How to Care for a Japanese Tansu

Save

Japanese tansu are unique pieces of wooden cabinetry that add a special touch to any home. Their distinctive design originated 400 years ago during the Edo Period in Japan when they were used as storage containers. Although the typical tansu is similar to a chest of drawers, the step tansu, resembling a flight of stairs leading upwards, is also a common version. Today contemporary tansu constructed from cedar, cypress and chestnut wood are becoming more widely incorporated in modern home decoration. Because the tansu is a unique piece that may be hard to replace, it is important to take care of it accordingly so that it remains beautiful for years.

Things You'll Need

  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Lint free cloths
  • Furniture soap such as Murphy's Oil
  • Gum turpentine
  • Furniture polish
  • Determine the type of finish on the wood of your tansu. Gently rub a few drops of boiled linseed oil into the surface of the wood. If the wood absorbs the oil, your tansu has an oil finish. If the oil forms droplets that do not sink into the wood, your tansu has a hard finish.

  • Position tansu away from direct sunlight, heat, air vents and humidity, as these elements may dry out the wood, cause the surface color to fade, or cause the wood to expand and warp. Use a dehumidifier often to prevent the wood from absorbing moisture.

  • Dust the tansu to avoid dirt build up weekly.

  • Wash the surface of tansu annually with a damp washcloth soaked in a mild furniture soap and water solution. Rinse the soapy surface with a damp washcloth and pat it dry with lint free cloths.

  • Polish the tansu with a homemade solution that is two parts boiled linseed oil and one part gum turpentine. Rub the oily solution into the wood until it is absorbed and dry. Apply the polish every 4 to 8 weeks.

  • Polish a hard finish tansu using your choice of commercial wood polish. Select the polish according to how shiny you would like the wood to be.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never place objects on the tansu without a protective layer on the bottom. This practice will prevent scratches and water stains on the surface.
  • Hardware on the tansu can be polished with a sterling silver cloth. Never apply hardware cleaners directly to the wood as it may stain or bleach the surface.
  • If your tansu has extensive lacquer or wood damage due to age, insects, or temperature, seek out a professional to restore the luster of your piece.

References

  • Tansu: Traditional Japanese Cabinetry. Ty Heineken. 2004
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • The Optimum Water Temperature for Koi Ponds

    "Koi" in Japanese means love. Giving a koi to someone in Japan is similar to giving a special person a flower in...

  • How to Care for Roses

    Roses have an undeserved reputation for being fussy, hard-to-care-for plants. But after all, they're just shrubs. Some roses do require more maintenance...

  • How to Teach Children to Care for Pets

    Making the decision to allow your child to get his first pet can be a tough one. Adding a pet to the...

  • How to Repair a Boat Transom

    Specialists often need to be called for repairs on a boat. But the more you can fix yourself, the more money you...

  • Loft Ladder Alternatives

    A loft needs easy access, whether it is a platform in a high-ceilinged studio, a converted attic, or a full mezzanine in...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!