Market Lavington Museum

A recipe for furniture oil

Now, here’s another non-food recipe from Annie Welch’s handwritten book. This time, only three ingredients were required – two quarts (half a gallon) of linseed oil and two ounces of alkanet root to start with. This latter required some internet research to find that dyer’s alkanet is a herb in the borage family, whose roots provide a red dye.

After two hours simmering, followed by straining through a muslin cloth, half a pint of spirits of wine was added. When it was all shaken together, the oil could be put on the furniture with a piece of flannel. It needed rubbing off quickly to avoid stickiness, then the more rubbing the better, to produce a good shine.