Roger Bisby tries out Liberon’s woodcare range.
The newel posts and spindles on this staircase were originally coated in a heavy shellac varnish which was, like many Victorian houses, dark and foreboding. Stripping joinery and floorboards back to bare wood is a very popular thing to do and certainly lightens things up a bit but the wood then needs nourishing and protecting.
You can, of course, use a polyurethane varnish but in this case the Peel-Away paint stripper had drawn all the moisture out of the newel posts leaving large open splits in the grain. It needed feeding and the ideal product for this is Liberon Tung Oil. Tung oil, from the tung tree has been around for over 2,500 years and was used on sailing ships to weatherproof the timber. It is perfect indoors and out for treating split wood. The downside is that it takes several days to dry but Liberon also has a quick drying version which contains driers. If you are trying to feed split wood the slow drying version is much better.
By diluting the first three coats with white spirit the oil was taken deep into the grain and, almost overnight, the splits began to close up. It was like taking a long drink at the desert oasis. If timber could talk it would surely have said a big thank you, though it might also have questioned why we sucked the life out of it in the first place. It had sat for over a hundred years with its moisture locked in and the best thing would have been to feed it immediately after the coating was removed to stop the moisture evaporating out.
No matter, “all’s well that ends well” as Shakespeare wrote. The good thing about using a natural product such as Tung Oil is that you can carry on feeding it into the wood indefinitely so if you have hardwood kitchen worktops it is the ideal solution to keep them looking good. A very light rub down with a fine steel wool, a good vacuum off and a couple of coats of oil will bring them up like new. Liberon Tung Oil is suitable for contact with food, in fact you can coat your bread board in it or even your wooden salad bowl.
Furniture wax comes in translucent bees wax but Liberon also provides it as a coloured cream that gives protection to the wood and a light colour stain which still allows the grain to show. You can apply it with a lint free cloth and just buff it up when it dries. It is a popular way of giving old furniture a face lift with a more modern appearance. This is just one of a whole range of wood care and stain products from Liberon. Its website has videos and ‘how to’ guides for a whole range of projects.