling dirt.
Where hard wax differs from traditional teak, danish oils and soft furniture waxes is in its durability. Hardwax oil was originally designed to be used on solid timber flooring, and as such it needs to be hard wearing, dependable and easily repairable.
We have tweaked the application process a little so as to suit use on furniture and to make reapplication easier for you.
Remember, your piece of furniture is made of timber, natural and somewhat unforgiving, so there are just a couple of easy tips we want to share with you to help you care for the Hardwax oil finish.
Most spills (even red wine) can simply be wiped straight off with a damp cloth. Only don't let the spill sit too long, or at all if possible. The Hardwax oil can only repel for so long before the moisture will seep through.
We would recommend you clean the surface with a damp rag only, however we have found that using an environmentally friendly spray cleaner like Orange Power is gentle enough to use.
Why Hardwax Oil?
You may wonder why we use a Hardwax oil instead of other furniture finishes such as wax, varnish or lacquer.
Furniture Wax - We have found that while furniture wax is a lovely finish, and is perfect for some items but is not suitable for a table tops. Unlike Hardwax oil a spill or wet glass will produce a stubborn discolouration or ‘ring mark’ very easily.
Varnish and Lacquers - We love timber, for its warmth, natural imperfections and organic beauty. While using varnishes and similar finishes do appeal to some, we find it difficult to bring ourselves to suffocate timber beneath an un-natural finish packed with plastics and nasty volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Whilst lacquers tend to be a long lasting protective finish, when they need repair, and inevitably they do, the entire finish needs to be removed. This is particulaly troublesome with mid-century veneered table tops. Whereas with a hardwax oil finish, many small touch ups can be done with another application of oil on the affected area.
Application of Hardwax Oil
In the workshop we apply several coats of Hardwax oil. You may like to re apply coats to your piece to keep it adequately protected. We would recommend you apply 2-3 coats of Hardwax oil every 6 month or so.
- Apply the Hardwax oil on to the surface using a clean rag. Applying thickly will ensure it wont cure quickly and can sometimes make application easier.
- Try to do the application in small sections, on a large table top, break it up into quarters, it is important to buff back the Hardwax oil before it starts to cure or dry, so keep the woking section small to help you stay on top of things. On very hot days, the oil will cure much quicker meaning you will have to work faster so it is sometimes best to do the application early in the day.
- Using a new rag, buff the Hardwax oil in a stroking motion, with the grain direction, for the full length of the piece. Ensure the surface is evenly buffed back and no areas look ‘shiney’ or wet. Sometimes it helps to view the surface from different angles to ensure the surface is fully buffed.