How to Care for Outdoor Wood Carvings

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Wood carvings add character to your landscape design. They require very little maintenance to last for years. They are typically carved from seasoned dry wood to minimize cracking after they are carved. That makes caring from them easy because the majority of the drying process is already done. Helping your pieces maintain their moisture and protective finishes will make them last longer and retain their natural beauty.

Things You'll Need

  • Nonwax furniture polish
  • Hard-bristle paint brush
  • Polyurethane spray

Remove surface dust and dirt by brushing the carving with a hard-bristle paint brush. Pay close attention to the heavily sculpted areas.

Spray the tips of your brush with a nonwax furniture polish and brush the polish onto your wood carving. Apply additional polish to the brush as need.

Once a year move your carving to a flat, covered surface, clean it with your dry brush and apply two coats of polyurethane spray. Allow time for the first coat to dry completely before applying the second.

Tips & Warnings

  • These steps work for wooden architectural carvings too, but be sure to tape off any areas that you don't want to spray with polyurethane.
  • Placing a ceramic tile under your sculpture will help to protect the bottom from rot and pests.
  • If you live in a humid climate and your wood carving has a soft, fuzzy feel or grain raise, use a 400- to 600-grit sandpaper to hand sand it and reseal it with two to three coats of polyurethane.
  • Some checking and cracking is normal. Keep the wood from drying too quickly by placing it in a partially shaded area.

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