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How To Take Care of The Mbunda Wooden Artifacts


Not much care is normally required. Keep your pieces away from excessive temperature and humidity fluctuations and direct sunlight. When forced hot air heating is used in winter, humidifiers really help to reduce cracking and warping. Wood boring insects, although rarely a problem, can be controlled by insecticide sprays or fumigation. Putting an effected item in a freezer for 1-2 weeks is often the safest and most effective way to get rid of the wood damaging insects. Wood borers produce small surface holes which periodically discharge fine wooden dust which accumulates in tiny mounds under the effected object. Wood borer holes are much smaller than holes produced by termites which do not present problems for the indoor collections.

Clean your art pieces often. Soft brushes, dusters or canned compressed air (i.e Dust-off® compressed-gas equipment duster) are effective in removing dust and dirt from the surfaces or crevices. Do not use water or detergents to clean your artifacts. Colored wood putty can be used to fill the cracks if they really bother you. Elmer's glue-all works well to glue back the broken pieces. To hold the glued piece in place use rubber bands or shrink wrap. However, for best results consider taking the item to a reputable professional antique or art restoration business.

We do not recommend applying any protective coatings to your wooden Mbunda art. Leave natural oils, tars and pigments used by Mbunda artists in their original, unadulterated  form. However, some collectors, dealers and gallery owners apply various protective or decorative coatings onto their objects. In some cases these coatings are meant to mimic the real patina, creating a problem for inexperienced collectors.  If you are determined to add some shine and pizzazz to your pieces do not use anything harsher than wax-based finishes. Wax will not damage most items and can be removed. As all other coatings, wax layer will often darken the color of you piece, so try it first on a small hidden area.



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