Exotic Wood Cleaning, Polishing, and Care

Sep 14 2017

Exotic Wood PolishingPorous Woods: These are woods that will most likely absorb what you use to clean them with. These woods include pine and osese. To care for these woods, Fine Décor Revival recommends a fine quality lemon oil. Find one that has very little alcohol, or petroleum distillates, in it. In fact, if you can avoid alcohol, that is the best alternative. Since all woods will crack with time, the best bet is to place your wooden piece in an area that will offer it some humidity. Placing the piece near a heat source will dry out the wood very quickly. Wood cracks because the moisture is evaporating from it. You can slow this process by treating it with lemon oil. With a porous wood you must be very careful. When lemon oil is applied to a porous wood, it tends to darken it. ALWAYS test the lemon oil on an obscure area and observe its effects. If you don’t mind the effects, use the oil sparingly and polish the entire piece. We like to use one cloth to apply and another cloth to polish. Apply some lemon oil to a soft cloth, then rub the art thoroughly, making sure not to miss the cracks and corners of the piece. Let the piece sit for about 10 minutes, then use the other cloth the clean up any residue. Never use paper towels! The patterns on the towel can bleed into the wood, and the little fuzzy balls they leave behind are unsightly. An alternative to lemon oil is to coat the item with a very thin layer of wax such as paraffin. Many carvings are coated immediately after they are carved to limit cracking by eliminating the evaporation of the moisture within. This may also affect the color of the piece and will affect it’s texture. If you have never cleaned this piece, and you do not know what it should look like, be very careful not to remove original qualities of the piece that may severely devalue it.

Hardwoods: These are woods that will not absorb much of what you apply to them. These woods include ebony, muhuhu, walnut, and maple. To care for these woods, Fine Décor Revival recommends a fine quality lemon oil and care similar to the care for porous woods. When caring for ebony and other hard exotic woods, you may notice that there is some color on your cloth. This could be due to the fact that your wooden piece has been artificially colored, or because you are removing some of the natural pigment of the wood. To test if your piece has been treated with a pigment to affect its color, in an obscure area, like the bottom, use a knife and scratch away a little of the surface. Do this just until you see shavings or if you see a color change. If you notice a shift in color from the outside of the piece to the core of the artifact, it probably has been covered with something to affect its appearance. Many ebony wood carvings, for example, have had a black pigment added to make the woods black for the tourist trade. Ebony, in fact, is not solid black, it does have a slightly lighter grain to it. Rubbing off the black polish is up to you. You will uncover a beautiful grain, but, often the carver has added this to cover imperfections in the stock, namely blemishes caused by the softer bark of the tree. If you have never cleaned this piece, and you do not know what it should look like, be very careful not to remove original qualities of the piece that may devalue it.

Finished Woods: These are woods that should only be dusted with furniture polish. A finished item has been painted or coated with a wax. To care for these woods, Fine Décor Revival recommends spraying some non-wax furniture polish onto a soft cloth, then gently rubbing the artifact. Always use a polish that has very little alcohol, or petroleum distillates, in it. In fact, if you can avoid alcohol, that is the best alternative. Since your wooden piece has a finish on it, there is nothing you can add to the piece without damaging it’s finish. If you attempt to use lemon oil, you will most likely remove the finish or change it’s color. If you want to try this, ALWAYS test the lemon oil on an obscure area and observe its effects. When caring for woods that have a glossy or lacquered finish, never rub with too much force. This may scratch the appearance. Remember, a clean, soft cloth with a little polish on it is the best bet. If you have never cleaned this piece, and you do not know what it should look like, be very careful not to remove original qualities of the piece that may severely devalue it.

While it may seem easy to polish exotic wood by yourself, there are several very important details you need to consider to ensure your expensive furniture is not damaged in any way during the process. It is best to hire a company like Fine Décor Revival that specializes in polishing exotic wood. Contact Fine Décor Revival today to discuss your needs with our team.

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