Shop Log

Renewing a Porch Rocker

A patron was unsure of what kind of wood his porch rocker was made of. He called and sent a photo by email. I replied:


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,