After the mango tree ceases to produce the small, sweet fruit for which it's famous, the tree provides wood for use in crafts and furniture. After kiln drying, mango wood is ready for milling and construction. Like most tropical woods, mango naturally resists moisture-related deterioration, but for the best results, apply a protective oil finish that will enhance the wood's multicolour grey/pink grain and preserve it for generations. Hand-rubbed oil finishes are low-tech, but they require the application of the oil product in stages.
Sand the surface of the mango wood with 120-grit sandpaper. Unlike other woods, mango's grain is wavy and circular, so sand with a light circular motion, until the item is smooth to the touch.
Fine-sand the mango with 360-grit sandpaper. This microgrit will polish the surface of the item to an ultra-smooth feel. Again, use a circular sanding motion.
Wipe the item with a tackcloth to remove all traces of fine wood dust.
Apply a hand-rubbed oil product to the surface of the mango wood with an oil applicator pad. Saturate the surface of the wood and leave the oil on for the time recommended on the container. This can be anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.
Wipe away residual oil product from the item with soft, absorbent rags and allow the item to dry completely.
Sand the mango wood with the 360-grit sandpaper again to smooth down any of the wood grain that may have swollen during the oil application, and wipe the surface with a tackcloth.
Apply one or more additional oil coats to the mango wood, following the same procedure. The more coats you apply, the higher the sheen and the better the protective coat.
- Reapply a hand-rubbed finish once a year, if desired, to maintain the sheen on the mango wood.
- Wear chemical-proof rubber gloves when applying the oil.
- Cover the floor or countertop where you finish your mango item to protect the surface.
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