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Old Tiki Carving Help

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  • Old Tiki Carving Help

    Hello, I am new to the forum and looking for some advise. I have a 5 foot tiki carving that was passed down from my grandfather. It sat behind his pool for many years and has now sat behind my pool for about 10 years. The piece is getting some splits and has some rotten spots from being in the elements in Texas. I would like to preserve it as much as possible. I'm not trying to sand or tweek the original piece, just looking for a good product to brush on it after I clean it up to preserve it for many more years without altering the original artists work. Any advise would be great.


  • #2
    Some wood damage such as rot or insect borings must be removed to stop the action. Then the resulting holes can be filled with putty, epoxy, or other repair materials. How about photos?


    • #3
      Well, I tried to upload some photos but it says the file size is to large for some reason. I'm really looking for something to pour or brush on the piece to preserve it. I'm not necessarily trying to repair it. Just want to keep it in the weathered state that its in without it getting any worse in the elements outdoors. If you know of another way to upload photos please let me know.


      • #4
        Many of the "pests" destroying your Tiki carving are organisms that will continue even if you coat the outside, or it may be just weathering. You may need to consult an exterminator.


        • #5
          Just my opinion:

          So people must be really bored out there, we seem to have a recent influx of “I want to save this old rotted POS.

          Wood hardener: is designed to preserve rotted wood. It soaks deeply into the wood which is good and bad. I used it on punky piece I choose for a base for a squirrel carving this roughly 4” X 5” piece of old log soaked up a whole quart of product. A five foot piece could soak up several gallons, but it is the right product. Did I mention this stuff is $45 a gallon.

          I’ve read of people using lacquer or poly reduce with thinner or mineral spirits as a cheaper option. The main thing is you need to apply it in heavy applications so it can soak all the way through. To make sure it isn’t still rotting from the inside out.

          And I’m not even going to touch on the potential for bugs or mold in this project.

          Good luck
          Living in a pile of chips.


          • #6
            Thanks for the info guys. BTW this is not one of those fix a rotting POS projects. Its a preserve a tiki man that was passed down from grandpa project ! I will look into the wood hardener. Thank again everyone for the advise.


            • #7
              Hi Ed
              Just for your information The "TIKI" has significant cultural significance with a large section of our population. It might well be looked upon by the Maori people as you might perhaps look upon a deteriorating carving of the American flag.

              How is Albert coming along? looking forward to seeing him all finished.



              • #8
                Originally posted by natekali View Post
                Thanks for the info guys. BTW this is not one of those fix a rotting POS projects. Its a preserve a tiki man that was passed down from grandpa project ! I will look into the wood hardener. Thank again everyone for the advise.
                Nice to see that you're trying to preserve your grandfather's piece. I'm sure it invokes fond memories. Good luck!


                • #9
                  Sorry guys, guess the self isolation is getting to me.
                  Living in a pile of chips.


                  • #10
                    Sun and humidity are extremely hard on any kind of statue, they will split with time and age. If it was mine it needs to go into an area where there is no sun on it and no rain, I have seen people build shade areas around big outdoor statues.

                    Next, I would bug spray and cover it with large lawn bags, because bugs destroy statues and you can not see them inside those cracks until it is to late....major destruction can happen, and would hate to see that happen to heritage work. I have had outdoor statues destroyed major by bugs that love wood in the past. Wood eating bugs in Texas that will eat your statue, inside out are termites plus,Carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are named for their habit of destroying wood. ...Carpenter Bees. Carpenter bees are medium-sized bees with adults approaching 1 inch in length. ...Deathwatch Beetle. ...Old House Borer. ...
                    Powderpost Beetles and False Powderpost Beetles. Cracks equal bugs in my book of opinions.

                    Then I would use various rot agents, then a heavy coating of outdoor varnish or other mediums that will protect the wood from the elements and the bugs.

                    It is noted any outdoor statue must be regular maintenance to stop the destruction from the elements and more often that is once a year. Here in the islands, outdoor tiki lasts only about seven years before major deterioration. If the statue is teak, then teak oil finish is outstanding but again regular maintenance is needed for a lasting statue.
                    Last edited by Dileon; 07-09-2020, 11:58 AM.


                    • #11
                      I will also note, I have worked major with diseased wood, rotting wood, and it is a nightmare, you have to spend tons of money and time on it. And only time will tell if you fixed your issue. Wood rot will continue if the rot runs deep...and all the money you poured into is wasted? With wood statues...outside, it is not a fast project to preserve it, have to do the work, all of it. Fast one time solutions do not work at all. As I have seen people do that, and come crying years later because their wood tiki or any kind of statue are getting destroyed because they did a fast fix. One project I poured CA on it to make it hard again, major money spent on that one because the rot was deep.


                      • #12
                        I suggest that it will be useful to look at a range of Pacific Northwest totem poles.
                        Maybe with a rare exception, all of them are carved from Western Red Cedar.
                        The poles stand up well to west coast weather but most are ready to fall down in a century or less.

                        The most successful method of preservation appears to be bringing the poles indoors.
                        Other than house posts which you expect to find indoors,
                        all the rest of the different kinds are standing outdoors.

                        Years ago, I carved a pair of black Ravens in WRC, about 30" tall.
                        They have been standing out in the west coast weather ever since.
                        I've seen them once in the past 10 or so years. Even from pictures,
                        they are holding up better than I expected but their age is starting to show.
                        The owners understand that nothing is to be done to attempt to bring them back to life.

                        Maybe the tiki is best left to play out life's span? Everybody's body goes.

                        Brian T