The old furniture was not finished with petroleum based products, but rather shellac, which is the resin secrete by a bug on trees primarily in India and was once used in the final coat of furniture to seal and shine it. Thereafter, the pieces were polished wiht beeswax furniture polish or reshellaced. So, I learned how to make a simple beeswax polish. It is organic and easy and also not hard on the environment or the skin. I used some as hand cream today to test out my product and it was wonderful, quickly drying, but not caking on my hands, and providing a smooth silky finish which was water repellent. This is a barrier cream, but alas, it was not designed for hands.
I plan to polish the antiques, I guess, not paint them, at least not yet. I cannot think of painting that lovely wood. Well, I do think of it, but it gets voted down in my little mind. To make the beeswax polish I used two ingredients: lime terpene, which is the solvent from cold pressed limes, yes, the fruit, and beeswax. The wax was cut in small bits about a centimetre square and a half centimeter thick. I put some in an emamel pot and poured the terpene over and stirred, then left it over night. Over the next three days, I stirred and added more terpene. On the fourth day, the mixture was soft and smooth with no distinguishable lumps of beeswax, as the wax had dissolved into the terpene. The polish has a wonderful lingering but not overpowering lime scent too!
The polish made a few jars and a tester, but I don't know how much I used of each ingredient. If you are going to try it, start by covering thte beeswax with terpene, then add more terpene as the wax softens until the consistency is what you think it should be. Not great directions, huh? But really, I don't think you can go wrong. Too thin, add more wax, too thick , add more terpene. By the way, the terpenes come from the distillation of the plants and there are mint, eucalyptus. clove, lemon, tangerine, orange and the lime. Mixes of two or three different terpenes are also possibilities. Would you like to try some?