Shop Log

Renewing a Porch Rocker

All wood outdoors will turn gray. No matter the finish, except for paint, it will eventually turn grey.

Some wood outdoors will weather better than others: shrinking and swelling less, resisting rot, maintaining strength... Mahogany is one of the best. It is the trim on many yachts.

We do not put a marine varnish on our porch rockers. When it fails it must be chemically stripped. We put an oil finish which can be renewed--if and when the graying of the chair becomes undesirable.

A patron recently sent photos of his Weeks Mahogany Porch Rocker #333, purchased in 1998. He called, wondering what wood it was made of, and how to renew it. He sent a photo, and we sent him instructions. Our email exchange after that phone call follows.


It was good to talk to you and to see the photograph of your chair.

That is a mahogany rocker. The wood is chosen and the chair designed to be used on covered porches. I don’t see any change to your chair that is inconsistent with time outside, nor anything to worry about. Wood outside is going to weather and change colors. Occasional maintenance (every 5 years or so, depending on your sense of its looks) will bring the chair back to smooth and to a nice red-brown mahogany color.

We wash the chair with a brush and some soapy water with a quarter cup of household bleach to the half gallon. Murphy’s Oil Soap is good for this. Local hardware and grocery stores have it around here.

We use Penofin Brazilian Rosewood Oil. Our local lumberyard carries it. It can be ordered online. A quart will be plenty.

1. Wash the chair with the soapy water and rinse.

2. Let dry 2-5 days depending on the temperature and humidity.

3. Lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper. Having 150 grit available for any areas that don’t respond well to 220 is a good idea, but we don’t often need it.

4. Apply the oil, rubbing on and in with a rag. Keep the chair wet for 15-20 minutes--moving oil that remains on the surface to dry places and adding a little oil to lubricate the rubbing.

5. Remove all excess with a clean cloth—old tee shirt, sheet, whatever.

6. After 48 hours good drying time, buff with medium Scotchbrite pads and re-oil as before.

7. OILY RAGS CAN SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST IF LEFT IN A HEAP. Hang them outside until crusty and then trash them.

Call or email with questions.

Wishing you well,


Had good luck with the chair followed the instructions.
Cleaned it a couple of times , water was real muddy.
Then put two coats of oil on.


Gary, check out how #333 restored. It’s beautiful once again. Thx for your instructions.


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