Where footmen are kept, the charge of rubbing mahogany furniture devolves on them, otherwise it becomes the care of the housemaid. The chairs and tables should be rubbed well every day; and on the mahogany tables a little cold drawn linseed oil should be rubbed in once or twice a week, which will, in time, give them a durable varnish, such as will prevent their being spotted or injured by being accidentally wetted. The Italians, after thus saturating the surface with oil, apply a solution of gum arabic in boiling spirit of wine. Bees-wax should not be used, as it gives a disagreeable stickiness to every thing, and ultimately becomes opaque. When there are any spots or stains upon a table, they must be washed off with warm water before the oil is put on.[i]
[i] Mrs. William Parkes, Domestic Duties; Or, Instructions to Young Married Ladies, on the Management of Their Households, and Regulation of Their Conduct in the Various Relations and Duties of Married Life, J. & J. Harper, New York, 1829, pp. 135-136.