Soap for furniture?
A soap finish, just like all furniture with a natural finish, requires the some love and care to keep it looking great. Soap is a traditional finish used primarily in Scandiavian countries for both furniture and floors, unlike most other furniture finishes as it allows the timber to keep its natural colour. A soap finish is usually found furniture made with pale timbers like Oak, Ash and Beech.
The application of soap is very easy, its almost impossible to do it incorrectly. Your piece of furniture has had several applications of soap before it leaves the shop.
Making soap paste
- Mix approximately 8 - 10 table spoons of ground soap into a plastic 1 liter container filled with warm to hot water (do not use boiled water as it is too hot).
- Give the contents a thorough stir or, if your container has a lid, a good shake will mix the soap perfectly.
- Leave the mixture to cool.
- When set the soap paste should have a frothy, slime like consistency.
Now you are ready to do some soaping.
- Using a clean cloth, rag, sponge or paintbrush, apply the paste to the surface. The timber will darken considerably when wet, don’t worry this is normal.
- Try to not get to ahead of yourself on large tables or chairs, some pieces are best to do in stages.
- For example: Soap one leg of a chair, wipe off and then soap the rail etc..
- Tables with extension may be easier to soap if you do extensions one at a time.
- Repeat this process as many times as you desire, there is no such thing as too many coats of soap.
Buffing the surface
Applying a wet finish to timber encourages the grain to raise. After you have finished soaping for the day let the surface dry and run your hand along the grain. If it feels bumpy and rough it needs buffing. Even if it feels smooth, buffing is still advised to strengthen the protective coating of the soap.
- You will require a cork or sponge block which you can get these from your local hardware shop (ask for a sanding block).
- Wrap a piece of normal everyday paper around the block (do not use sand paper).
- Rub the surface in the direction of the grain.
- You will notice the finish change from a strong matt to a subtle satin.
We advise you soap your piece as often as possible. The more soaping the better your piece is protected.
Stains, scratches and marks are avoided by continuous applications of soap.