Wood and Wood Finish Care

Wood Care and Wood Finish Restoration

While nothing is forever, wood with the correct care can last indefinitely whilst at the same time looking good and in most cases improve with age.

Wood should be kept away from direct heat and light as this can lead to warping and cracking at worst, whilst at best this will lead to breaking down of the finish.

Dependant on the item turned (Box, Bowl, Platter, Hollow Form or accessory) has a bearing on the way the item has been finished.

My Boxes are normally finished internally with Yorkshire Grit and then i use a high class paste wax whist externally i abrade to 400 grit and then I use a 3 stage polishing system. This gives a high gloss finish. Please note that wood moves dependant upon ambient temperature and moisture, despite being seasoned, and this has a bearing on the lid fit. Once turned with seasoned wood I bring the finished boxes within my home to stabilise to around 10%.

My bowls and platters are finished by abrading to 400 grit followed by application of Yorkshire Grit and then using a food safe oil, normally filtered walnut oil. Whilst this puts a moisture resistant finish on, this is not waterproof. Moisture is the enemy of wood finishes and will cause irreparable damage if left unchecked, it may lead to warping or even cracking. Please do not soak in water but wipe with a damp cloth followed quickly by drying evenly all over. As required a quick wipe with walnut oil will bring back the wood to the original finish. The oil must be left to dry once a light coating has been wiped over the whole surface and then buffed.

My hollow forms are normally finished again by being abraded to 400 grit followed by Yorkshire Grit and then applications of filtered walnut oil or a high class paste wax. `I inform you of the finish used in order that you are able to refresh when required.

Despite your best efforts at caring for the wood finish if the surface becomes dulled/affected by time in the case of

  1. Boxes - If this requires refreshing you can use a beeswax stick and dry cloth. The secret being a small amount of wax placed all over the article and then buffing to the required lustre.
  2. Bowls or Platters - if the surface becomes dull you can apply coats of walnut oil to bring back the lustre. If necessary first wipe the surface with a damp cloth (it is advisable to use also mild detergent) to remove dirt and wax. Once complete then dry thoroughly. Let it also air dry for a couple of days. Once dry then apply  a couple of layers walnut oil (in thin layers) leaving between applications to become completely dry, then buffing to give the required lustre. Please note that contact with water will affect the finish. I use this finish exclusively unless requested by the customer to use a different finish. This  finish is good for bowls that do not have frequent contact with water. If however your bowl is in regular contact with water it will lose its surface shine. A quick way to restore it is to wipe on a little food grade mineral oil.This soaks in, but because it is inert, unlike vegetable oils, it won’t go sour in the wood. It improves water resistance a bit, but it doesn’t dry in the wood. Oil near the surface will wash off with detergent, but can be reapplied as often as necessary. Because it stays liquid it can attract dust and dirt over time, so I only recommend it for bowls that will get used and washed often.If food stains a  salad bowl, the stains normally will slowly fade with use.
  3. Hollow forms - dependant upon the finish applied originally please see 1 above or in the case of finished with a high class paste wax then an even application of paste wax followed by buffing evenly bringing the required lustre.

The correct care of wood items and its finishes is not neither time consuming or indeed onerous. Enjoy your wooden items.