piece you purchase will have been cleaned and waxed using products from Dugay in
Paris. This is the traditional French
method of caring for solid wood furniture and preserving the natural beauty of
the wood. It is the only method
recommended to care for fine French furniture.
All that is required is occasional dusting and, every three to five
years, a thorough waxing with Pate Dugay.
How to Dust
To dust, it is best to use specialty brushes (e.g., a
horsehair shoe polishing brush) to access the intricate carving and to use a
soft towel (the pile is the key) to gently clean flat surfaces.
gravity forces the dust downward, it is important to start at the top of your
pieces and work your way down. If
possible, have your air conditioning system running so that the dust particles
are directed to the filter and less likely to resettle on the furniture.
or columns that are close to the body of the furniture may require inserting a
cloth between the column and the body of the furniture, moving gently back and
should require waxing only every three to five years, in conditions of normal
usage. The French waxing process uses
waxes matched to the color of the wood (considering whatever stains and
finishes were applied at the time of creation) and is designed to combat the
natural lightening effects of ultra violet light and preserve the original
depth and richness of the wood.
recommendation is to use only traditional French colored waxes such as Pate
Dugay (the solvent for which is either mineral spirits or paint
thinner). Using a soft cloth, apply the wax to flat,
non-carved surfaces. For details and
carvings, use a natural fiber paint brush that is dipped into the wax and then
painted evenly onto the details and carvings.
Wax should dry at least an hour, depending on the humidity, and then
buff the furniture with soft toweling on the flat surfaces and highlights of
the carved surfaces. Use a special
polishing brush for crevices and indentations of the carved and detailed
surfaces. Brush and/or buff until the
dull appearance of the wax gives way to the gleaming reflectivity of a
well-waxed surface. The process is not
unlike polishing shoes.
waxing process inevitably results in wax deposits in the carvings and deep
surfaces. This accumulated wax (and
dust!) gives the pieces what is known as their patina. Having chosen the ideal wax color for the
furniture, the result will be a long-term enhancement of the natural beauty of
the wood and artistry of its creator.
Beware of products that talk about “feeding the
wood.” This is impossible since the
wood has already been sealed behind lacquers or shellacs, in place since the
piece was created, and so products such as orange oil or “miracle products” of
any kind cannot penetrate and only evaporate from the surface. However, they will cause dulling and they
leave surface residues that gum up on the furniture and come off on anything
that comes in contact with it.