Maintaining Your Equipment
Pure tung oil (also known as ‘china wood oil) is used on all equipment. Some wood finishes have ‘drying agents’ added which can be harmful to health, so I prefer this product as it has no additives.
When you receive your equipment it is ready to use, and should remain in great condition if you stick to the following advice.
Clean and dry
Wood is a natural material, and like any organic material it will suffer if it is left in a wet environment.
After training, give equipment a quick wipe down and store in a dry bag.
You should regularly check equipment for surface damage such as scratches or chips. These should be treated with an oil to protect the exposed wood.
More serious are loose parts; these can often be repaired, but equipment should not be used until the issue is remedied.
Maintain the finish
Over time the oils from your hands will penetrate the wood and provide protection. However areas that receive a more contact during kumi-waza (such as the ends of tonfa and the tips of a staff) will need extra protection.
Therefore I recommend applying a coat of oil annually.
Applying the Oil
First, give your equipment a thorough clean, use either a very fine sandpaper (400 grit or higher) or a scrub with a rough cloth (or one of those sponge scrubbers from under the sink).
Then, apply a coat of oil all over the weapon and leave it to soak in for 10 minutes; then firmly wipe off the excess. Any damaged fibres will drink up the oil and be strengthened by it, and a small amount to bond onto the surface, adding to the initial protection.
As I said above – I use tung oil and recommend this as the best option – however if you don’t have this to hand, then another oxidising oil such as linseed would also work.
The Tung tree originated in central and southern China, concentrated around the Yangtse River, and it appears in the writings of Confucius from about 400 B.C. The Chinese have utilised the properties of Tung oil for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for caulking and painting of their boats, treating leather and waterproofing paper and cloth.”
As a drying oil, Tung oil dries upon exposure to air. The resulting coating is transparent, waterproof, and flexible, it is naturally non-toxic when dry and able to move and flex as wooden surfaces expand and contract with age and changing temperature.
courtesy of the tung oil.co.uk