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Tiki Central / Tiki Carving

Restoration and/or Preservation of old Tiki?

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A search for existing topics came up dry, but please feel free to direct me to existing posts if they cover this.

I picked up this tiki at a local pawn shop several months ago, and I love, love, love it. I have no idea who created it, where its from, or how it got to the Ozark Mountains, but I almost had a tiki-gasm when I spotted it. He shall live in our tiki-themed screened-in addition when complete. He seems to be solid and in decent shape, but still smells of cigarette smoke and has some white staining on one side. He doesn't appear to have any kind of protective stain or clearcoat.

He will be displayed away from the outside walls inside our screened-in room, so he will not see rain or other direct water, but may experience direct sunlight and fluctuations in humidity levels. Should I give him some sort of protective coating, like a varnish or lacquer, or stain of some sort? Any idea what the white staining might be, and if I should try and remove that first?

Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Is the white stain powdery? I'm no expert, but it appears to be some type of mold to me. If it was stored in damp conditions before you rescued it, that's possible. There are lots of ways to get rid of mold, but I'll let the more experienced folks here offer their advice for this artifact.

As for a protective coating, my inclination is for tung oil. It's a penetrative oil, so it'll get into the pores and help protect the interior, but one that also forms an external protective coating as well. Plus, it looks good. Regardless, you'll want to use some type of oil to rehydrate and restore the wood--it looks excessively dry to me. Food grade mineral oil, beeswax, or a combination of the two are other options to protect and waterproof it, although those choices aren't as lasting as tung oil.

Regardless, that's a fantastic find. I am envious!

Thanks! Yeah, mold was one of the first things that popped into my head, too. But it doesn't rub off. I have a few kinds of mold removal sprays, but was afraid to use them. It is very dry, and oil should do wonders for the color, too. Just didn't want to "seal" in the white stuff if its something I should remove first. I was even thinking that it might be related to the cigarette smell? :wink:

I've had some amazing luck trying to find items for our upcoming tiki room - on a budget, even. This guy only set me back $40! They had a smaller guy next to him, too, (maybe a third the height) that was soft and rotten, and falling apart with chunks missing and a hole down the center. Sadly, it looked like he had been used as an ashtray.

I wanted to buy the pair - the salesman wanted $60 each, regardless of their size/condition, which seemed silly to me. So I talked him down to $40 for the big guy, which seemed like a steal. But he wouldn't go lower than $40 for the smaller one, which really didn't look salvageable. I went back two weeks later, and offered him $20 again for the little guy, and he still wouldn't budge. A week later, it was gone. Maybe they sold it...maybe they scrapped it. :(

None-the-less, hoping I can bring this one back to life a bit, and maybe someday find out more about it.

That's a Mla Tiki.
Carved in Coco Fl.
Or some one he taught.
It's palm.
Give him a dark brown stain or what ever color
you like & a coat of satin polly.
He'll look like wood.
I do that all the time.
Good find, good price.

It's amazing how far and wide you will find Wayne's stuff!


It definitely resembles the Mai Tiki style, though I don't see Mai Tiki carved anywhere on it. Maybe a knockoff, or someone he trained. Did Wayne sign all of his tikis?


Just going off your photos, and particularly the last one, that 'white stain' on the bark looks to me like the normal light gray oxidation of natural palm bark, from when it was still a tree exposed to sun and rain. The browner parts on the bark look like places that the tiki has been bumped or scraped in its lifetime.
Regardless, Will has good advice on refreshing it.

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