363. Cleansing of Furniture.--The cleansing of furniture forms an important part of domestic economy, not only in regard to neatness, but also in point of expense.
364. The Readiest Mode indeed consists in good manual rubbing, or the application of a little elbow-grease, as it is whimsically termed; but our finest cabinet work requires something more, where brilliancy of polish is of importance.
365. The Italian Cabinet-Work in this respect excels that of any other country. The workmen first saturate the surface with olive oil, and then apply a solution of gum arabic dissolved in boiling alcohol. This mode of varnishing is equally brilliant, if not superior, to that employed by the French in their most elaborate works.
366. But another Mode may be substituted, which has less the appearance of a hard varnish, and may always be applied so as to restore the pristine beauty of the furniture by a little manual labour. Heat a gallon and a half of potash; and a pound of virgin wax, boiling the whole for half an hour, then suffer it to cool, when the wax will float on the surface. Put the wax into a mortar, and triturate it with a marble pestle, adding soft water to it until it forms a soft paste, which, laid neatly on furniture, or even on paintings, and carefully rubbed when dry with a woollen rag, gives a polish of great brilliancy, without the harshness of the drier varnishes.
367. Marble Chimney-Pieces may also be rubbed with it, after cleaning the marble with diluted muriatic acid, or warm soap and vinegar; but the iron or brass work connected with them requires other processes.
368. Polished Iron Work may be preserved from rust by an inexpensive mixture, consisting of copal varnish intimately mixed with as much olive oil as will give it a degree of greasiness, assing thereto nearly as much spirit of turpentine as of varnish.
369. Cast Iron Work is best preserved by the common method of rubbing with black-lead.
370. If Rust has made its appearance on grates or fire-irons, apply a mixture of two parts of tripoli to one of sulphur, intimately mingled on a marble slab, and laid on with a piece of soft leather. Or emery and oil may be applied with excellent effect; not laid on in the usual slovenly way, but with a spongy piece of fig wood fully saturated with the mixture. This will not only clean but impart a polish to the metal as well.
371. Brass Ornaments, when not gilt or lackered, may be cleaned in the same way, and a fine colour given to them, by two simple processes.
372. The First is to beat sal ammoniac into a fine powder, then to moisten it with soft water, rubbing it on the ornaments, which must be heated over charcoal, and rubbed dry with bran and whiting.
373. The Second is to wash the brasswork with roche alum boiled in strong ley, in proportion of an ounce to a pint; when dry, rub it with fine tripoli. Either of these processes will give to brass the brilliancy of gold.