Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Preserve Antique Wooden Farm Tools

The preservation of antique farm tools, usually made of a combination of iron and wood, requires care and maintenance appropriate for each material. Additionally, the antique items should be stored or displayed carefully.


Care and Preservation of Antique Farm Tools

1. Analyze the overall condition of each antique farm tool. The least amount of handling and cleaning is always preferable to over-cleaning and polishing. Examine each piece to determine if they require light cleaning such as dusting and wiping with a damp cloth. If they show signs of extreme dirt, rust, or oil, they require more extensive care.

2. Clean the metal portions of each tool. Scrub the metal with a stiff brush and distilled or deionized water. If oils and dirt remain, use a rag with mineral spirits to clean the surface. Use a small brush in crevices and corners. The Benson Ford Research Center recommends the addition of 1% Vulpex, a conservation cleaning solution, to the mineral spirits for particularly dirty objects.

Removal any corrosion with synthetic or steel wool pads and mineral spirits or light lubricating oil.

For tools that require polishing after cleaning, use Solvol Autosol, a polishing compound, on a rag. After polishing, clean off polish residue with mineral spirits.

To prevent rust and corrosion, you may choose to coat the metal portions of your farm tools. When a glossy finish is not consistent with the tool or type of metal, simply leave the piece cleaned and polished. If a coating is appropriate, the Benson Ford Research Center recommends a microcrystalline wax such as Renaissance that will not yellow with age. Apply with a rag and buff with another rag or a soft brush.

3. Clean the wooden portion of each tool. If the dirt is slight, wipe with a slightly damp cloth. Use a small brush or toothbrush for corners and crevices. For dirtier wood portions, use a mild soap such as Orvus in water and clean gently. To remove all traces of the soap, go over the piece again with distilled water. Dry thoroughly.

If appropriate, apply a wax coating to the wooden portion of your antiques. Again, use a high-quality wax. Apply with a cloth or soft brush, let it dry, and buff with a clean cloth.

4. Create storage and/or display options that preserve your tools. Avoid extremes of light, moisture, and heat. Do not store antiques in basements or attics due to temperature extremes, and possible dampness and mold.

Tags: mineral spirits, antique farm, Apply with, Benson Ford, Benson Ford Research, buff with