How to Preserve Patina on Wood

When you are talking about antique furniture, one thing comes to mind, elegance. This elegance comes from years of use, maintenance, and ageing, which results in the creation of a patina. The patina is what gives a piece of antique furniture the look it has.

It is also why restoring antique furniture is such a hassle as they don’t want to damage this coat that is created with age. If removed, it does not come back easily, which is why it is important to preserve the patina. So in this article, we will tell you exactly how you can preserve patina on wood.

Patina can only be preserved if you give proper care and maintenance. The first one is pretty obvious, you need to avoid getting scratches, dents, and dings on your antique furniture. Secondly, you need to do regular cleaning to avoid any dust and grime build-up. Dust can cause scratches on the finish and grime dulls the shine on the patina. Lastly, you need to apply a finish that sits atop the surface, like beeswax every few months. This will keep the patina protected and preserved.

When it comes to antique furniture, experts can determine its age and day by examining its patina on it. Also, the conditions that the wood has been exposed to will create a totally different patina on it. People often try to replicate it on their furniture to give it an antique look. Even though it can be achieved with a little work, a professional can easily tell you whether it has been replicated or has come to the wood naturally. But in either case, it gives a rustic look to wood, giving it an appealing look to people.

What is Patina?

Patina is a layer on the wood which comes with exposure to natural elements. The surface gets worn down by nature and slowly forms a layer that gives it a deep and beautiful look. The longer the exposure of the wood to nature, the richer the patina becomes. It can take decades before your wooden furniture gets a patina on it naturally.

As we said above, depending on the conditions that the wood was exposed to the patina can look different. It is very difficult to replicate the exact results you get from natural exposure over the decades. But, you can also create your own faux patina, which can give a similar look to antique furniture. But it is not identical and a professional woodworker and restorer can identify it with ease.

People usually give a faux patina look on wood to give their furniture a rustic look. It is very popular these days and people use all kinds of methods to try and create a faux patina on their wood using paints, dyes, and finishes.

5 Things You Should Know to Preserve Patina on Wood

Whether you have antique furniture with patina on it or created a faux patina by yourself on the wood, determines how you can preserve it. In this section, we will talk about how to preserve natural patina on antique furniture and briefly touch on how it is formed in the first place.

1. Regular Cleaning

The patina on the antique furniture is usually protected by a layer of finish that sits on the top. It is vital for us that we maintain this finish by regularly cleaning the wood. You can do it by using a microfiber cloth and cleaning the piece to avoid any dust build-up. Usually, the finish of choice for antique furniture is natural beeswax. Dust can scratch a wax finish very easily, so cleaning it helps preserve the finish, in return preserving the patina.

2. Removing Grime

Grime can also build up with the daily use of old furniture, and this will dull the patina. So buffing with microfiber cloth after every few days is also vital as it will remove the grime from the surface of the wood without damaging the patina or the wax finish.

3. Avoid Abrasives

If you don’t have any experience with restoring antique furniture, it is recommended that you don’t use any abrasives. If you do have to use abrasives, make sure they have super-fine grit. The higher the grit, the lower the chances of you ending up damaging the patina. Also, don’t use a random orbital sander, instead use your hands to lightly scuff the surface in case you want to remove scratches.

4. Applying Beeswax

To preserve the patina it is important to protect it from any scratches. You can do that by applying a beeswax finish on top of it which really brings out the depth of the patina. It highlights it and keeps it protected with a film of wax sitting on top of the wood. To apply it, apply some directly on the surface and use a cloth to buff it to a shine. Good quality beeswax that hardens and elbow grease go a long way in preserving patina on wood.

How to Restore Patina on Wood

Realistically when we talk about patina on wood, it is formed naturally over the years due to exposure to nature and its elements. So there is no way to create a patina within a few hours, naturally, at least. But what you can do is create a patina finish on wood that will match closely to the natural result.

How to Create a Patina Finish on Wood

Patina can only be obtained naturally when wooden furniture is exposed to elements through time. However, you can also create manmade patina which is often referred to as faux patina. It can be easily obtained by using paints to get that muted grey tones that can be found on antique furniture. After that, you give the furniture a distressed and worn-out look by sanding overcoats of paint.

There are also rusty, patina paints available in the market that gives the wood a worn-out look. But it then gives a more metallic look than what a wooden patina wood looks like. Though if that is what your taste is, you can find plenty of patina paints on Amazon, like this one from Modern Masters.

But for a distressed patina look first to prep the wood for painting, and then apply a coat of white paint on it. It does not have to be perfect, just apply a thin layer of white paint to the piece. Take some sandpaper, 100-grits is fine, lightly scuff the piece to expose some wood under the paint. After that, you can apply another layer of grey paint to give that muted grey look that patina gives on antique furniture.

When that coat dries, scuff the piece lightly again to give it a worn look. To give it a really distressed feel, and a bit harder on the edges and grooves. When you are done, you will get that distressed look on your furniture. You can apply a clear coat of wax finish at the end to give it an extra sheen. Also, don’t adhere to just grey and white paint, you can experiment with other colours to give a different patina look to your wooden furniture.

Final Thoughts

If you are a fan of antique furniture, you are a fan of the patina look. We are sure that after this article you are not only knowledgeable about how it forms naturally but also how to preserve patina on the wood and give a faux patina look to your wooden furniture. You can experiment with different paints to get the ideal faux patina to feel for the wood that suits you best.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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