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wyntermoon
04-25-2008, 10:58 PM
GAH. Google has failed me.

What would Victorians use as polish for fine wooden furniture? Why am I thinking beeswax and ash?

Thanks!

mscelina
04-25-2008, 11:01 PM
Turpentine and beeswax.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Bees-Wax;-History-and-Origin&id=28068

wyntermoon
04-25-2008, 11:08 PM
You are AWESOME! Thanks! Aaaaaand that could fit in with the plot as well, know of anyone getting turpentine poisoning??

mscelina
04-25-2008, 11:11 PM
It's possible, although turpentine has such a strong odor and oily consistency that I think it'd be hard to get in a sneaky fashion...but what an interesting concept.

I think that link has the recipe in it for the polish--you might be able to tinker with that and figure something out.

:)

wyntermoon
04-25-2008, 11:30 PM
I'm thinking the scent may drive her batty but with the linseed oil and beeswax mixed it, it may not be too bad. Have to try it out this weekend. ;)

mscelina
04-25-2008, 11:34 PM
A lot of antique dealers still use it to polish furniture for their shops. Sometimes when you walk into an antique store, you can catch a whiff of it.

I have to admit though, that the only reason I knew that was because in my youth I was an avid Victoria Holt fan. *shrug* All of her housekeepers are proud of their turpentine and beeswax recipes, and all of her banisters are glistening with it. ;)

Snowstorm
04-26-2008, 02:09 AM
I lived in England for three years and got hooked on antiques. My favorite store used a commercial beeswax. I can't remember if it had any other "hardcore" ingredient (decades ago), but it had lavender mixed into it. I'm sure it did not have turpentine in it because it smelled divine! It came in a tin similar to shoe polish, but wider than a shoe polish tin.

The wax was a pain to use because to do it right the rubbing was time consuming and tiring.

mscelina
04-26-2008, 02:21 AM
yep, it requires a LOT of work to use it as polish. But, if you're talking about dark woods in particular, it really brings out the beauty. lasts longer too.

Snowstorm
04-26-2008, 02:37 AM
yep, it requires a LOT of work to use it as polish. But, if you're talking about dark woods in particular, it really brings out the beauty. lasts longer too.

After over 20 years, I sold the dresser that I used that polish on. I could still catch whiffs of the lavender!

waylander
04-26-2008, 02:44 AM
Linseed oil, turpentine and beeswax
recipe here http://www.bricksandbrass.co.uk/diymats/wood/woodpol.htm

Melenka
04-26-2008, 02:57 AM
You beat me to the linseed oil, waylander! My sister used that to restore the wood floors in her old house.

chevbrock
04-26-2008, 05:16 AM
My mum is obviously not old enough to be born in Victorian times, but she did tell me a story about a friend of hers, who, while pregnant, developed one of those really wierd cravings for the old-fashioned furniture polish she used to use! She would put a dab on the cloth and take out a fingerfull for herself. Pretty sure it had beeswax, linseed oil and lavender in it.

Sandi LeFaucheur
04-26-2008, 07:14 AM
Mrs. Beeton is on-line! http://www.mrsbeeton.com/41-chapter41.html#2307 (2308, 9, 10 have furniture polish recipes)

This will be a valuable resource for anything about Victorian housekeeping.

Smiling Ted
04-26-2008, 08:50 AM
You are AWESOME! Thanks! Aaaaaand that could fit in with the plot as well, know of anyone getting turpentine poisoning??

Turpentine had already been in use for hundreds of years before the Victorians, so they were probably pretty aware of its properties. In other words, it could happen, but the likelihood would be just as great then as it is today.

Dollywagon
04-26-2008, 10:28 AM
I'm really annoyed about this. The one thing I know the answer to and when I come in all and sundry have answered!

Not to be out done: It has to be pure turpentine, not the turpentine substitute that tends to be around these days.

Oh, and if you add ash (only used cigarette ash myself) to the linseed oil it will get rid of watermarks on POLISHED furniture. Don't use on bare wood as it will just stain.

There - I've said my piece.

Edit: Just thought, pure turps actually has a more pleasant and less pungent smell than the substitute. Maybe it would be possible to poison somebody with it. Sorry, I don't have any in at the minute so I can't do a smell comparison test.

Tsu Dho Nimh
04-26-2008, 09:28 PM
Good old-fashioned turpentine smells of pine wood.