Simon Gilboy of Gilboy’s Antiques is an antiques dealer who also specialises in the restoration of antique furniture. Here he shares his expertise on how to wax and polish period oak.
The secret to wax polishing oak is to apply a very thin layer of the polish with a soft cloth in the direction of the grain. Apply evenly, so the entire surface is dulled by the application. Try to avoid over applying. If you do, just remove any excess wax with a clean area of the application cloth. Now leave it alone, the longer you leave it the better the finished result. Ideally leave it overnight and then buff the next day.
The biggest mistake made by most people is to apply a wax polish and immediately buff it off, removing the majority of all the wax and all that hard work. You will achieve amazing results by leaving the polish to harden on the surface. Then, a few hours later, buff to a quick shine.
The aim is not to buff the wax off the surface but to buff the wax on the surface. There should be hardly any wax residue on your buffing cloth. The idea is that you have created a protective layer of polish, which allows the beauty of the wood to shine through, as well as adding protective layer to prevent outside environmental damage, further enhancing that all-important patina.