Tall Case Clock
Ron Sheetz Furniture and Wooden Objects
Info and Articles

Articles / Tech Notes
The following information was
taken from Ron's Articles

Cleaning and Waxing Furniture

●Cleaning should be preceded by the removal of loose surface soil using soft cotton cloth or a vacuum with a brush attachment. The cleaning of historical wood furniture beyond dusting is not always desirable, and curatorial judgment is required.

●Clear finished furniture (having a coating of shellac, varnish, or lacquer) can be cleaned only if the surface of the finish is in good
shape, not cracked, raised or flaking. To test, apply mineral spirits (VM&P Naphtha, or a good brand of paint thinner) with a cotton swab to an inconspicuous area. If the finish is in good shape, and isn’t removed during the test, clean the furniture by rubbing mineral spirits onto the piece with a clean lint-free rag until it is clean.

●The application of a paste wax over a clear finish provides a protective barrier over the old or original finish of museum furniture. Wax helps protect the finish from abrasion by dust and handling. It also forms a protective layer in case of accidental splashing by water.

●Silicone Furniture Polish makes your furniture look fine. But it can never be removed; if you want to refinish furniture that has been polished with silicone, you have to use special strippers and finishes.

Moving Furniture

Furniture is prone to damage during a move. It is often large, bulky and heavy, characteristics which can make a safe move difficult.

●The key to insuring a safe move is careful planning. Plan the route prior to the actual move.

●Gloves should not be worn when moving furniture, since the waxed furniture is slippery.

●Examine objects prior to moving. Look for broken or loose joints and separating veneer. Store loose pieces with the object.

●Secure or remove drawers, finials, galleries, etc. An object such as a tall clock presents special problems because of its size, awkward shape and moveable parts. The pendulum, weights, and bonnet should be
removed and moved separately.

●Consider where to lift each objects, since picking up objects in the wrong location can cause substantial damage. Lift chairs by the seat rail, not the back or arms; lift tables by the apron, not the top .

●Upholstered furniture, especially sofas are heavy and bulky, and thus difficult to move. Measure the full width before moving through a door. Don’t lift sofas by the arms as the joinery between the arms and the frame is not designed to take a load.

Insect Infestation

●Insects such as termites, powder post beetles and death watch beetles (house borer) can cause damage to structures, totem poles and other wooden objects. Wood boring beetles leave frass, a light colored powder produced by larva as they consume cellulosics.

●Wood can be protected by borate preservative and water repellants. Borates offer effective protection against wood boring beetles, subterranean and dry wood
termites, and brown and white decay fungi. At this time, borate preservatives appear to be the safest and most effective protection treatment available when applied properly.

Below are news articles related to Ron's work, articles written by Ron about his preservation treatments, and links to other sites of interest.
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Ron Sheetz, Wooden Objects Conservator                
Martinsburg, WV