A New Use For an Old Card File


One hundred years ago, every business and school had an assortment of oak office accessories, from tall file cabinets and stacking bookcases to letter trays and card files, like this one I picked up full of stuff at a yard sale. Something told me all it needed was a careful cleaning to help preserve it, and I knew I could find a new use for it. Interested? Just keep on reading….

What makes this card file special is the original “Macey” decal, which I have to be sure to save, as well as the original finish.

Picking the wrong cleaner — such as ammonia, bleach, denatured alcohol, mineral spirits, or grandma’s special floor cleaner formula — could easily dissolve both the valuable original finish and the cherished decal.

Instead, I only use Minwax® Wood Cabinet Cleaner, the safest way I have found to remove dirt, grease, and grime from furniture, cabinets, doors, and wood trim without leaving any residue.

Just squirt on, then use a paper towel to wipe off the loosened grime and dirt. Look at that beautiful wood grain and classic color!

Since I have an idea how Leigh Ann and I can use this piece in our kitchen, I want to give the old finish and decal some extra protection. I want a finish that will not change the appearance of this antique, and the one that always comes to mind is Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax.

I simply rub on a thin layer of the paste wax, then wait about five minutes or until it just begins to harden….

… and at that point I take a soft, clean cloth and buff the wax to a hard, satin sheen. Quick Tip:  Worn out cotton athletic socks make perfect buffing mitts.

And check out the decal now:  clean and protected, but still looking like a true antique.

So, what are my plans for our restored antique card catalog? How about a way to stay better organized — and to not forget about those little projects waiting for us…..?

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


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“Parting Shots”

Leigh Ann and I live in the country, which means that while we enjoy the outdoors during the daytime, at night it belongs to other families:  owls, possums, and a mother raccoon and her four youngsters. Of course, having a bird feeder just off our deck doesn’t exactly discourage them from coming up for an evening snack! Many thanks! – Bruce



2 comments on “A New Use For an Old Card File

  1. Donna Blankenship

    I would like to use finishing wax to coat my 6 panel doors. What should I use as a base coat.

    1. Bruce Johnson Post author

      Minwax Paste Finishing Wax would best be used over a coat of Satin Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane on raw wood. If the door already has a finish, I would just clean it with Minwax Wood Cabinet Cleaner, let dry, and then wax. Thanks for reading, Donna!

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