Keeping carvings clean might seem not very important but it influences their look quite significantly so if you want your creations to always look new and well maintained, take care of them all the time. Treat them as someone close, make sure they look nice and don’t get damaged by the conditions surrounding them.
And now that the topic has been set, the question you may have is “OK, so it’s important. How do you clean wooden artifacts?” And that’s what we are going to cover in today’s post – how to clean, seal and restore your wooden carvings.
First of all, it’s great to know that you came looking for information first before simply spraying a detergent on wood since that is the first idea that comes into mind when we talk about cleaning something, right? Well, you guessed right: cleaning wood with a simple detergent won’t do. Especially if it’s not covered with finish yet.
How do you clean wooden sculptures?
That, of course, depends on how dirty it is. If you simply want to do a regular light cleaning to keep them looking nice, it should be enough to dust them off with a dry cloth, a soft one, or a feather duster if you have one. For small or very narrow areas where the duster and cloth won’t fit you can grab an old toothbrush with soft hair.
If the carving is dirtier than simple dust, there are several ways to proceed. If that carving is not finished yet but isn’t painted you may take a soft cloth, dampen it with warm water (don’t soak it, just slightly dampen) and slide the cloth across the carving. Don’t rub the moisture in, be very gentle and don’t soak the wood too much. If your carving is painted but not covered with finish, don’t use water or detergent on it because you will damage the paint. In the very best scenario it will faint a little, in the worst it can start cracking or flaking.
When simple water isn’t enough and you need something stronger for cleaning, you can purchase non-toxic wood cleaners (make sure they are safe, especially if you are cleaning wooden spoons or bowls that are used in the kitchen) or make one of your own. Mix together water, olive oil and lemon. That will clean and freshen up the wood.
Sometimes stains are small and can’t be cleaned with water, then you can use sandpaper to grit them away. Here it’s important to be careful but quick to prevent the stains saturating into the wood too much. This is a small guide on “How do you clean wooden sculptures?” topic that will, hopefully, help you to avoid the worst.
Cleaning wood carvings and restoring them – why so important?
Keeping your wooden creations looking clean and fresh does not only influence the way you feel looking at them, but it also affects the quality of the wood itself. If you let it go unmaintained, dirty and dusty it may speed up the negative processes in the wood. And we all want our beauties to live long, so why would we knowingly do that to them?
Restoring carvings is also an important thing to do. You may find an old creation in your attic or at grandma’s house and even enjoy the rustic look of it – trust me, a lot of us do. But it’s needed to polish them up too once in a while. The rustic look won’t go anywhere but keeping the dust and stains off will do them good.
Any carving, old or new, needs to be finished, cleaned and polished from time to time. That’s how you keep enjoying them throughout the years, so don’t neglect this step in your carvings’ treatment and you’ll be golden. That’s our answer to “How do you restore wood carvings and clean them?” question.
What oil do you use for wood carvings?
Choosing a proper finish for the wood you’ve worked on is a thorough job that’s worth previous research and attention in approach. Picking an incorrect finish will shorten the life of your carving in the very best situation and harm your health in the worst (especially if we are talking about finishing various wooden kitchen utensils).
Speaking of which, kitchen utensils such as cups, bowls and spoons require the least chemical option of finish you can find – natural oils. Those are easy to apply, don’t take a lot of time to dry and are safe to use with the thing you’ll be eating from after. It’s not recommended to wash these carved utensils in steaming water or a dishwasher, better to do it carefully with some warm water yourself. You may choose any light natural oil, mostly for carvings linseed oil is used.
With a layered finish, which is a more chemical option, there are some difficulties although they are worth it. Using such a finish is a must if you’re doing outside projects that will stand under different weather all year long or some big pieces of furniture that need to be preserved monumentally. The problem is the chemicals, of course. They are not safe so you have to work in a mask, better to do it outside or get the kids and animals out of the house, at least. Have the room ventilated well and don’t forget that it’s called a layered finish because you have to apply a few layers that take a while to dry each. Some of the layered finishes change the wood color slightly so pay attention to that when you choose them.
Hopefully this answered your question “What oil do you use for wood carving?” together with all the rest. Be attentive, take care and have fun carving!