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Cleaning oil finish

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  • Tracie Brown
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 14, 2003
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      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.)

      -- Signy
    • Tim Bray
      Signy, 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,
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 14, 2003
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        Signy,

        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
        the surface.

        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

        Cheers,
        Colin


        Albion Works
        Furniture and Accessories
        For the Medievalist!
        www.albionworks.net
        www.albionworks.com
      • John LaTorre
        ... Um, have you actually asked the harpmaker about this? Without debating Sir Colin s usual good advice on such things, there may be good reasons why a
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 15, 2003
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          Signy wrote:

          >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?
          >
          Um, have you actually asked the harpmaker about this? Without debating
          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)
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