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Home ~ Furniture Restoration Advice ~ F.A.Q.

Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir: Answers & Advice

Instructions for Use

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Download printable version of
"Instructions for Using Wood Elixir"

Tips for Using Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does using more Wood Elixir make it work better or faster?
    Think of Wood Elixir as "furniture medicine". Sometimes all that is required is a small dose. The most important step in using Wood Elixir is rubbing off the product after allowing it to work, then buffing with a clean cloth until the wood finish is dry to the touch.
  • How many applications are necessary?
    Often one application is sufficient, however additional applications may be required for stubborn marks and stains.
    Even the most severe damage can be solved by using Wood Elixir in conjunction with 0000-grade (super fine, or finishing grade) steel wool. Always be sure to rub gently in the direction of the grain. Steel wool should not be used on high gloss finishes, as the fine scratches left behind by any type of abrasive will be very noticeable.
  • Can Wood Elixir really be used on any wood finish?
    Yes, you can use Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir on any finish, regardless of the type of finish (shellac, varnish, lacquer), the type of wood, or the color of stain. Wood Elixir imparts no color and does not simply "cover up" any problems, it actually penetrates and restores the original lacquer, shellac or varnish. This is particularly important when restoring damage to antique wood finishes, where Elixir can restore the original beauty while still retaining the desirable patina.
    Of course, every finish is different and we recommend you always test in an inconspicuous area first.
  • You say Wood Elixir will remove white water marks. What about dark water rings?
    White water marks and heat blush indicate moisture trapped in the finish. Remembering that Wood Elixir is a furniture finish restorer, it will remove the moisture causing the white water marks and heat blush, usually with only one or two applications.
    Dark water marks and rings indicate that water has penetrated the finish and stained the wood. There really isn't a surface treatment that will restore that kind of damage.
Example of white water marks that can be restored with Wood Elixir
Example of white water marks that can be restored with Wood Elixir
Example of dark water rings that cannot be restored with any surface treatment
Example of dark water rings that cannot be restored with any surface treatment

We will be launching a new customer Q&A forum in 2014. In the meantime,
The Furniture Clinic archive is available or you can email your question to us.

How to ...

... Restore a Dull, Dirty Appearance

Clean a dull, dirty wood furniture finish

To restore a dull, dirty finish without losing the original character and patina, apply Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir with a bristle brush. Wait for 5 minutes and rub with extra fine steel wool until the desired finish appears. Then simply buff with a clean cloth.

... Remove White Water Marks

Remove / repair white water marks on wood furniture in just one step

To remove Water Marks, apply Wood Elixir generously. Do not rub - let Dr. Woodwell do the work! Wait until water marks disappear (but not longer than 10 - 15 minutes), then wipe lightly with a lint-free cloth. Wait at least 15 minutes before buffing with a clean cloth.

Repeat if necessary, allowing 24 hours between treatments.

Only the most severe white water damage will require the use of steel wool.

... Restore Dried-Out Wood and a Flaking Finish

Restore dried-out wood and a flaking finish

In this example, old varnish is separating from dried-out furniture, and the finish will flake off if rubbed too hard. Apply Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir with a brush, wait a few minutes, then wipe lightly with a clean cloth. The original finish will be reattached and strengthened, and will cure in 24 hours. Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir will help reestablish the original color and gloss.

... Restore a Crazed or "Alligator" Surface

Restore / repair a crazed finish

To remove a "Crazed" or "Alligator" finish in old varnish, generously apply Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir. Rub with steel wool in the direction of the grain. For a very rough surface, repeat until the desired smoothness is obtained. Complete by buffing with a clean cloth.

... Remove Paint Splatters

Remove paint splatters from wood furniture

To remove Paint Splatters, apply Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir and wait for 15 minutes. Rub with extra fine steel wool, and polish.

In the example above, Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir removed alkyd paint splatters from an antique door without attacking the original, hand-grained finish.

... Treat a Worn-Off Finish

Treat a worn-off finish

If the finish of your piece is completely worn off, apply Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir generously with a brush. Apply a second coat with extra fine steel wool to remove any flakes of the old finish and to smooth and seal the new surface. Buff with a clean cloth.

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Dr. Woodwell's Wood Elixir Instruction Sheet

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