The banner image above shows the bases of a few bud rosewood chess pieces. Notice the white buildup on the right-most piece. This is an oxidation problem – and it looks horrible! Without constant polishing, the oxidation will look worse and worse – getting whiter and whiter. Oh … it rubs off easy enough with a soft cloth – leaving a brilliant shine; but it’s annoying to have to polish pieces with this residue before each use. The hardest pieces to polish are the Knights – especially around detailed carved notches in the mane areas. House of Staunton recommends using a thin coat of paste-wax to place a barrier layer between the surface and the air to stop the oxidation. This worked for a while, but eventually the paste wares off or gets too thin – and the problem returns. Besides that, the paste, unless buffed, can destroy the original shine.
I believe I have found a nice solution: I am using Rust-Oleum Triple Thick Glaze which you can get at a local Lowes or Home Depot store, and it will fix the issue permanently. (From reading on the internet, I believe the more expensive Krylon product may be sprayed on with less of a tendency to run, or form drips. But I was fine with this product.) This product is not a paint, and therefore should not be sprayed onto the pieces as a paint. Thinking that you should back up and use a fine-spray-mist-with-several-coats idea is not going to deliver pleasing results with a , smooth finish. Think of this product as being a type of shellac, lacquer or varnish in an aerosol can. Spray it on just a little thick to allow a wetting action to happen; it will spread across the surface into a uniform coat that will dry to a smooth finish. Be careful not to apply so much that runs and drips can form. Practice spraying a scrap piece of wood – you should observe the surface having a glossy smooth even coat. If surface looks matte and not glossy, you need to apply a little more. If it runs with drips, back off, you applied too much. It’s not really that difficult to find the correct amount. I applied this product to both white and dark pieces and it’s very nice looking. No more oxidation at all.
As luxury as the set was before, it now feels even more so … and there’s no more oxidation to have to clean. Permanently fixed !