AntiquePurveyor's Basic Wood Care
AntiquePurveyor will answer any question you have about wood care. Our hands on experience working with lacquer will steer you in the right direction whether you looking for maintenance or repair advice.
Whenever we have a discussion regarding wood care we usually mention a few products that you should familiarize yourself with. They are as follows;
a) Colortone Products at Stewmac.com #4 Swirl Remover. A soft scratch remover which can be used by hand or by machine. A great cleaner too but should only be used once or twice a year as it removes a thin layer of lacquer. Apply this cream with soft cotton or quality paper towels and rub in circular motion applying a genreous amount of pressure to your finish. Once material drys, the creme will flake off your finish leaving a very clean surface. Repeat 2 or 3 times until you hear the finish squeaking under your cotton rag or paper towel.
b) Guardsman Furniture Polish In most instances, dry cotton will clean a lacquer finish, but when dry cotton is not enough to do the job try Guardsman furniture polish. Dry soft cotton and/or guardsman will remove finger prints, smudges and most dirt. Neither of these two methods will leave a residue when done properly. Do not use pledge on your lacquer finish. Dry soft cotton T-shirts should be used to completely remove all of the applied polish.
c) Naptha and Oderless Mineral Spirits For tough jobs, these two cleaners will clean lacquer better than anything I have seen and is readily available at any local hardware store. Mineral spirits is paint thinner, so we suggest the odorless kind but the smelly stuff works too. Do not mistaken paint thinner with lacquer thinner. Lacquer thinner will destory your finish immediately. Mineral spirits and Naptha will cut extreme grease and harsh dirt. Tape residue, bubble gum, and other sticky dirts will be instantly dissolved with these cleaners with no harm to your finish. Always try a small inconspicous spot before getting aggressive just to be safe, but I have never seen a bad reaction from these two solvents.
AntiquePurveyor's Advanced Wood Care
Knocking down sheen or fixing deep scratches with sanding machines (for tables)
If you trying to remove deep scratches, you will most likely need a machine to help sand down the lacquer. You can also use a machine to reduce a table's sheen from glossy to dull. In the event you need an electric sander to help achieve results, I stongly recomend a Bosch random orbital sander with a variable speed. Model 3727 DEVS with Abralon 6" Discs in 500,1000,2000,and 4000K grit.
When sanding with this machine and with these pads, use a Dawn dish soap and water solution to prevent lacquer from caking under the pads and scratching your surface. We suggest applying the soap solution to the lacuqered surface from a spritzer bottle just before sanding. Dawn soap works best and will leave a cleaner surface with less residue than other soaps. Use these Abralon pads from 500 - 4000 and than polish with #4 swirl remover as described in basic wood care above.
Knocking down sheen by hand (for chairs)
MIRKA MIRLON pads are great for hand rubbing and will definately take the shine out of a chairs finish without hurting your finish. Unlike steel wool, these pads do not shed partlicles and will give you the best results. They last a long time too.
Other Basic Wood Care LInks
Basic woodcare advice can be found at other major brand name furniture sites. Here are some links to major brand name furniture companies for your review.
Henredon wood care Here are some basic wood care tips from Henredon.
Baker wood care tips Baker furniture recomemnds furniture wax to protect your furniture. Wax will build up over time and will eventually need to be removed and replaced, but wax is probably a good idea if you are trying to protect your finish from minor scratches arrising from sliding place mats. Wax will not give you much more protection than that, and it might not be worth all the work. Try waxing an area on yor table and see if you like the results. Sometimes wax can leaf a smudge. If you do not like the wax, use the above mentioned cleaner with Colortone #4 swirl remover to remove the wax.