Best Polish for Antique Wood furniture
It depends on what the finish is, but for non-painted items in good condition a safe but good wax is any of the following:
- Butcher’s Boston Polish Paste Wax, sold @ or
- Staples Clear Paste Wax, sold @ .
These should protect and polish French polishes or traditional true shellac varnishes, and cannot hurt any modern varnish. To bring the shine up, polish (rub out) with a clean soft diaper cloth.
Stay away from microcrystalline waxes, or any of the various oil-based products. While they may be excellent (we use many of them) for some types of finish, they can damage many traditional finishes. This includes organic products, of which we are also big fans - organic products can contain seemingly benign materials that can harm your traditional finish. Orange oils, lemon oils, and emollients of many types can wick underneath the varnish surface and lift it.
We are often asked about linseed oils, which were used often in the past. While linseed oil is excellent for some applications, it can clabber, darken, and shrivel many traditional finishes. It will cause a surface condition called "alligatoring."
Most people over-care for their furniture, and over-wax and over-polish. Best to use these products once year on a warm day when you can open windows and have good ventilation. Keep direct sunlight off the item while you are using the product.