Rosewood refers to about a dozen dark-veined woods from the Dalbergia genus; it must grow for 100 to 150 years to be mature enough for use in furniture. Rosewood is also one of the most beautiful hardwoods for furniture; this desirability coupled with the rarity of mature rosewood makes the wood an endangered species. As such, users should care for rosewood furniture well and protect it from damage to ensure it lasts.
Restoration methods and supplies vary depending on whether it is solid rosewood furniture or a piece that uses a rosewood veneer. A veneer is a thin layer of wood placed over a solid layer of a more utilitarian wood. Veneers make a single log of an exotic wood, such as rosewood, last longer; veneers also allow designers to incorporate curves into wood pieces. Look at the underside or inside of a piece when applicable; if the grain of the wood continues into spaces unseen, the piece is likely made of solid rosewood. Also check the grain at the edge of a piece, as the grain of a solid wood piece continues onto the edge.
Wood veneer can be as thin as about 2 mm. Sand rosewood veneer carefully, as sanding too forcefully could sand straight through the veneer.
Assemble all restoration supplies before starting any project. Have a supply of soft cloths available, such as cotton or microfibre, for cleaning wood.
Purchase nothing coarser than 100-grit sandpaper, and only then for major dents and scratches. Stock several types or sandpaper, including120-grit,,150-grit,, and 220-grit.. Rosewood is an oily wood and wears out sandpaper quicker than other woods. When sanding rosewood, wear a protective mask; the dust from rosewood is an irritant and may cause discomfort when inhaled. If you need to scrub or strip the entire rosewood piece, use fine steel wool to clean the wood.
Applying oil to rosewood furniture helps restore some of the original lustre and depth of colour without staining the wood.Raw linseed oil or teak oil brings out the colour of the rosewood. Wax finishes the piece and creates a protective barrier; a paste wax finish can last for a year or two before reapplying.
In any scrubbing or sanding, work with the grain of the wood; scrubbing against the grain may further damage the finish of the furniture. Do not clean rosewood with abrasive cleaners, which may remove stains but cause further damage to the wood.
For seriously damaged rosewood furniture, use warm water with a small amount of Murphy's Oil Soap and fine steel wool to gently scrub away the surface grime and stains. Immediately dry and remove any water on the surface of the wood with a soft cloth. When dealing with a large piece, replace the water often to avoid working with dirty water. Allow the wood to dry before applying oil or wax; trapping water in the wood can lead to more damage later.
How well a dent or scratch comes out depends on the type of wood; if a scratch goes straight through the veneer and down to the base wood, you can mask it with the application of oil and wax, but you cannot remove it without replacing the veneer. For minor dents and scratches, or for solid wood pieces, use sandpaper to reduce and remove the damage. Start with the coarsest sandpaper on hand, such as 100-grit or 120-grit, and finish the task with very fine sandpaper.
Finish restoration with oil or wax to even out damage and bring out the colour of the piece. Apply oil in a generous even coat, and more to areas that seep up the oil quickly. Allow the oil to rest for 15 to 20 minutes, and then use a lint-free cloth to remove the excess. If the rosewood needs it, repeat this process a second time. Add a wax finish to protect the furniture from further damage; when applying a paste wax, work it in slowly with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Use eBay to purchase both major and minor supplies; when stocking up on linseed oil,, remember that the project also requires a dozen or more clean, lint-free cloths. Look for sellers who bundle items together; for instance, a seller who provides both steel wool pads and fine sandpaper may bundle items to reduce shipping cost. Local sellers may also provide local pick-up if it is convenient for both buyer and seller. Armed with the supplies you need, you can easily restore your rosewood furniture to its original beauty.