Thursday, October 25, 2012

Removing Stickers and Sticker Glue from Wood/Antiques

In front of me stood not only a gorgeous antique dresser, but the task of removing the Avery labels that were applied by a previous owner.  Someone obviously needed reminding of which drawers had their pants and shirts so labels were stuck to each drawer.  When I purchased the dresser, most of the drawers had the labels pulled off and the sticky residue was left behind.  Other drawers had the sticker paper still on. 

These labels needed to go!

Let's first start with what not to do to remove stickers from wood.  And when dealing with antiques, you need to be extra careful. 
1. Do NOT use nail polish remover.
2. Do NOT use an Exacto knife or any other knife to scrape it off.
3. Do NOT use Goo Gone or any other harsh remover.

Now that I've taken away your "old-standby" products, what's left? 
1.  Minwax Wood Cleaner:  According to a rep for Minwax, this can be applied with a cottonball.  Saturate the sticker and let sit a few hours. Then the sticker should wipe off.  Unfortunately, in my area, I could not find this product.  We only had the hardwood floor cleaner by Minwax and that didn't do the trick. 
2.  Howard Feed-n-Wax:  Since I already had this amazing product on hand, I decided to see if it could do the same as the Minwax cleaner.  I applied it with an old t-shirt to the drawers that were just glue (no sticker paper).  I didn't even need to let it sit.  It started to come right off.  So I alternated between the saturated cloth and a clean cloth until it came off.  As for the stickers with paper, I soaked them for a few hours and then gently worked on getting them off.  Carefully, I peeled them off with my fingers and then continued to saturate and rub off.
No more stickers!
In the end, the Howard Feed-n-Wax did not harm the wood, and there's no sign of there ever having been stickers except for one small area that was there from the previous owner trying to peel them away.  I'd love to hear if you have any other ideas that have worked for you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cushman Colonial Dresser: My Latest Bargain!

I get excited about old furniture.  I especially get pumped up about finding a piece for a bargain!  Yesterday, was my turn at a great deal.  I wandered into Goodwill to find a dresser for my youngest son.  The last dresser I found him, turned into a beautiful antique and I kept it for myself (click here for that dresser).  So, I went on the search for him again.  This time, I found a great dresser, but unfortunately, it will once again pass him by.  Not only is it too large for him, but it is a beautiful antique that my husband has decided to get in line for.  And Dad trumps son.

While I was ready to leave Goodwill empty-handed, I overheard someone say that a bunch of furniture was just dumped on the porch (instead of at the drop-off zone) and it was just sitting out there.  I bolted out the door and to my surprise, found a whole bedroom set!  Unfortunately, some other people beat me there and had already started claiming pieces.  It was a furniture frenzy!  I snagged the dresser before the employee even got the price gun.  When all was tagged, I walked off with this beauty for only $30!  Yes, that's a bargain!  The dresser is large, strong, really sturdy, and not a piece of wobbling or coming apart anywhere.

Better yet, when I got home, I looked up the company, Cushman Colonial Creations.  They produced furniture mainly from the 1930s-1050s and focused on using birch wood and solid craftsmanship.  The birch accounts for its sturdiness and the craftsmanship for how well it has held up.  Some of the Cushman pieces are quite valuable. 
"Pants" labels on stickers
So with that in mind, I had to wonder where this piece had been that it'd been reduced to a storage unit with stickers.  Really, did someone need to junk up the drawers to tell themselves what was in each drawer?  That's what we do to Ikea funiture (sorry Ikea) not antiques. 

So now it is in my hands.  The stickers will be removed, the stains will be assessed and this dresser has found a second chance at life, and a second home.
LOVE those drawer pulls!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lifesaver for Old Wood: Howard Feed-N-Wax

If your old furniture needs a second chance at shine, or the scuffs from years gone by are making it look old, do I have the product for you!  A friend of mine just introduced me to this best kept secret on the top shelf at Home Depot.  It seems simple, beeswax & orange oil.  The smell is yummy.  For the wood, it's a new lease on life.  I wish I had taken a before picture of the antique table that holds our bowl of keys.  Over the years the keys have often missed the bowl while being dropped leaving many scratches on the table.  I was thinking about sanding down the top and restaining it.  Then along comes Feed-N-Wax.  I applied it and the table looks brand new!

I'm now going nuts through the house applying it to knicks and scratches, to old wood needing conditioning, and even on squeeky drawers.  Just a swab of this stuff on the drawer bottoms and they slide beautifully again! 

The directions are simple (taken right from the bottle):
1.  Saturate a small pad of cloth and wipe on.
2.  Let stand at least 20 minutes and wipe off excess.
3.  Polish out with a clean cloth.