Cleaning oil finish
- Hi! My usual performance harp, which has a tung oil finish
on walnut and redwood, has accumulated a collection of water
spots, hand prints -- everything from my own from handling it
to sticky little kid handprints -- plus dust and grime
overlaying it all. What would be a good way to clean it? It
isn't in bad shape because I usually clean off whatever gets
on it fairly quickly, but the years have taken their toll.
(Could be much much worse. A friend who had just had her
pedal harp restored, including the gold leaf on the pillar
and soundboard, was playing an upscale restaurant gig where a
waiter tripped and spilled cheese sauce on the soundboard.)
Do you want to restore the harp to "like-new" appearance, or just clean it
up but allow it to age a bit?
To restore the original appearance: First, clean it with mineral spirits
and a soft rag. Get all the grime etc. off. Use 0000 steel wool or a fine
abrasive pad, but carefully. Then apply a thin coat of tung oil to renew
To clean it up without making it look new: Use a linseed oil/beeswax
mixture and 0000 steel wool to remove the grime and make the water spots
disappear. Polish with a soft rag. You can get a mixture just for this
purpose from Skidmore's: www.skidmores.com
Furniture and Accessories
For the Medievalist!
- Signy wrote:
>Hi! My usual performance harp, which has a tung oil finishUm, have you actually asked the harpmaker about this? Without debating
>on walnut and redwood, has accumulated a collection of water
>spots, hand prints -- everything from my own from handling it
>to sticky little kid handprints -- plus dust and grime
>overlaying it all. What would be a good way to clean it?
Sir Colin's usual good advice on such things, there may be good reasons
why a harpmaker would NOT use a tung oil finish on the soundboard. With
any musical instrument, the usual rules may not apply because the finish
is an important part of the acoustical properties of the instrument, as
well as its durability.
Johann von Drachenfels
(MKA John LaTorre)