We ensure that all our products arrive to you suitably finished, polished or waxed and ready to use. However, over time they will require a little aftercare to keep them looking as magnificent as the day you received them. Some products require more maintenance than others and various cleaning and preserving techniques must be applied. Below, you will find some guidance on how to best care for your treasured chess set or backgammon set.
Polished wooden chess pieces
Most wooden chess pieces are finished by applying by hand a thin coat of a natural polish such as shellac. This permeates the wood and provides a protective barrier from dirt and also from the oils produced by the skin which are transferred whilst handling. This type of polishing retains the look and feel of wood, yet offers a high level of protection which is very durable.
Caring for naturally polished chess pieces is relatively simple. Simply polish the pieces with a dry, lint free dusting cloth. There is no need to use any additional waxes or polishes as the original shellac does not wear off easily. If the pieces get coated or stained with a contaminant, carefully wipe with a damp soft cloth, then use another clean cloth to dry.
Lacquered wooden Chess Pieces
These wooden chess pieces have a thick coat of lacquer such as melamine or nitrocellulose. These are very robust and really need very little aftercare. To clean lacquered pieces simply rub with a dry, lint free dust cloth. If the pieces get sticky or get tainted with a bonded contaminant, then a damp cloth with a little washing detergent should easily remove this.
If the lacquer sustains scratches it is possible to polish out or improve the appearance of these by using a tiny quantity of quality automotive scratch removal cream, such as Meguires Scratch X™. We do not recommend the use of strong ammonia or petroleum based scratch removers or rubbing compounds such as T-Cut™ as they are too abrasive and may crack or discolour the lacquer.
Metal chess pieces
Metal chess pieces usually have a very thin coat of clear lacquer which stops tarnishing and staining which can result from the natural oils released by human fingers. If the chess pieces have a lacquer coat then a simple dust with a dry, lint free dusting cloth is all that is required. If the metal pieces get sticky or have bonded substances on them, then use a damp cloth rinsed in a mild detergent to clean, then dry off.
If the metal pieces do not have a lacquer coating, they are usually manufactured from a material that does not easily tarnish. To clean just wipe with a dry dusting cloth. Again, if the pieces have bonded substances attached then a wipe with a damp cloth is all that's required.
Plastic Chess Pieces
Plastic pieces require no polishing or aftercare as such. If they get tacky or dirty through sustained use then simply wipe with a damp cloth rinsed in mild detergent and allow to dry.
Stone Composite / poly resin chess pieces
Synthetic or semi synthetic moulded pieces require very little aftercare. They do not require polishing, in fact we strongly advise against the use of any polishes, waxes or chemicals. To clean poly-resin pieces, just dust with a dry lint free cloth & wipe off any contaminants with a damp cloth rinsed on a very mild dishwashing detergent.
Solid Wood Gloss Lacquered Chess Boards
Solid wooden boards are usually finished in a thick coat of lacquer such as melamine or nitrocellulose. Older chess boards my be coated in a solvent based lacquer, newer boards in an acrylic based version. Either way, the process of aftercare is the same. To clean, simply dust with a dry, lint free cloth. Dirt and contaminants can be wiped off using a damp cloth rinsed through in mild washing detergent.
Over time, lacquer can loose its sheen or sustain scratches through use. If this is the case, then there is the option to either polish out minor scratches or generally improve the sheen of the whole board. Use small quantities of quality automotive scratch removal cream, such as Meguires Scratch X™, working into one area of the board at a time. Use circular swirling actions and do not apply too much pressure. Once applied sufficiently, buff the whole board with a dry, lint free cloth.
We do not recommend the use of strong ammonia or petroleum based scratch removers or rubbing compounds such as T-Cut™ as they are too harsh & abrasive and may crack or discolour the lacquer.
Solid Wood Satin or Matt lacquered Chess Boards
General cleaning and care for these boards is very similar to gloss lacquered boards. Dust daily or weekly with a clean, soft cloth. Remove any dirt or bonded marks with a slightly damp soft cloth rinsed in mild dishwashing detergent.
NOTE: Polishing or removing scratches from satin or matt lacquered boards is not recommended. The mechanical act of rubbing will result in the area becoming shiny and glossy as you are basically buffing the satin finish into a gloss finish.
Solid Wood Polished Chess Boards
Solid wood polished boards are usually finished with some sort of wax. Animal bases waxes such as beeswax are the most favoured. This wax treats the wood and offers ar reasonable level of protection for a limited time. Therefore, these items usually need the wax product to be reapplied every now and then. We recommend that naturally polished boards be re-waxed every six months using a good quality beeswax such as Briwax™.
We don't recommend any waxes that are turpentine based as they are harmful to both the environment and to you!
The process is quite simple. Apply a small amount of the wax to a lint free clean rag and rub lightly into the wood using small circular motions. Once the whole board has been waxed, allow to dry for 10-15 minutes. After this time, buff off any excess wax and polish to a fine sheen. If this process is done, daily or weekly care should only require a light dust with a clean, soft dust cloth.
Veneer Wood Gloss Lacquered Chess Boards
Veener gloss lacquered boards can be treated in the same fashion as gloss lacquered solid wood boards. Take note that most veneer boards do not have quite the same thickness of lacquer coating as their solid wood counterparts, therefore extra care should be taken if using polishing products to remove minor scratches or blemishes.
Veneer Wood Satin Lacquered ChessBoards
Satin lacquered veneer boards require the same care as satin varnished solid wood boards- simply clean with a dry, clean dust cloth. Wipe stuck on dirt or marks with a damp cloth rinsed in mild dishwashing detergent. Do not polish or rub with polishing or scratch removal products as this will result in unsightly shiny areas on the board.
Veneer Wood Polished Chess Boards
Naturally polished veneer wooden boards require the same aftercare as a solid wooden naturally polished board. Please note that veneers are much thinner and therefore require less product ( i.e. beeswax ) to be applied.
Folding Chess Sets
Gloss Lacquered folding chess sets
High sheen lacquered folding chess sets are usually pretty robust and do not need much aftercare. Simply wipe with a clean & dry soft cloth at regular intervals. Remove bonded marks with a damp cloth rinsed in mild washing detergent. Small surface scratches and marks can be reduced or polished out completely by using a modern automotive scratch removal product such as Meguires Scratch X™.
Polished folding wooden chess sets
Naturally polished wooden folding chess sets are usually finished in light rub of Beeswax. This offers a limited level of protection and needs to be reapplied every 6 months or so. Use a popular, natural beeswax such as Briwax™ and rub in sparingly. Allow to dry and buff up to a soft sheen. Everyday care just requires a light dusting with a clean, dry soft cloth.
Wooden Backgammon Sets
Most wooden backgammon sets are either natually polished or have a light coat of satin lacquer. Simply wipe the cabinet with a dry soft cloth or use a damp cloth to remove any stubbern dirt. Dry with a soft cloth straight away and do not use any polishes or waxes.
Leather backgammon Sets
Leather backgammon sets need little more than a wipe with a clean dry soft cloth. Every year it is advsed to clean the cabinet leather with a good quality leather conditioner.
Faux leather backgammon sets need only a wipe with a damp soft cloth.