Saturday, 1 February 2014

Wax On, Wax Off, Wax On, Wax Off...

What with my homemade furniture wax experimentation, I was Googling furniture polishes and trying to find why there's such a mystique about it.

Almost every advert for furniture polish waxes lyrical (if you'll forgive the pun) about "nourishing" the wood. This is a load of old tosh - most wood furniture is covered in either French polish or a polyurethane lacquer, which is impenetrable to almost anything except alcohol derivatives (and certainly furniture polish). It's like applying skin cream to your body on top of a plastic mac; totally futile for nourishing your skin, but great at shining your mac.

All polish does is fill any slight imperfections in the lacquer and make it smooth. In no way whatsoever does it even touch the wood beneath - unless your wood happens to be bare (which is rare for furniture). Furniture wood is meant to be dry - if not it becomes bendy. The only use for a preparation that is absorbed by wood is as a preservative, like linseed or tung oil, on bare exterior wood.

Imagine wax furniture polish penetrating the lacquer to "nourish" the wood; what do you think would happen to the lacquer with wax or oil underneath it? It would lift it off, and possibly also lift off any veneers if penetrating more than a few millimetres, thus destroying the item of furniture.

The professionals also advocate applying wax with the grain, which is only of use if the grain is evident in the surface of the lacquer, the purpose being to fill these grainy indentations in the lacquer so as to create a smooth, shiny surface.

Advertising, eh? We all fall for it in some guise and then keep trotting out the crap we "learned" as if fact.

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