Cleaning wooden Chess set


Hello,
I have an old wooden chess set (circa 1940s). I think its made out of pine or boxwood.
Its unpainted and the white wooden chess pieces are a bit black from use- fingermark stains.
I thought of cleaning it up a little. What should I use? Warm soap and water?
I also though of rubbing beeswax onto the box to give it a bit of shine and to preserve it. Is that a good idea?
Cheers,
Wylie
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Wylie:
Suggest you try a bit of alcohol before the soap and water. Paper towel, a bit of rubbing alcohol from the local pharmacy (chemist, if you like), and rub the dirty parts. I can't reccomend beeswax, per se, as carnuba is a lot harder and better protection. Any quality floor wax will gloss it up and protect.
Regards.
On Tue, 30 May 2006 10:49:12 +1000, "Wylie Wilde"

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Hello,
I don't think its varnished at all. Just plain I think. I'll go and use alcohol but I'll just try it on one piece first.
Cheers,
Yau-ming
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On Tue, 30 May 2006 10:49:12 +1000, "Wylie Wilde"

Think about taking it to an antique dealer to see if it's worth anything before you mess with it.
I watched a segment of Antiques Roadshow where a woman had a large cabinet the she had refinished. Original finish (cracked varnish) 300,000 $. Refinished value - only 30,000 $.
pete
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I'd suggest alcohol for cleaning also, but TEST FIRST ON A HIDDEN AREA!!! If your chess pieces are finished with shellac, the alcohol will soften the shellac and could potentially remove the finish. I'll second the recommendation for carnauba wax - I just finished a toy/puzzle with orange oil/carnauba wax blend and it buffed out very nicely. Good luck, Andy
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Andy's absolutely right! Test on the bottom of a piece first! While shellac seems unlikely as a finish for something meant to be handled a lot, you never know. Shoulda thought of that when I initially replied.
An alternative to carnauba is one of the micro-crystalline waxes (I use Renaissance). They are easy to apply and buff and seem impervious to handling.
Regards.
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