Have you ever ran across a structurally interesting wood piece but layers and layers of ingrained dust or the chalky dry wood left behind made it seem a little too grungy or industrial looking for your home? I was given this vintage tool caddy recently by a friend cleaning out an abandoned barn, but no amount of wiping or even hosing it off could get the wood clean- so I took drastic measures:
Before I could even begin to work on this piece, I knew it needed cleaned Like super duper cleaned. Like the kind of clean a machine does best! So in it went to the dishwasher with just a little borax and lots and lots of water. (Yes! lots of natural “not washable” materials do fine in the dishwasher as long as oils are replaced after the piece is totally dry)
After the dishwasher, I let it dry fully on the porch. Still with a dull and chalky finish, the dishwasher did do a great job of removing both surface dirt and the dust embedded in the grain of the wood.
My secret ingredient for restoring pieces like this is a product called Feed N Wax. It’s a mix of beeswax and orange oil and, I don’t know, some kind of magical fairy dust that transforms old wood.
In less that five minutes of applying and buffing, my rough old toolbox was rejuvenated into a really nice, richly patinaed piece that looks great in my studio holding paint:
This was a fun and FAST wood restoration project, made even faster by using a dishwasher to clean the wood and using a one-coat oil based treatment instead of coats of stains and sealers. The piece may need waxed and oiled again in a few years, but for now I’m loving it’s new look!