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Cleaning Old Beadboard Paneling on interiors

  • 1.  Cleaning Old Beadboard Paneling on interiors

    Posted 04-09-2020 13:30
    In reading the article regarding the restoration of the Bowling Alley at Lyndhurst Castle, I immediately noticed the similarity to the interior beadboard restoration to our project at the Rucker-Campbell House in East Texas.  The entire interior of the two-story ca1876 residence is old-growth, 2" thick, hand-planed bead board produced (we are assuming) at the Rucker Lumber Company's planing shop.  Fortunately, it was never been painted, but the shellac has bubbled over time is the entire interior will require a deep cleaning to remove the old sealant and restore the beautiful wood grain.

    Any suggestions of what products and techniques would be helpful?  What solvents were utilized at the Bowling Alley?  What sealers were employed once the bead board had been cleaned?


    Allen McReynolds
    Longview TX

  • 2.  RE: Cleaning Old Beadboard Paneling on interiors

    Posted 16 days ago
    @Allen McReynolds just realized no one responded to you! I'm going to reach out to my colleagues at Lyndhurst and see if we can get you an answer.  ​

    Priya Chhaya
    Associate Director, of Content
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC

  • 3.  RE: Cleaning Old Beadboard Paneling on interiors

    Posted 15 days ago

    Good morning! Please allow this email to answer some questions you raised regarding how we removed shellac from our 1895 Bowling Alley Bead board.

    After doing a test sample with denatured alcohol we determined that we did in fact have shellac -  as the denatured alcohol softened the finish. Then it really was a matter of soaking a cotton rag with alcohol (in a well ventilated area) and slowly removing the shellac with fine steel wool. Here is a link to some step by step instructions

     Once the shellac was removed we  made a custom mix of Old Masters Gel (Gel and rubbing stain) stain to match our colors and rubbed that on the beadboard to give it a uniform appearance where things had bleached out over time. Some areas were darker or lighter than others so we found that we needed a few custom mixes depending on the elevation we were working on. We finally sealed it with the Old Masters Satin polyurethane. We did this as we wanted a longer lasting more durable finish based on modern use.  See link to the Old Masters  Gel stain line.

     Wishing you the best of luck with your project.  We were incredibly fortunate to have 5 interns for 10 weeks who provided the skilled labor needed to make this happen. If I can be of further help, please feel free to reach out again. 


    Krystyn Hastings-Silver

    Krystyn Hastings-Silver
    Assistant Director
    Tarrytown NY

  • 4.  RE: Cleaning Old Beadboard Paneling on interiors

    Posted 14 days ago

    In the past, I have used Orvus 

  • 5.  RE: Cleaning Old Beadboard Paneling on interiors

    Posted 14 days ago
    Excellent information provided to us as we weigh the options for cleaning the ca1876 beadboard paneling which covers the entire interior of the Rucker-Campbell House in East Texas that is being restored by Preservation Longview.  We appreciate all of the feedback and are grateful for the Forum as a venue to garner information, learn from experienced restorers, etc.

    Allen McReynolds