Asked on Feb 08, 2013

Cleaning and appropriate finish for 100+ Eastlake Bedroom set

Jim H
by Jim H
I have a three piece set of Eastlake furniture that has never been refinished (that my Great Grandmother purchased in the late 1800s). What is the best product to clean and put a natural finish on the wood, as well as the marble tops (and how often)?
Detail of Eastlake chest of drawers.
The washstand (with a little hole on the otherside for the chamber pot).
  18 answers
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Feb 08, 2013
    They sell a marble cleaner/sealer that I use on my marble top end tables. It goes on like a paste wax and when it dries you buff it with a soft cloth. very easy and fast. For the wood part of the furniture you can probably use the paste was found near the stain at Home Depot or Lowes.Good luck with such and beautiful sentimental furniture
  • Judith Demaestri Judith Demaestri on Feb 08, 2013
    Without seeing it in person,I would not take a chance on even guessing.Contact a museum and explain the situation.They will give you restoration experts..................or you could ship it to my house and I promise to return it in 5 years fully restored! It is so beatuiful please consult real experts.No offense Mary.
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Feb 08, 2013
    Oh Judith, no offense taken here :) I am not an expert in vintage furniture nor do i play one on TV lol.
  • Maria G. Maria G. on Feb 08, 2013
    There is a polish I have recently purchased called Signature Polish. Here is their website: 1-877-376-5474 I was given a sample from a neighbor as you cannot buy it in stores. Before even trying it, I called them. Due to time change, I left a message and she called me back on a Sunday. Little did I know it works on my stainless steel appliances too! Good luck - hope this helps (but please call first)
  • Judith Demaestri Judith Demaestri on Feb 08, 2013
    I must amend my post Mary! Jim,if Mary is a putty tat lover,she can do no wrong!!!!!!
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Feb 08, 2013
    LOVE our putty's ...all 3 of them and our little dog too, Our poor Persian, Oscar is 17 years old and his little back legs aren't working too good lately in spite of the medicine we give him :( He is in good spirits though and finds his way up the little steps next to the bed to sleep in my shoulder.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Feb 08, 2013
    I'd go with "Howards Feed and Wax" this is a orange oil and beeswax blend I have been using this product for years and years, I get it locally at my local ace hardware store
  • Z Z on Feb 09, 2013
    That is the most beautiful wood I've ever seen and I look at allot of wood. I'd love to see photos of the rest of your pieces if you don't mind Jim.
  • Carroll A Carroll A on Feb 09, 2013
    What a beautiful piece! I would not put anything but maybe a little beeswax on it.
  • Connie K Connie K on Feb 09, 2013
    Hi Jim, Given the age and beauty of the wood (I love burl wood) and the sentiment it has for you, I'd be very careful what I used. I ordered a book on Amazon last year on furniture restoration and it is written by professional restorers and preservationists in New York. It's more in depth than I will probably need but it has a wealth of information. The title is Furniture Restoration - (Step by Step Tips and Techniques for Professional Results) by Ina Brosseau Marx and Allen Marx. It is filled with information on restoring finishes, substrates, color and most anything else you need. It also has wonderful information on repairing veneer etc. Very, very comprehensive and worth the money. Just the first few pages are really interesting and filled with info on determining what your objective is in regard to restoring your piece; analyzing objects; many other things I never considered before. I was thrilled with some of the notes on what NOT to do. The book documents many of their restoration projects during their 30 year career and me salivating over some gorgeous examples of past craftsmanship. You might check and see if your local library has a copy. While you probably won't want to go to the lengths this book has, at least it will give you an idea of what to use so that you don't cause problems later. Good luck!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 10, 2013
    Hi Jim, whatever you do, please, please do not post that you are going to paint this aqua! If you decide to paint it, please do not inform us. I love painted wood, but there comes a time when it is just wrong. The wood on your pieces looks in fantastic shape so try to just clean it and see if it needs anything else. Good luck! Please post the results of what you learn.
  • The Robin's Nest The Robin's Nest on Feb 10, 2013
    In my shop I have a few very experienced antique experts and woodworking professionals. We have had many pieces of antique furniture and excellent quality wood pieces that were in pristine condition but just needed a little freshen up. I would research the product we use regularly on such pieces. It is not a stripper or anything like that, it's a product called Kotten Klenser, it's non abrasive, it's not strong smelling, it WILL remove safely and gently any unwanted patina, grime etc and it will condition the wood. You apply it with 0000 steel wool, in the direction of the grain, it can sit on for a short time, and then with a lint free (tshirts work well) wipe it down. That's all you have to do, it will look beautiful. I have successfully removed water marks off of a burled maple chest top, with this product it took some time and elbow grease, but it was perfect in the end. (I have before and after pics of this project and it's pretty amazing). Oh and after the Kotton Klenser, then I'd use the Howards feed and wax product :)
  • Toni Pardoe Ellsworth Toni Pardoe Ellsworth on Feb 10, 2013
    PLEASE do not use anything on the wood until you have completely researched it. First contact a reputable appraiser that specializes in antique furniture. Talk to 2-3, find one you feel comfortable with. Ask them any and all questions you can think of. When you feel comfortable with them, ask them to recommend a good restoration person. Be careful about cleaning the pieces because a lot of what you may be taking off is not really dirt or grime but what is called Patina. This is just natural wear and by removing it you will greatly reduce it's value. Then have the appraiser give you an appraisal. Then decide if you want to insure them with a seperate rider on your policy. Make sure you take pictures from all angles.
  • Z Z on Feb 11, 2013
    Very good advise Toni.
  • Gloria tulip Gloria tulip on Mar 28, 2015
    Could be burl wood on the front of the drawers. Look on internet for methods to take care of burl. Probably should not refinish. The condition looks great. Don't destroy the patina.
  • Josephine Vella Josephine Vella on Jun 06, 2016
    sombody told me to use original olive oil on my pine bedroom and it covered a lot of scraches i dont know if it works on your gorgeous piece of furniture....good luck
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Sep 26, 2016
    I also agree with Toni, get it appraised by a professional BEFORE you do anything. From the pictures, the set is beautiful. I'm drooling........
  • Gloria tulip Gloria tulip on Sep 29, 2016
    What did you ever do with this piece of furniture?