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How to Properly Finish and Maintain Obeche Wood Products

Tips & Guides Timber Knowledge
18 July 2023 min read

How to Properly Finish and Maintain Obeche Wood Products

Obeche wood, also known as abachi, is a versatile and popular choice for woodworkers and artisans. Its light colour, fine texture, and easy workability make it ideal for various applications, from furniture and cabinetry to musical instruments and decorative objects. 

However, like any other wood, proper finishing and maintenance is crucial to ensure its longevity and beauty. 

This article will explore the best practices for finishing and maintaining obeche wood products.


Preparing Obeche Wood for Finishing

Preparing obeche is essential before you can begin the finishing process. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Sanding: Start by sanding the wood surface using a progression of grits, starting with a coarse grit (around 100) and working your way up to a finer grit (around 220). This process will help remove any roughness or imperfections and create a smooth surface for the finish to adhere to.

2. Cleaning: After sanding, use a clean, lint-free cloth or brush to remove any dust or debris from the surface of the wood. This step is essential to ensure a clean and flawless finish.


Choosing the Right Finish for Obeche Wood

Obeche has a unique grain pattern and texture, so choosing the right finish can enhance its natural beauty and protect it from moisture and wear. Here are some popular finishes for obeche wood:

1. Clear Varnish: A clear varnish is an excellent choice to showcase the natural colour and grain of the obeche wood. It provides a durable and glossy finish that enhances the wood's beauty and protects it from damage.

2. Danish Oil: Danish oil is popular for obeche wood as it penetrates the wood fibres, enhancing its natural colour and providing a warm, matte finish. Moreover, Danish oil provides a protective barrier against moisture and daily wear.

3. Lacquer: Lacquer is a fast-drying, durable finish with a high-gloss appearance. It’s ideal for furniture and decorative objects. However, due to its toxicity, using lacquer in a well-ventilated area and wearing appropriate protective gear is essential.


Applying and Caring for the Finish

Now that you've chosen the right finish for your obeche wood product, it's time to apply it properly and care for it to ensure longevity. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Applying the Finish: Start by using a clean brush or lint-free cloth to apply a thin and even coat of the chosen finish to the surface of the wood. Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. For a smooth and flawless finish, you may need to apply multiple coats, ensuring each coat is fully dry before applying the next.

2. Sanding Between Coats: To achieve a silky-smooth finish, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper (around 320) between coats to remove imperfections or raised wood fibres. This step will ensure a professional-level finish.

3. Cleaning and Maintenance: To maintain the beauty and integrity of your obeche wood product, follow these care guidelines:

  • Regularly dust the surface with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dirt or debris.

  • Avoid placing hot or wet items directly on the wood surface, as it can cause damage or leave marks.

  • Use coasters or mats to protect the wood from spills and scratches.

  • Avoid exposing your obeche wood product to direct sunlight for prolonged periods, as it can cause fading and discolouration.

  • Periodically, you can reapply a thin coat of the chosen finish to maintain the protective layer and enhance the wood's appearance.


Reviving Aged or Worn Out Obeche Wood Products

While the above practices are excellent for the initial finishing and maintenance of your obeche wood products, it's also essential to understand how to revive and restore pieces that have aged or weathered over time. Restoration breathes new life into your obeche wood creations, and you can restore your piece to its original glory with a little effort.

1. Inspection and Cleaning: Thoroughly inspect the obeche wood product. Look for signs of wear, scratches, or damage that must be addressed. Then, clean the piece with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth to remove grime or dirt. Avoid using harsh cleaning products that can further damage the wood.

2. Repairing: If the obeche wood product has any visible scratches or dents, use a wood filler that matches the wood's colour to fill these areas. After it dries, sand the filler gently until it's flush with the wood's surface. 

3. Refinishing: Sometimes, the finish on your obeche wood might have faded, peeled, or become cloudy. If so, remove the old finish before applying a new one. Use a gentle chemical stripper to remove the finish without damaging the wood. Once you've stripped the old finish, sand the piece lightly to prepare it for a new finish. 


Choosing the Best Products for Obeche Wood Restoration

The choice of products you use for restoration plays a vital role in the final result. Here are some products suitable for reviving obeche wood:

1. Restorative Oils: Oils for wood penetrate the wood grain and replace the natural oils that may have been lost over time. They can help to rejuvenate the wood and bring out its natural colours and grain.

2. Polishes: A quality wood polish can add shine and lustre to your obeche wood products. It can also provide a thin layer of protection against minor scratches and wear.

3. Wood Revivers: Wood revivers are specifically designed to restore faded or greyed wood to its original colour. They can be an excellent choice if your obeche wood product has faded due to sunlight exposure or age.

Ultimately, whether you’re finishing, maintaining or reviving your obeche wood products, the right techniques and products can enhance their natural beauty and ensure they remain functional and attractive for years. 


Wood Solutions Provided by Woodshop Direct

Properly finishing and maintaining obeche wood products is essential to ensure longevity and enhance natural beauty.

By investing time in the finishing process and proper care, you can preserve the integrity and aesthetic appeal of your obeche wood, making it a true testament to the craftsmanship and versatility of this remarkable timber. 

And remember, for all your obeche wood needs and more, Woodshop Direct is here to assist you every step of the way. Browse our website or contact our experts for further guidance and product recommendations.