Walt's Thoughts 

Theology, Photography, and Reviews

Padauk Chess Pieces Oxidation Solutions

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The banner image above shows the bases of a few bud rosewood chess pieces. Notice the white buildup on the front right piece. I’m experiencing an oxidation problem – and it looks horrible! Oh … it rubs off easy enough with a soft cloth – leaving a brilliant shine; but it’s annoying to polishing off that residue before each use. The worse offenders were the Knights – especially around the maine areas.  If I would have have photographed those pieces – the oxidation would have been much more apparent – but those pieces have been fixed. I followed a simple recommendation by Josh from House of Staunton. He’s seen this issue before with a few of there Padauk sets. They suggest creating a barrier between the air and the finish by applying a thin coat of clear paste-wax. You can pick this up from a most hardware stores such as Lowe’s or a Home Depot. The instructions say to apply an thin even coat to the wood, let dry for 15 minutes, and buff to a shine. The wax will dry to a hard non-oily finish. I tried this with my knights. It’s been three days, so far so good. I think it a fantastic solution.

Another recommendation came from someone in a thread I posted at Chess.com. I asked if anyone had seen this before, and if there was a solution. One user, blastforme, wrote:

 If they use a ‘drying oil’ , like tung oil, walnut oil or jojoba, etc, instead of a lacquer or similar, the excess oil will do that as it cures on the surface.. If that’s the case, just keep rubbing it off and eventually it will stop.

I’ll update more on this second method if/when the problem goes away.  

Below is the transcript between Josh (from House of Staunton) and myself regarding an issue of a white powdery residue accumulating on bud rosewood chess pieces … and suggestions / possible solutions

Josh
Hi Richard. How may I help today?
Richard
greetings … Josh … I am looking for some technical information … and I would be in your debt if you could assist in providing info …
Josh
Sure, what tech information can I help you find?
Richard
So … I have a problem with a luxury bud rosewood set I received from another company … one week old purchase … my problem is that I initially thought the set had dust on it … I took a soft toothbrush to the problem pieces – the fancy carved knights … and it was as shiny as ever … I was happy I had removed the “dust” … but … 24 hours later, the white residue had returned … what problem am I dealign with … and is it fixable ? no other pieces in the set have this issue … just the knights …
Josh
Sounds like Oxidation

Richard
they seem to oxidize or whatever ..

Richard
should I ask the company to refinish them ?
Josh
We actually just experimented with this. We started ordering all of our Padauk sets with a glossy coat of lacquer to see if that gets rid of it. So far so good.
Richard
you have all of my concentrated attention … I’ve even be willing to pay – LOL … what do I do specifically ?
Josh
I’m not sure if they will go for it. Some of our sets do it too. Either that, or try a coat of clear paste-wax. Might help
Josh
Anything that creates a barrier inbetween the wood and the atmosphere should help get rid of it.
Richard
Josh … may I say … I REALLY REALLY appreciate your help … especially when I ordered from a different company … they are hard to communicate with as they are 10 hours ahead or our time (chess bazaar) … really, I will definitely keep you guys in mind on any future major order … btw … suppose I did order from you guys … and I had that problem … what would you company typically do in that situation to attempt to provide customer satisfaction ? apply the lacquer before the sale ? 🙂
Josh
We’ve had a small number of complaints but our usual go to is to offer a store credit of some kind and then ask the customer to do it. That way the pieces aren’t getting shipped repeatedly. Good news is that barring a few sets that have been in inventory for a while, shouldn’t be a problem ever again.
Josh
And you’re very welcome. We’re always happy to share what we know.
Richard
once you have the problem … can you apply the lacquer after the problem exists ? or is the lacquer in place of some other previous form of coatings that were applied beforehand ?
Josh
Paste-Wax (clear coat) can reduce the effect without having to remove the lacquer or anything like that first.
Richard
Okay … will try that then … And … I would be certainly willing to share my experience of attempting a fix if you’re wanting to accumulate that information as a data point … for better or for worse … My set is on my blog, http://richimages.net and I feel a future article is going to be added to that site.
Josh
Can be done after the fact.
Josh
We would really appreciate that
Richard
so very glad to get this info from you Josh … very very glad indeed …
Richard
not a problem … may you have a very blessed day sir … hats off
Josh
Same to you Richard. My pleasure.
Richard
o/o

2 Comments

  1. Hello Richard,

    I was wondering if your solution of using paste wax on the paduak pieces is still working. I am especially interested to know about the knights. I have been unable to get the oxidation out of their manes and out of the crevices of the other pieces. (It rubs off fine from the the main body of the pieces.) It seems like you would have to get it out of the manes before applying the wax. Otherwise, it would just show through the wax. I would appreciate any help/suggestions you may give.

    Many thanks,
    Fred

    • Good question… it seemed to work fine for about 2 weeks, then it stopped working. I’m now using a soft toothbrush on the Knights … best suggestion I have at the moment. I’m hopping the oxidation will become less over time (as someone said it would) but I have not noticed it being any less or more. It accumulates heavier the longer I wait to brush them with the toothbrush. Let me know.

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