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Dec 5th, '14, 09:38
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

by Lion » Dec 5th, '14, 09:38

Hi everyone. I know this post is old, but I have had a wenge wood tea table for about a year now and just received a second (smaller) one. The large one I usually keep in its box until guests are having tea with me while the smaller one is to stay out on my desk for everyday use.

I didn't treat my first one and noticed it developing white scuff marks over time where I sit my gaiwan. I was not sure if the bottom of the gaiwan is scratching the finish on the wood or what exactly, but this is when I learned about walnut oil and started treating the table with that. I've since looked closer and verified that they are tiny scratches. The walnut oil makes them disappear but they reappear pretty much after one use. Regardless of how long I let the oil soak into the wood (even if I wipe it down and then pack it away for weeks) the wood always appears lighter underneath where I sit my cups, gaiwan, and cha hai after a tea session. The heat from them makes the oils evaporate out of the wood and leaves those portions looking less deep in color and also sometimes the teawares will put little white scratches in the wood finish as I mentioned.

My question is... does anybody else notice this happening? Do you simply have to oil it after each use (this is basically what I do), or have you found a way to prevent this? I now put all of my cups on the small bamboo coasters made for Gongfu tea just to prevent scratching, but even the bottom of a gaiwan saucer seems to do it (and seriously... these gaiwans are various types of porcelain, some of which have incredibly smooth bases). Wenge is hardwood so I imagine it is not the wood scratching but the finish. Right?

Does anyone have a wenge tea table that they've used for years and could explain how well it holds up? And whether you've had any problems?

It's not a functional problem, of course, but entirely an aesthetic one, so I could probably learn to just accept it as character and weathering over time, but I do think the table looks much nice when it is shiny and uniform from being oiled.

Thoughts?

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Dec 5th, '14, 10:07
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

by kyarazen » Dec 5th, '14, 10:07

instead of walnut oil i heard that rubbing a real walnut (after de shelling) works wonders.

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Dec 5th, '14, 23:10
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

by Tead Off » Dec 5th, '14, 23:10

kyarazen wrote:instead of walnut oil i heard that rubbing a real walnut (after de shelling) works wonders.
I've used walnuts many times to camouflage scratches, abrasions, etc., on wood tables. It can work well. However, the lightening of wood due to the placement of heat is a different matter. I discovered something that worked in removing this. Take a cotton cloth or towel, place it over the lightened area, and take a hot iron and place it on the cloth. I would try 10 seconds and repeat, adjusting the time as necessary. Never ruined anything by doing this and I've had some very good luck removing some nasty lightening marks.

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Dec 10th, '14, 18:49
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

by Lion » Dec 10th, '14, 18:49

Thanks. Those sound like great ideas.

I usually used an actual walnut to rub onto the table, but recently got some walnut oil. I think the oil works better to cover it more evenly and let it soak into the wood to treat it and protect it, while the walnut works best for filling in scratches.

I probably should have known better, but I wiped the excess oil off of my table with a paper towel and it left very fine scratches wherever I wiped. Hopefully the next time I rub it down with oil I can buff these out. I will definitely use a soft cloth next time to wipe it down. :(

I get a little confused about what causes the very fine scratching since Wenge is considered a hard wood. I would imagine it doesn't scratch very easily and that what is actually scratching is the finish used on the wood. In any case, oiling it down occasionally seems to revitalize the appearance, and other than that, there's nothing wrong with the tea table having some scratches or a weathered appearance in the long run. It's a functional object first and a decorative one second, I think. :)

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Dec 10th, '14, 22:49
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

by jayinhk » Dec 10th, '14, 22:49

Wenge is being exported to China illegally...just another way the Chinese are raping Africa at present.

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/33219/0

It's on CITES Red List. Please don't buy wenge from Chinese sources.

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Dec 12th, '14, 06:40
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Re: How to clean and care for Wenge wood tea tray?

by Alex » Dec 12th, '14, 06:40

That tray is lacquered though isn't it? so any oil you put on it now will just sit on the top? Also the glue in the wood on those small bits will go long before the wood deforms.

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