I wish I could say I was the brilliant woodworker behind this technique, but alas, I’m not.
About 8 years ago, I purchased 2 really cool quarter-sawn oak filing cabinets for $10 bucks at an auction. One of my better purchases, I have to say! In the main, the pieces were in good condition: the hardware was present, the finish was in decent condition, and the drawers worked without too much complaining. In looking at the pieces I knew that at the minimum I wanted to clean/refresh the finish, but did not want to strip the entire cabinet.
What’s a girl to do? Enter Gojo and #0000 steel wool.
In doing some online research–something my husband’s forever teasing me about–I stumbled upon a tutorial on ebay, of all places–this was long before the proliferation of furniture blogs and Pinterest. Essentially, the technique operates on a similar principle to that of Howard’s Restore-A-Finish: lubrication and elbow grease. However, having used both Restore-A-Finish and Gojo, I infinitely prefer Gojo for its better results and cheaper price tag. Plus, you can clean your hands with it afterwards!
Use the Gojo product without the granules. I repeat. Without the granules. If you fail to observe this key point, you’ll be rewarded with some ugly scratches in your finish.
Use #0000 steel wool for the same reasons outlined above.
Dip the steel wool into the Gojo, a lot of cleaner is fine, and rub the wood in the direction of the grain. Pay attention to the pressure–too much and you’ll rub through the existing finish; too little pressure and your efforts accomplish bupkis in the way of cleaning the finish. Finesse your way through it.
Without question, Gojo + steel wool is one of my go-to techniques in cleaning a finish, restoring it, or preparing it for a stain overcoat, something I’ll discuss in a future post as it dovetails with the Gojo + steel wool process.
The teacher in me compels me ask if there are questions. If there are, let me know in the comments or shoot me an email. I’ll get back to you!