Things You'll Need
Wood polishing oil
Soft, dry cloth
A wood carving is a work of art that's made to last a long time. However, the wood's appearance won't necessarily stay in prime condition unless you take special care to maintain your carving. Following a regular regimen of treatment and paying attention to the environmental conditions in which you keep your carving will help it to stay beautiful for many years.
Apply a lacquer, if desired. A light coating of lacquer or varnish will significantly increase the life span of the carving and preserve it in its original shape, but some laquers add a gloss you might not want to have as part of your artwork. A matte sheen lacquer has less or no gloss.
Keep the carving in a moist area. Dryness is one of the major hazards that will cause damage to a wood carving over time, causing the surface to dull and the body to crack under in some circumstances. Slow and minimize this process by regularly treating the room where your carving is stored with a humidifier. Keep the carving as far away from heaters as possible.
Protect the carving from excessive sunlight. Light can dull the appearance of the carving, especially if it is dyed or colored. Keep the carving in an area with low amounts of natural light. If possible, set up room or display lights to be on only when the carving is being viewed or when people are in the room.
Prevent handling and touching of the carving as much as possible. Handling can wear down the carving while oils from the skin can accumulate on the wood and gum it up.
Oil the carving occasionally if it appears dry. Use a small amount of wood polishing oil or tung oil on a soft, dry cloth. Rub the oil into the wood, then buff several times with another dry cloth.
Dust your carving regularly. Dry dust with a soft, multi-tendrilled duster like a feather duster.