The main thing to consider with an oiled and waxed finish is that it is absorbed into the wood opposed to a coating (lacquer /varnish) that creates a new surface.
Oiled wood will take some time to seal off and be- come impenetrable by other liquids, water etc. As oil floats on top of water it will try to work its way under the oil and therefore leave water marks. Once the oil/ wax has sealed off or dried this no longer becomes an issue. We have found that the time it takes to achieve this finish varies depending on the particular timber, how regularly it has been polished and how the surface has been treated. Usually a reasonably well sealed surface can be achieved within a few weeks but we normally recommend that you are cautious about spills etc for 3 to 6 months. The more time that goes by the more sealed and better the finish becomes. It will be noticeable that a shinier sealed look will slowly appear.
The main advantage of an oiled & waxed finish in- stead of a coating ( lacquer/ varnish) is that it becomes part of the wood penetrating it allowing the timber to expand and contract leaving a very long lasting finish that can be easily maintained and restored for years to come. Opposed to a coating that will wear out in time dete- riorating in appearance requiring a total re-sand and refinish to restore the natural look of the timber. In short, a bit of care and simple polishing at the be- ginning will make a big difference in the end.
Before you receive your furniture we would have ap- plied at least 3 coats of Oil and Wax leaving it to cure for at least 24 hours between coats. We recommend you polish your furniture tops once a week for the first month with the polish we supply with your furniture.
Pour the wax onto a small cloth and then apply to the table top generously rubbing with the grain evenly over the whole top. Leave for 1⁄2 hour before buffing any excess wax off using a clean dry cloth. The table top may look a little smeary for a further 24 hours until the wax has dried off and cured. The top may be prone to watermarking during this period. After the initial month continue polishing fortnightly for a further two months. After 3 months has passed you should have a pretty good finish on your table top therefore a reduced amount of polishing is required. A monthly polish will maintain a good surface, al- though a polish when it looks dry and thirsty is all that is required.
Do not over polish your table as this may cause a waxy sticky buildup, which can be removed by using a scotch brite pad.
Wipe the table top with a damp cloth and then dry any excess water with a tea towel. After a period of time your table may have a build up of grimy marks and sticky residue. If you feel it is time to rejuvenate the surface you will need to give it a good vigorous rub down with scotch brite. This will clean off any marks, grime, dirt etc – don’t be afraid to get right into it !! Then re polish with liquid wax or oil – your top should come up looking like new again.
For the breaking in period mentioned prior, it is rec- ommended to always use table mats and coasters. If any spills occur try to wipe them up as soon as possi- ble as the longer it is left the more damage may occur. Avoid using fabric mats or covers (especially toweling) as the fabric contains moisture. When the fabric is heated by a hot plate cup or pot the moisture turns to steam and can leave bad steam marks.
Avoid plants on your table top as these often get over watered and can cause bad watermarking.
If the table is likely to be exposed to a lot of spillages or people not using coasters etc in the case of a party or kids birthday type occasion, it could be a good idea to invest in a table protector for such events. This consists of a foam backed vinyl that protects against spills and knocks and works well under a tablecloth. This is available from curtain and upholstery stores and is sold by the metre from a roll.
Depending on how bad the mark is or how deep it has penetrated will determine how hard it is to remove. For a light mark all that may be required is to apply some oil or liquid wax and leave to penetrate for half an hour or so before buffing off. For a more serious mark it may be necessary to use a dry scotch-brite pad (unsoaped) rub the affected area vigorously in the same direction as the grain (with the grain) trying to blend it in over a larger area until you can no longer see any mark. Then oil it with boiled lin- seed oil leave for half an hour then buff off and then continue with the waxing process described in (wax- ing furniture). This may leave a light patch which will eventually blend in with the rest of the top over time with repeated waxing.
As the wood absorbs the oil and wax so do some other products such as paper, card board, and some fabrics. If these absorbent products are left in contact with an oiled surface for a length of time especially with weight on them they may soak some of the polish out of the wood therefore leaving a mark. To remove this type of marking use the same process as removing watermarks.
Ink transfer is caused by the wood absorbing ink or colours from freshly printed news paper or leaky dies from fabric try to avoid having these things directly in contact with the surface especially with weight on them.
Solvent spill, this may dissolve or wash out the oil and wax.
With all of this type of marking try the same process as removing water marks, basically cutting back the surface and re polishing it.
If the mark is bad enough and this method will not remove it the only other option is to have the top resanded.