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Mar 31st, '12, 11:37
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Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by JRS22 » Mar 31st, '12, 11:37

While I anxiously await the certain-to-be-gorgeous Seong-il tea tray I'm thinking about the future of my small bamboo tray. The finish is just about gone but the bamboo is intact. I'm thinking about letting it dry thoroughly and then applying several coats of mineral oil, but then I wonder if polyurethane would be better.

Any thoughts on the matter?

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Mar 31st, '12, 12:42
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by MarshalN » Mar 31st, '12, 12:42

If you let it dry thoroughly it will almost certainly develop a few cracks along the seams where the bamboos are glued together, and it will become a completely useless tray. Trust me, been there, done that.

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Mar 31st, '12, 13:05
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by Poohblah » Mar 31st, '12, 13:05

In arid environments such as where I live, bamboo cracks very easily. My roommate and I both have expensive bamboo products which cracked not too long after buying them.

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Mar 31st, '12, 15:32
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by Chip » Mar 31st, '12, 15:32

Old stone farmhouses seem to be good for bamboo ... you have one of the Rishi clearance sale ones from around December 2010 (I think)? Despite repeated daily use, the one I bought is doing remarkably well, knock on bamboo!

I have wondered about oiling bamboo, never tried it. There is a bamboo product case at the supermarket here, I wonder what directions they have for care. I am going to check that out.

I received linseed oil for our butcherblock table when I bought it ... but that is wood. But linseed oil is considered pretty neutral and seemingly leaves no residue.

Mar 31st, '12, 16:00
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by fdrx » Mar 31st, '12, 16:00

i had a cheap bamboo tray and quickly it started to smell really bad and i never managed to get rid of those bad odors... now i don't use trays anymore

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Mar 31st, '12, 16:29
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by JRS22 » Mar 31st, '12, 16:29

My tray is from the 2010 Rishi sale but alas it did not wear as well as Chip's. I suppose the regular rinsing protected the bamboo from splitting while it was wearing away at the finish. Since I already own a bottle of mineral oil I could try that but based MarshalN's advice I probably should do it when just the surface is dry so the oil will sink in rather than bead up.

This will be a backup to my beautiful ceramic tray. Considering how much tea shops charge for upscale trays the Seong-il trays are practically a bargain. Anyway that's what I was telling myself while adding a Hobin/cup set to my order.

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Mar 31st, '12, 23:28
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by Tead Off » Mar 31st, '12, 23:28

JRS22 wrote:My tray is from the 2010 Rishi sale but alas it did not wear as well as Chip's. I suppose the regular rinsing protected the bamboo from splitting while it was wearing away at the finish. Since I already own a bottle of mineral oil I could try that but based MarshalN's advice I probably should do it when just the surface is dry so the oil will sink in rather than bead up.

This will be a backup to my beautiful ceramic tray. Considering how much tea shops charge for upscale trays the Seong-il trays are practically a bargain. Anyway that's what I was telling myself while adding a Hobin/cup set to my order.
Been using my Seong il tray for a year and no cracks! :D Ceramic is the way to go. But, I do have 2 bamboo trays that I've had for some years and neither has cracked, warped, or, come apart in any way. But, I live in Thailand. Humid most of the time. Treating with oil is the best way to condition the bamboo. Mineral or linseed should be okay. Surfaces treated with polyurethane or other waterproofing chemicals will not respond to oil treatment. Oil cannot penetrate the surface.

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Apr 1st, '12, 02:22
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by tenuki » Apr 1st, '12, 02:22

I've been eyeing an old leaky but beautiful tray and thinking an epoxy coat on the inside might do the trick nicely for sealing/waterproofing/strengthening. ???

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Apr 1st, '12, 09:12
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by MarshalN » Apr 1st, '12, 09:12

If you use the tray daily it is almost certain to be ok. I stopped using it for a few months while I was on summer vacation. When I came back the tray was cracked beyond repair.

If it's cracked along the seams there's no real way to repair them, unless you cover the whole bottom with epoxy, at which point you might as well build a new tray.

This is why I never use bamboo trays anymore.

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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by brose » Apr 1st, '12, 13:30

MarshalN wrote:If you use the tray daily it is almost certain to be ok. I stopped using it for a few months while I was on summer vacation. When I came back the tray was cracked beyond repair.

If it's cracked along the seams there's no real way to repair them, unless you cover the whole bottom with epoxy, at which point you might as well build a new tray.

This is why I never use bamboo trays anymore.
+1

My bamboo tray cracked after not using it for a week or two after a couple of years of use. It makes an alright birdbath since my botched attempt to epoxy it with marine epoxy left it unusable. The mineral oil is worth a try, might not want to put anything clay on it to avoid it absorbing. I am going bamboo free, using towels and smaller clay trays to catch spillover. Bamboo is nice if you use one in a while and pristinely maintain it, but I've found its not great for daily use.

Apr 1st, '12, 14:04
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by beecrofter » Apr 1st, '12, 14:04

I grow a grove of mixed bamboo species which I use for many projects and I think I would not let the tray dry very much or cracks will open everywhere.
For a sealant where cracks make it leak I would try melting some beeswax
and flowing it into pre-warmed cracks. The wax melts at about 150f.
Hair dryer, heat gun, or propane torch used with care might be usefull tools during this process.

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Apr 1st, '12, 14:14
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by wyardley » Apr 1st, '12, 14:14

Also, I've found that putting some cold water in first before using the bamboo tray after more than a few days of not being used seems to help.

Depends on the quality of the tray too. I don't use a tray at home, but at work, I have one of the Lin's trays that Hou De used to sell, which was expensive. So far (knock wood), it's been fine for probably 3+ years.

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Apr 1st, '12, 16:47
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by gingkoseto » Apr 1st, '12, 16:47

I've glued my shabby bamboo tray over and over (for about 4 times over the past years) with a white glue that's said to be for kitchen sink. The tray looks ok from outside but horrible inside :mrgreen: If it leaks again, I will keep gluing it, till it all falls apart :twisted:

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Apr 4th, '12, 10:42
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Re: Rejuvenating a Tea Tray

by demonyc » Apr 4th, '12, 10:42

beecrofter wrote:I grow a grove of mixed bamboo species which I use for many projects and I think I would not let the tray dry very much or cracks will open everywhere.
For a sealant where cracks make it leak I would try melting some beeswax
and flowing it into pre-warmed cracks. The wax melts at about 150f.
Hair dryer, heat gun, or propane torch used with care might be usefull tools during this process.
I was wondering - If it melts at that low of a temp, wouldn't hot water spills have the chance of melting the wax again and reopening the leaks? Or would that not be a problem? :?:

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