One of the most frequent questions I'm asked is how to look after antique treen?
When an antique treen or wooden item be it a bowl, spoon or box, has survived 200-300 years it should have developed a lovely natural shine and colour through handling and waxing, described as its patina this needs to be preserved and enhanced!
So here are some of my 10 top tips;
1. Use a beeswax 1-2 times a year. Apply the wax generously to the antique treen items which then should be left on overnight to really nourish the wood, before cleaning off with a lint free cloth. The aim is to gradually build up a protective layer which will enhance your antiques.
The wax can come in different colours I have found that the neutral colour wax is good for lighter coloured antique treen items such as pear, apple, sycamore, satin wood and the brown coloured wax is good for dark oak. particularly carved pieces. One problem with leaving the lighter coloured wax on to harden means you can be left with specks of light polish which are difficult to polish off in an intricately carved piece so dark polish is good.
2. If you have both a light and a dark wax polish then you can mix these two by applying a little of each, this works well for a piece of antique treen which is a of medium colour for example some mahogany, elm, ash.
3. It is not necessary to wax polish anymore frequently than twice a year as too much leads to a build up of wax and makes the surface dull.
Once a year will suffice for most antique treen.
4. An exception to the rule, as there is always an exception, is when a piece of antique treen is really dry and the wax just soaks in straight away. In this case a couple of wax applications maybe needed ie wax leave overnight, polish and then repeat straight away again, it might even need a third application!
5. Polish in the direction of the grain.
Do not use spray polishes, which in time can damage surfaces.
6. Never strip back the surface of your antique treen items. Ink marks etc are part of its history. The original glowing surface of your antique which has taken hundreds of years to develop can be destroyed in seconds by stripping back surfaces to get rid of stains. The result will be a dull, lifeless piece where the history has been destroyed.
6. Do not place any antique treen in direct sunlight, this will fade the wood, this can happen quite quickly as little as a few months,
7. Do not place antique wooden items too close to radiators , boilers etc where there is heat as this can lead to wood drying out and cracking and veneers lifting. A good tip is to have a vase of flowers nearby to help the moisture content in the room.
8. Try to prevent fluctuations in temperatures.
9. If water is split, or rain lands on the surface of any antique treen wipe off immediately with a dry cloth, otherwise unsightly water marks will be visible and are difficult to get rid of.
10. Enjoy your antique treen items, don't be afraid to handle them, many are so tactile and anyway wood gets better with handling.......!!