Heirloom Carving, should I do anything?

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 300 days ago 464 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1048 posts in 396 days

300 days ago

I have a carving that our family has had for at least 50 years. My parents were missionaries in South America and this was done by hand with a pocket knife as a gift when we left. It has served as a coffee table with a glass cover, but now I want to hang it on the wall (this is the new coffee table:, and I’m noticing some imperfections in the surface. The glass cover was smoky, so it hid thee imperfections in daily use.

One looks like a water mark, another like some kind of food stain, and in the middle it looks like the glass has worn off the carving slightly. I have no idea what kind of wood it is, and, to my knowledge, it has never been treated with any kind of finish.

I have at least four options:
1) just leave it as is.
2) try to remove the two stains and leave it as is otherwise
3) try to remove the two stains, clean up the worn marks, and leave it as is otherwise
4) step #3 plus adding some kind of finish such as plain Danish Oil or Arm-R-Seal (I would test on back first)

I’m leaning toward #1, but would love your input.

9 replies so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4350 posts in 891 days

#1 posted 300 days ago

Number 1 IMHO.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View jap's profile


1224 posts in 653 days

#2 posted 300 days ago


-- Joel

View sras's profile


3780 posts in 1728 days

#3 posted 300 days ago

Another vote for #1. Things get old and stuff happens – those marks are part of the story now.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Sandra's profile


4131 posts in 674 days

#4 posted 300 days ago

Definitely #1. The stains are part of the piece. You’ll notice any damage you do inadvertently 100 times more.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View rejo55's profile


175 posts in 841 days

#5 posted 300 days ago

Leave it alone as it is. Remember, it is old and tired and has earned every scar and wart and hicky on it. I don’t think old men should have cosmetic surgery and think the same thing applies to old wood.
I, too, have some carvings given to me by friends I made in South America. None of the pieces were made by professionals—- just country folk who had nothing else to give me when I left. They are not perfect, but I treasure them just as they are.
BTW, I have a hand carved tiger that a young roughneck on a drilling rig made for me. He learned that I was leaving the next day and he took off work early, walked about six miles home, carved it with a pocket knife, sanded it with handfulls of sand and walked and ran back to the rig to get back in time to give it to me.
Does anyone think I would do anything to it? Not on your life.
Have a good’un,

-- rejo55, East Texas

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3343 posts in 2559 days

#6 posted 300 days ago

Yep! Leave it alone.


View CharlesA's profile


1048 posts in 396 days

#7 posted 300 days ago

Looks like I was leaning the right way. At least no one suggested spray paint.

View Randy_ATX's profile


664 posts in 1041 days

#8 posted 300 days ago

Really nice piece. Hang it up and admire it even more.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View CharlesA's profile


1048 posts in 396 days

#9 posted 300 days ago

Thanks for all the really helpful advice. I’d never have forgiven myself if I’d screwed it up in the process of “fixing” it.

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