How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?


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How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby fire_snake » Jan 17th, '14, 16:00

Hello all. My apologies if this has ben addressed already, but a (cursory) search didn't reveal much.

So here it is:

Image

As seen here:

http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/prod ... product=92

So far so good. The tray (table?) looks and feels solid. The Wenge wood has a beautiful finish to it. I've got matching tea tools as well, so it was a natural choice. Scott (of Yunnan Sourcing US) was a pleasure to deal with, and I've purchased various little things from YS in the past with no complaints at all.

How would I go about cleaning the tray and caring for it over the long term? I'd like it to last, and I'm prepared to put the work in for it.

Cheers,

Christian.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby Nerys54 » Jan 18th, '14, 15:31

For specific care of wenge a woodcrafter/woodworker might know.
The site http://www.ehow.com has a care article about wood tray. I think keeping a tea tray dry or drying it off as soon as possible. Wenge being a hard tropical wood should be able to deal with shifts in temperature but do not put wood near central heating may warp. I see your tray has slats meaning water seeps to somewhere beneath those slats must be some drainage for that. Keep wood dust free polish with a soft cotton cloth. Myself I do not use commercial harsh chemically smelling wood cleaners because wood smells of it for a long time. There are natural wood polishes online.I think some museum sites have pages on care of antique/vintage wood furniture which might be helpful with the care of your tray. Well hope this helps. Enjoy your tea tray looks very nice. :)
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby Joel Byron » Jan 18th, '14, 16:59

I would just oil it frequently and dry it off after you use it. I like walnut oil for something like this. You can get it from a woodworking supply company.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby betta » Jan 19th, '14, 12:51

Congratulations on acquiring such a nice piece tea tray.
As you said, the problem with wood tea tray is the durability upon prolonged use.
The water that absorbed by the wood exerts capillary force to the pore wall from inside. And repetitive drying and wetting will tear the material from inside.
If you live in an area where winter is very dry and summer very humid, you can see the tomobako box sent from Japan will slightly curved after some time because of the same reason.

While not an expert, I do agree with other earlier comments to put oil regularly on the surface. I did this also to our decorative wood carving at home and observed that wood carving from less dense material that is not treated with oil develop crack comparing to the oiled one.
The wood carving vendor suggested some traditional oil made of Aleurites moluccana nut.

Worrying to experience the same thing with tea tray, I specifically only use porcelain or ceramic tea tray like this.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby bagua7 » Jan 19th, '14, 17:41

I think something like the following product would do a good job.

Wax would be good too...maybe even better.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby debunix » Jan 19th, '14, 18:14

I'd treat it like a cutting board--dry with a towel after use, and oil it frequently before us (when it's dry) with a food-safe oil.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby fire_snake » Jan 21st, '14, 13:52

Oh wow, thank you all for the kind replies! I'm never let down by this wonderful community.

I think the main takeaway from what I'm reading, is:

1) Do not let it go dry for too long, BUT,
2) Wipe it dry after each use, and
3) Oil it regularly.

I think 3 will be *very* important in this regard.

And thank you all, for the product recommendations as well!

Cheers,

Christian.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby miig » Jan 21st, '14, 15:13

Hi,

i sold organic wood treatment before I changed my metier, and I'm quite sure that with proper care your nice table will last a very, very long time. As long as you keep it oiled, it will absorb no water and there will be no problems.
We did use the oils for hardwood floors and outside verandas made of uncoated tropical wood, and even they last very long as long as the wood isn't allowed to run dry. So don't worry :)
Basically you can use any foodsafe oil, even though linseed oil is especially good. Put enough of it on, wait for some 15-30 minutes for the wood to soak it (it will soak very litte) and if some places run dry, use a brush to spread the oil over these places again so they can get saturated. Then remove the rests carefully with a dry paper towel, because any leftovers will get very sticky after a while.
Do that once in a while (depends on your usage... you'll find out - i think three, four times a year is very well enough) and i'm sure you can use that table for many years.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby Ursinos » Jan 21st, '14, 15:59

not sure about wenge wood trays, but as someone who does wood carvings (and a fair number of spoons at that). Every time I wash one of my carved spoons, I give it a treatment with a food safe mineral oil, or something like this stuff..

http://www.homehardware.ca/en/rec/index.htm/Paint-D%C3%A9cor/Painting-Supplies/Stains-Preservatives/Interior-Clear/Oil-Gloss/250mL-NaturOil-Non-Toxic-Food-Safe-Oil/_/N-ntlsqZ2ppz/R-I4548181

Not strictly neccessary to be food safe with a tea tray, unless you plan to have teatime snacks set right on the wood along with your teaware, but it wouldn't hurt either, and isn't really that much more expensive.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby debunix » Jan 22nd, '14, 01:55

I would stick to food safe for a tea tray, because there will be puddles and splashes, and you don't want a drip from the bottom of the teapot to splatter drops of something not-food safe into the next cup of tea. Plus tea scoops and other items may be placed on it, or a tea towel might wipe it and then a tea cup.....just too many ways I might thoughtlessly transfer the non-food-safe stuff to tea for me to be comfortable with anything else.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby Ursinos » Jan 22nd, '14, 03:49

debunix wrote:I would stick to food safe for a tea tray, because there will be puddles and splashes, and you don't want a drip from the bottom of the teapot to splatter drops of something not-food safe into the next cup of tea. Plus tea scoops and other items may be placed on it, or a tea towel might wipe it and then a tea cup.....just too many ways I might thoughtlessly transfer the non-food-safe stuff to tea for me to be comfortable with anything else.


that's pretty much my thought. better safe than sorry and all that.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby fire_snake » Jan 22nd, '14, 13:36

Thank you for the continued advice and discussion. :)

Last night I treated the tray with olive oil and some lemon oil to start. I spread it on thick, rubbing gently with the grain, and let it all sit for a couple of hours. I wiped it dry afterward.

It looks gorgeous now. It at least seems a reasonable to start on the road to regular treatment (once a month, or a few times a year? Not sure about frequency.)

Perhaps I'll use a better oil or combination of ingredients, but I must say, the olive oil and lemon oil (essential oil) seems to have worked quite nicely.

Christian.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby Ursinos » Jan 22nd, '14, 21:40

fire_snake wrote:Thank you for the continued advice and discussion. :)

Last night I treated the tray with olive oil and some lemon oil to start. I spread it on thick, rubbing gently with the grain, and let it all sit for a couple of hours. I wiped it dry afterward.

It looks gorgeous now. It at least seems a reasonable to start on the road to regular treatment (once a month, or a few times a year? Not sure about frequency.)

Perhaps I'll use a better oil or combination of ingredients, but I must say, the olive oil and lemon oil (essential oil) seems to have worked quite nicely.

Christian.


The thing to be careful about with Olive oil is that there is the risk of it going rancid within the wood. Using olive oil on a wooden item is no big deal for temporary protection, or items that aren't really all that important, but a nice tray like that? I'd be careful about using an oil that is more stable. (hence my suggestion of a food grade mineral oil)
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How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby debunix » Jan 22nd, '14, 22:33

I use mineral oil for my fancy cutting board and fine wood bowls.
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

Postby fire_snake » Jan 23rd, '14, 08:45

Ah, Good point. So mineral oil it is!

Thank you again. :)

Christian.
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