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Thread: Best product for just cleaning, not a full refinish?

  1. #1

    Best product for just cleaning, not a full refinish?

    I used some home depot (Hunters, Foresters?) brand product. It was a golden oak stain/wax/refinishing product. I like the results, but it didn't really clean the grime out of the grain at all.

    Is there something that cleans better than this? I am not going to strip and sand and do a full refinish because the base finish is in really good shape. I just want to clean it better.

    Would soapy water with beach or vinegar, or some homemade concoction work?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    I'm afraid you are not going to get the results you want with a "just cleaning". To get the dirt and schmutz out of the grain pores of the wood, you have to strip, sand, and bleach with oxalic acid. It's probably much easier to do that than go through the gyrations you would to try to clean it with household compounds.

    After restoring over 185 of these boxes, I've found that to be true. Besides, who wants to end up with a dirty old box?

    Scroll down to "Stripping old Finishes"

    Just my humble, but informed, opinion,


  3. #3
    Well, I suspected that was the answer.

    Anybody sell Rushbrook in a can?

  4. #4

    Rushbrook in a can

    can.jpegMy brother in the can....

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Nevada and California
    Depending upon how dirty and oily the finish is, you might have some luck first cleaning it. My box was real flthy but the dirt turned out to be pretty much on the surface. I first removed all of the hardware so that it could be cleaned separately. I cleaned the wood portions of box first with a damp cloth to remove dust, cobwebs etc. and then used a mild solution of Murphys oil and warm water, scrubbing with a 0000 sanding pad from Home Depot. I rinsed the pad frequently and used a rag to wipe off the residue. It took a couple of times before the wood clean began showing through. I was careful to avoid scrubbing off the finish as it was not my intention to strip the finish, only to complete a good cleaning. After scrubbing the wood, I wiped everything up with a clean cloth and let the box dry in the sun. When everything was all done, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of the finish remained. I then applied Howards "Restore a Finish" two times and finished off with two applications of Howards "Feed and Wax" which has a good portion of beeswax in the mixture. The box now looks like a vintage, well kept piece of furniture. The patina and marks of use are still there, indicating a well used and much loved old tool box. If this doesn't work, you can always go the full strip and refinish route as mentioned by those far more experienced than I in restoring these fine boxes.
    I wish you luck. Have fun working on your box.


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