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Old 04-08-2011, 03:14 PM   #1
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How to clean up an sticky old cabinet?


I went to a farm auction and got a 27 drawer cabinet hard wood. I was going to use it for my garage and store tools etc... in it. My wife saw it and wants now for the inside. She wants me to refinish it. The problem is that I don't know what was stored in the drawers, but from the markings on the doors, it was all farm and tool products. Felt tip pen markings on the outside and oil stains on the inside in several drawers. It quite a piece of work. And I'm told that if I could find the matching top for it, that it would be worth a bit of money.
The dove tailed drawers are loose and it looks like everything should be taken apart.
My question is about cleaning and the best way to go about it. Sanding? Chemicals?
In addition, I'm concerned about the motor oil (if that's what it is) that's in the wood. I'd like to leave the wood showing but I suppose I could line the drawers too.
Ideas and suggestions welcomed. It doesn't look like this is ever going to make it into my garage.

Bill

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Old 04-08-2011, 03:30 PM   #2
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How to clean up an sticky old cabinet?


Sounds like A TON of work. Are you ready for it?

- Start by putting the cabinet in a confined space and see if it smells of motor oil. You will be able to sand off surface stains but if the oil has really soaked into the wood it will continue to smell, unless you encapsulate it with a hard finish. Personally, I HATE the smell of motor oil and would not want anything that smelled of it in my house.

- For 'sticky' and 'felt tip pen' removal on finished surfaces try rubbing alcohol, naphthalene spirits (goof-off), and/or acetone.

- Probably, the entire thing needs to be sanded and refinished. Sounds like a good project for the wife.....

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Old 04-08-2011, 03:33 PM   #3
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How to clean up an sticky old cabinet?


We (meanng my wife and I, neither restoration professionals) typically start with Murphy's Oil Soap or Pinesol, applied with a wrung out rag, just to see how much grime comes off that way, and then decide on the next step. A lot of times, once you get that first layer off, it's easier to see how much, or if any of it really needs further attention. With something like that, once the top layer of grit and grime has been removed, you are sometimes left with a few spots that actually give it some character, at least in my humble opinion.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:46 PM   #4
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How to clean up an sticky old cabinet?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
Sounds like A TON of work. Are you ready for it?

- Start by putting the cabinet in a confined space and see if it smells of motor oil. You will be able to sand off surface stains but if the oil has really soaked into the wood it will continue to smell, unless you encapsulate it with a hard finish. Personally, I HATE the smell of motor oil and would not want anything that smelled of it in my house.

- For 'sticky' and 'felt tip pen' removal on finished surfaces try rubbing alcohol, naphthalene spirits (goof-off), and/or acetone.

- Probably, the entire thing needs to be sanded and refinished. Sounds like a good project for the wife.....
It is motor oil and probably grease too. Encapsulating sounds interesting after it is sanded. Sticky wasn't the word I wanted it was "Stinky". It'll be a big project, but next year I retire and I'm getting all of my "honey do" lists made up. Thanks
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:48 PM   #5
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How to clean up an sticky old cabinet?


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Originally Posted by DexterII View Post
We (meanng my wife and I, neither restoration professionals) typically start with Murphy's Oil Soap or Pinesol, applied with a wrung out rag, just to see how much grime comes off that way, and then decide on the next step. A lot of times, once you get that first layer off, it's easier to see how much, or if any of it really needs further attention. With something like that, once the top layer of grit and grime has been removed, you are sometimes left with a few spots that actually give it some character, at least in my humble opinion.
This is going to need alot more than that. It's pretty dirty and stained. It looks like who ever had it, slapped a coat of red stain on it too. It did one surface area and it cleaned up real nice, but I picked one of the better surfaces. I wanted to see what the wood looked like.
Thanks.

bill
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