Testing and cleaning wood baseboard

Old 12-03-02, 09:46 PM
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Testing and cleaning wood baseboard

The wood (oak?) baseboards in the bedrooms of my 1938 home are dirty and in som spots slightly discolored due to exposure to water/moisture through the walls over the years. The wood does not appear to have any finish on it, but I'm not 100% sure. Is there any was to test it to determine what if anything it has been finished with over the years. Also, what should I use to clean it assuming that its only dirty and discolored? I've seen everything, including denatured alcohol, acetone, naptha, lacquer thinner and Murphy's oil soap, recommended on this board and I'm real confused as to what to use. Thanks.
Old 12-04-02, 10:03 AM
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if it's only dirt try warm water and a simple detergent/cleaner.
try the ''discoloured'' areas first.
if its not just dirt.
then refinish.
one rule to think about is that what you do to one piece you need to do to all the others as well, so they all come out the same
this is a general rule for beginers.
if it is water damage and the wood is darker, even after stripping and sanding the ''dark'' areas first then you will have to bleach the wood. i start with just bleaching the areas that need it first, until i get it close to the rest of the wood. then bleach the whole of whatever it is.
you can use laquer thinner to strip with first.
it is cheaper than stripper by the gallon.
you will know if you have all the finish off when you try to sand
and your sand paper shows the finish on it.
most of the time you can just look and see if its off. that takes a bit of experience.

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