Care for Dry Wood & Leather

Hi everyone! Today I have the second post in a series dealing with ways to clean and care for your precious vintage and antique collectibles. It covers how to care for dry wood and leather.

For years I had a favorite “go-to” product that many of you antique lovers may be familiar with. But recently I decided to try to develop my own product to clean and care for antiques, dry wood in particular.

I call the product “Adirondack Girl @ Heart’s Small Batch Wood Salve,” and it truly can perform miracles when it comes to wood that needs some hydration. The results, as you’ll see, can be pretty amazing.

UPDATE: You can now make your own product using the recipe I provide in this all-natural wood salve article. 

HOw to clean and care for antiques_ dry wood and leather adirondackgirlatheart.comI bought this wooden riser because I thought underneath all the dryness lay a beautiful piece of wood. As you can see from the “after” side, I was spot on.

adirondack girl @ heart small batch wood salveTo the rescue came my wood salve. I have a couple of dedicated, lint-free rags that I use to apply it that are so saturated with the stuff that I often don’t have to use any from the pot.

wood salve demo on cutting board( Here again, I’ve applied the wood salve to an old cutting board. The salve nourishes the wood and brings back its beauty.

An added benefit? Your treated pieces are now much less like to split or crack from excessive dryness.

Get more complete directions for application of the salve in this article.

Wood Salve demo on leatherThe salve works wonderfully on leather as well, as you can see here with this leather canister.

Toothpick inserted in wax-filled clothI use a toothpick wrapped in the rag to reach small crevices and other hard-to-reach spots.

Antique bells before wood salve applicationThese crusty old bells on a dried out leather strap badly needed a face-lift.

Wood Salved set of antique bellsA rub down with some salve makes both the leather and the bells look healthier (and yes, it removed the dog hair as well!).

So if you find a wooden or leather “something” while out vintage shopping, and it looks a little tired and worn, remember that a little all-natural wood salve can solve a lot of problems.

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HOw to clean and care for antiques_ dry wood and leather

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  1. That’s good to know Diana! Good point about the mineral oil too. I use a product called “Seeds Wood Dressing” that I found at a garage sale a while back. It does the same thing as Howard’s.

  2. This is a new-to-me product, Diana. Love the results–thanks for the tip!

  3. I just thought of something else I wanted to ask you. I have a beautiful wooden toleware bowl, where the black has worn around the edge and down into the bowl a little. In this situation, do you think I should leave as is, or try to paint the blank spots? I’m afraid the blacks won’t match, and it would be too obvious. I sure don’t want to ruin it. What do you think?

    1. I’d probably have to see the bowl first, Florence. Could you send me a photo? Oftentimes when I’m trying to fill in a worn spot on something black, I’ll use a black sharpie. I’ve had good success with that. Of course, you don’t want to try this on an extremely valuable antique, but on a decorative, vintage piece, it’s okay to try to improve the look, whether with paint or a marker.

    1. Hi Pam–great question. I meant to provide some Amazon links so people would have an easy way to buy some if they wanted. I’m going to add some right now 🙂 But you can find it at almost any antique shop, which is where I buy mine. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Just beautiful – what a difference. Never heard of this brand but I’ll look for it.

  5. I am glad you wrote about this projduct. Sometimes you just want to rejuvenate wood instead of painting. Pinned soI can remember to buy it.

  6. I have used the Howard’s Feed and Wax product, and agree with you that it is wonderful! Totally revived some old frames that I purchased a few years ago at an estate sale. No one wanted to touch them because they didn’t look so great, but after using the feed & wax, they were gorgeous! Now, I did NOT know that it could work on leather! Hmmm. I will have to remember this, and thank you for that tip.

  7. I LOVE this stuff and use it all the time, but I’ve never tried it on leather. Great idea! Thanks for sharing your tips at Talk of the Town.

  8. Diana, That is a wonder product. These items certainly improved with a coat of the wax. Thanks for sharing. Sylvia D.

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