Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New Thing #2: Oil

Over the weekend, I oiled doors and baseboards.

No, not the hinges. Not that baseboards have hinges.

When we had our house built, we opted for stained wood doors and trim throughout, a decision I'm still quite happy with. But, over the past 8+ years, the finish on the wood is starting to wear. Whether its normal degradation or crappy builders grade finish, doesn't matter.

We've been noticing the problem with our windowsills for a while, especially the kitchen window that gets hit by both sunlight and water spray from the sink. A year or two back, I went looking, several times, for furniture wax hoping that I could protect the finish a bit and delay the need to refinish. The closest I came was a bottle of "lemon oil" made for wood furniture. Not quite wax, but it didn't claim to be harmful to a modern-day polyurithane finish. It wasn't terribly effective on the kitchen window, which is just due for a re-finish. I stuck the lemon oil bottle in the back of the closet and forgot about it.

But, I ran into it again this weekend. And I read the bottle again. Effective in diminishing the appearance of scratches. Hmmmm....I wiped a little over our laundry room door, which I had gouged with the door to the washing machine (overlapping doors, tight fit). Very nice.

I kept going. The base boards in the kitchen were looking a little dry and scratched from 8 years of mopping. They look shiny and new(ish) now. The pantry door had some dry-ish looking spots. No longer. Upstairs in our master bathroom, I disguised the beginning of some water damage on our water closet (the little toilet-room inside the bathroom) door. The house smelled nicely of lemons all afternoon.

It helps that our woodwork is all honey-colored, so adding a yellowish oil really does help disguise the little scratches and dings. I don't think it would work very well with, say, a dark mahogany finish. I worried that the wood would discolor, or that the effect would evaporate off. 4 days later, so far so good. I'm not expecting permanence, and we still need to re-finish a few windowsills (probably with something weather-proof).

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