We love antique wood furniture and are always on the lookout for old pieces. Sometimes we find things that are in pretty good condition but need a little sprucing up. I've found that using Boiled Linseed Oil and steel wool is an easy way to refresh old furniture. I bought both at a hardware store ages ago and keep finding more uses for it. Most recently I used the oil and steel wool on a little table we wanted to use for our telephones.
We loved the table overall, but it had scratches and water marks that wouldn't come off with a soap and water.
Once the wood had been cleaned and dried I used some fine steel wool (it's 000) with Boiled Linseed Oil. The steel wool comes in a large roll, so I ripped off a piece and applied the linseed oil directly. I then applied the oil along the grain. It's kind of like putting lotion on dry skin; but it also cleans out grime that has gotten into the wood over time. As a bonus it helps make scratches less apparent.
I usually leave the oil on the wood for a few hours to give it a chance to sink in. One some pieces I've left it for more time, some less...and I can't tell a huge difference. The Boiled Linseed Oil does have a strong smell so I like to use it in a well ventilated area. On a large wardrobe it seemed to took weeks for the smell to go away completely, but on this small table the smell only lasted a few days.
I use a clean soft cotton cloth to wipe off all the remaining oil and am always so impressed at how clean and shiny it leaves the furniture!
I love such a simple process that leaves us with lovely old pieces!