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Caring for Wooden Art


All of my artwork has been finished with either penetrating oil (linseed or Danish), or a surface film (shellac, varnish or lacquer). I then wax and buff the surface.

AVOID CHANGES IN ENVIRONMENT:
Wooden vessels and bowls are sensitive to heat, humidity and sunlight.  Store and display them so they are out of direct (or brightly reflected) sunlight.  Avoid sudden or rapid changes in temperature or humidity. Normal room temperature is ideal, along with humidity in the 40-60% range. Storage in other conditions could result in damage to the vessel, such as cracking, warping, glue joint failure, or mold and mildew. In the most humid climates, mold may pose a secondary threat. In this case, regulate indoor humidity and keep objects from direct contact with the floor.

EXPECT COLOR CHANGES:
Nearly all wood will change appearance over time. You can expect some colors to fade, and others to get darker. The distinctive grain patterns in some woods will also become less visible. This is normal and only adds to the beauty of the piece. The brilliant red streaks in box elder, for example, will fade to brown with time. Cherry will get darker and redder with age.

DUSTING AND CLEANING:
To keep wood furnishings and artwork clean, dust regularly with a soft brush or lint-free cloth.  A light application of paste wax will also help protect the finish. Some good choices for paste wax include Butcher's, Behlen Blue Diamond, Renaissance, Johnson's Paste Wax, and others that do not contain silicone. DO NOT USE FURNITURE POLISH! Aerosols and liquid polishes have been among the worst offenders in introducing silicone oils and other contaminants onto furniture. In addition, aerosols may contain a wide variety of solvents that can attack varnishes and lacquers. While some of the "dusting" aerosols appear to be benign when applied to a cloth and not the surface of the object, the result is not really any better than using a damp, clean dust cloth. Nearly all of the polishes contain silicon, and can permanently affect the finish.

NATURAL EDGE BOWLS:
These are a unique kind of bowl, where the beauty of the tree and its bark are preserved as an integral element of the design. The term "natural edge" refers to the fact that the bark of the tree remains, and the curve of the lip reflects the curve of the tree trunk, adding a dynamic element to the piece.

WILL THE BARK EVENTUALLY FALL OFF? If trees are harvested during the growing season, the cambium layer is very wet, soft, and porous. Natural edge bowls made from such wood, will rapidly lose their bark. However, if the tree is harvested during its dormant period, when the sap is not flowing, the cambium layer is much more stable, and the bark will likely stay in place. Nonetheless, the bark is still very soft, compared to the rest of the bowl, and can easily be damaged.  
 

 

Website content and photos by Dick Sowa