an antique mahogany slant front desk with highly polished surface

High quality, not

high maintenance.

Every piece of furniture that leaves Kerrigan Restoration gets a carefully applied coat of wax before heading out the door. This waxing helps add a bit of luster and some protection against light scratches and moisture.

Wax, however, can only do so much. The good news is: maintaining your newly restored furniture is easier then you think. No need for any fancy spray polishes or creams that promise to 'feed the wood'. The best day to day maintenance you can do is this: nothing.

A simple light pass with a soft clean cloth or feather duster (moving in the same direction of the grain of the wood) does a fine job of getting rid of dust. More stubborn dirt can be removed with a soft cloth or paper towel lightly dampened with soapy water (again, going with the grain). Just be sure to thoroughly dry the surface immediately afterwards.

For pieces like dining tables, we recommend getting a good thick table pad. This will prevent moisture from reaching the finish as well as helping to dissipate heat from hot dishes. Things like trivets, placemats, and coasters are also a good idea. Remember, the finishes we use are very repairable but they are not 'bulletproof'. They are heat and moisture sensitive and our French polish is alcohol soluble.

To help out, we've compiled these tips onto a maintenance 'cheat sheet'. You can download a copy of it here.

a close up of a dark brown stained walnut board with oil varnish finish

Finishes that go

the distance.

Kerrigan Restoration prefers to use finishes that are renewable and repairable. Our two favorites are shellac and oil varnish. The shellac (made in-house) can be applied via brush for a rustic look or applied as French polish: a more formal method for period antiques.

Our oil varnishes can give either a 'leaner' mid-century look or built up to a thicker film finish. These varnishes are very durable without having a 'plasticy' look and feel of modern spray finishes. We believe that finishes should enhance your furniture, not just offer protection.

Regardless of which is more appropriate for your needs, all of our finishes are applied by hand with great care. Our finishes, when properly cared for in the manner listed above, can protect your furniture for many decades to come. Their ability to be repaired means that if an issue does occur it can often be reworked without the need for refinishing.