How to Protect Unfinished Wood Furniture
A piece of unfinished furniture will remain clean and last longer if it is sealed with an product like tung oil. The oil product will not change the color of the wood, but it will enhance gloss or shine, protect surfaces from dirt, pollen, other airborne soils, and help protect from scuffs and scrapes. Oil finishes are generally one-step processes, and may be repeated if the finish is damaged or worn.
Clean the surfaces of the furniture of any trace of dust by wiping it with a dry cloth.
Clean again by lightly sanding with 150-grit sandpaper to remove marks and rubs.
Clean again with a tack cloth or a damp cloth. Allow it to dry if necessary.
Pour a small amount of the oil onto a clean, dry rag.
Apply the oil with the rag, beginning at the bottom of the piece of furniture, by rubbing the oil into the wood. Be certain to apply the oil to every exposed surface. Some brands of oil will suggest applying it with bare hands.
Allow it to dry thoroughly. This may require up to 72 hours.
Apply a second coat of oil for improved durability.
Add a coat of polyurethane if more protection is desired.
- Applying the tung oil with bare hands allows the oil to warm as it is applied. Some manufacturers believe this is advantageous. Do not use rubber or vinyl gloves. Plan to wash hands frequently with ordinary soap and water.
- The oil-soaked rags are combustible if discarded carelessly. After use, place them in a sealed, metal container. Dispose of the container as directed by the fire department
Karen W. Waggoner is a retired teacher and lifetime scribbler. She has published short stories, essays in anthologies and periodicals. Waggoner is the author of the memoir, "On My Honor, A Navy Wife’s Vietnam War." She is a graduate of Stetson University, the University of Connecticut and Christian College for Women.
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