Furniture in the Raw - The Art of Liming

My new heart throb - limed furniture.  On my trip to Arizona I was poking through a work studio and noticed a chair on a table with the artist scrubbing away at it with a wire brush.  She heard my ooohs and ahhhs and invited me in to observe what she was doing.  I tried to keep my squealing down to a minimum.  She enthusiastically answered all my questions and took the time to share with me the old techniques of liming furniture, only she was using a lime wax, not the real lime, as it is too caustic.

Liming is a technique that brings out the grain of the wood giving it a whitened look.  It is most effective on prominently grained woods such as ash and oak, oak she said being the preferred.  Liming can only be applied to bare wood so the piece must first be stripped of all stains and varnishes (OK so this part isn't much fun). The next step is opening up the grain and this can be done with a wire brush and she advises to keep with the grain and rub firmly.  Next the liming wax is applied.  She uses very little and doesn't leave it to stay on very long before wiping off.  The longer it is left on the more pronounced and grainy the final effect which is great for that weathered aged look. The excess liming wax is then removed with a steel wool pad and ordinary furniture wax, or, as she did on these pieces, a rag with solvent thinner.

Thank you Cecelia!  Can't wait to try this technique on my own.