Asked on Apr 12, 2013

How to restore this antique washboard?

Tara @ Suburble
by Tara @ Suburble
I found this washboard at an antique shop's moving sale. I bought it for $15, not knowing anything about it, or whether it could be restored to its former glory. It is in good condition (no chips on the glass, but some wear on the wood is very evident). You can see in the pictures below that there is some white stuff (paint? wear?) that I don't know how to remove without damaging the piece. There are the words "Crown Glass" on one side, and I'd like to make them more evident.
I'm asking - is there a way I can go about restoring this piece without compromising the words beneath?
And also... for the antique/junk lovers out there... did I pay a reasonable amount for this piece? I bought blind, and I wonder how I did.
Thanks a bunch, guys!
A bit of mildew(?) on the wood.
The glass has some white build-up on it. Vinegar and water?
Some of the white stuff.
Here is where I'd like to reveal "Crown Glass". Can i do it?
  10 answers
  • For the mildew on the wood, I would suggest a watered down bleach solution (4/1). Make sure you wipe it off afterwards so that you don't bleach it out.
  • Tara @ Suburble Tara @ Suburble on Apr 12, 2013
    Thank you, Heather! I will give it a try. I'm guessing that I'll have to wipe it pretty quickly to avoid bleaching the wood?
  • I think you're probably right. You may have to go over it a couple of times.
  • Tara @ Suburble Tara @ Suburble on Apr 13, 2013
    Wish me luck! :)
  • Cathy Marien Cathy Marien on Dec 14, 2013
    After you get rid of the mildew maybe try a light coating of coconut oil gently rubbed all over. Keep us posted on what you try. My mom has one that was her parents that I would love to clean up for her.
    • Tara @ Suburble Tara @ Suburble on Dec 19, 2013
      @Cathy Marien I love coconut oil for most things - I'll definitely give it a try on this washboard (still haven't attempted to restore it yet).
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Dec 14, 2013
    Hemp oil does wonders for old wood.. you would not want to make it like new..I like the antiuque to look like antique. But a nice lemon oil will feed the wood also.
  • Tara @ Suburble Tara @ Suburble on Dec 19, 2013
    Where would I find lemon oil (Or hemp oil, for that matter), @Terra Gazelle ? Would that be at the hardware store?
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Dec 19, 2013
    I got mine from Amazon. It was organic...used by me for nausea for chemo. What was left I used on the furniture. But you do not need the organic for furniture.
  • Janet Stewart Janet Stewart on Apr 12, 2016
    It's Crown Brass
  • Beni Beni on Mar 03, 2022

    This looks fairly straightforward as far as restoring antique furniture is concerned… I’d recommend a bleach solution for the mildew and lemon or linseed oil for the wood. If you want to get fancy, you could even buy some darker wood stain and refinish the wood frame!