Rethink stripping old furniture

Dear Readers: Looking for a project? Thinking of stripping or oiling antiuque furniture? Think again.

Back in the day, lots of wood furniture was painted. Over time, the paint fades and cracks. Don’t strip the piece to “freshen it up” — the faded and cracked paint is desirable and valuable in the antiques market.

And oil and wood do not mix. Don’t apply oil to wood. Oil can leach into the grain, oxidize and blacken the wood.

The one exercise experts don’t outright nix completely is waxing. Wax can protect the wood; solid paste waxes are best.

Always check with a conservator before treating any of your antique furniture. — Heloise

Clip to clean

Dear Heloise: I keep a small dish of clip clothespins on my dresser to mark spills on my clothes before I put them in the hamper. This reminds me to pre-treat them before loading in the washer. — Fran S. in San Antonio

Two hints

Dear Heloise: I had a hard time cutting up winter squash. I found that if I poke a few holes in the squash and microwave it for about four minutes, it’s much easier to cut, and I save money in not buying the already-cut ones.

Also, when making pancakes with a pancake mix, add hot water instead of cold for lighter pancakes. — Portia S., Oakland, Maine

(Heloise is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. Send money-or time-saving hint to P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or E-Mail: Heloise@Heloise.com.)