This information is for Jensen Jarrah furniture purchase thru 2008. For Jensen Leisure's Ipé products purchased in 2009 or later, click here.
Sunnyland no longer carries Jarrah Colourguard. Jensen Jarrah no longer produces the stain.
You may now purchase Cabot's Jarrah stain at most Lowes stores or at cabotstain.com.
Jarrah is the common name for Eucalyptus Marginata, a relatively large tree which attains a height of up to 130 feet, with a straight trunk up to 50 feet or more and a diameter up to 6 ½ feet. The wood is typically a rich, reddish brown color, with a pale whitish-yellow sapwood band around the outside of the log.
In common with most large trees of Western Australia, Jarrah occurs only in the far south-western corner of the State, where the climate is temperate. During the early years of the British colony Jarrah was known as Swan River mahogany. The name Jarrah was used from the mid-1840’s onwards.
Jarrah is one of the hardest and most durable timbers in the world. An evergreen eucalypt tree, it grows in infertile soils. The mature trees use clever techniques for survival. One adaptation is that most of the nutrients in the leaves are drawn back into the tree before they fall to make way for new growth. Another is an extensive deep root system, often traveling over 30 yards.
Jarrah has proven to be a remarkable timber, with many and varied uses over more than 160 years. An historic use of Jarrah was its specification for sleepers in the London Underground. Some of those sleepers have given in excess of 70 years’ service.
During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, many of the streets of Perth, Melbourne, London, Manchester, Southampton, Edinburgh and Cape Town were paved with Jarrah blocks in a cobblestone style. Jarrah was selected for its excellent durability and because it made the ride more comfortable on the horses and buggies of the day. Not the least important quality was Jarrah’s resistance to the acid in the horses’ urine!
The color of Jarrah ranges from a rich reddish brown to a soft salmon pink. The full natural color spectrum is blended together in our furniture.
At Jensen Jarrah we ensure that any natural characteristics of the timber that may appear as small blemishes, such as sap veins and small knots, are kept to a minimum on exposed surfaces. Any characteristics that do appear will have no impact on the durability of the furniture.
Jarrah is renowned for its silver gray color when seasoned by the weather. This can be seen today in the many structures still in use that have been made from Jarrah. This “suntan” of gray color is a natural result of exposure to sunlight, but it occurs only at the surface. The rich original color is always there, just beneath the surface. This “showroom” look can be preserved with a little care, as outlined below.
Shades of Jarrah timber:
If you have purchased a setting of chairs and a table, you are likely to see some variation of shades from item to item.
We carefully select the Jarrah in each item so that the shades in each board match as closely as possible. Natural variation means that this process can only ever be approximate. Even within one Jarrah board it is common to find variation in shade and grain.
Just before packing your furniture we coat the furniture with a clear oil to provide initial protection whilst in transit. This means that your furniture truly reflects the beautiful natural variation and color of Jarrah. This can vary from a soft 'salmon' pink through to a dark reddish brown.
The timber treatment that we recommend, known as "Colorguard", includes a light pigment which will minimise shade variation after several applications.
The Busselton Jetty is an example of the durability of Jarrah. It is over a hundred years old and stretches over a mile into the sea at Busselton, Western Australia. Although gray on the surface, recent maintenance proved that the Jarrah timbers exposed to the elements had retained the original rich reddish brown color just beneath the surface of the wood.
The amount of care required by your Jensen Jarrah furniture is directly related to the amount of exposure to the weather and the color you wish to maintain. Maintenance is as easy as you want it to be.
To preserve the original “showroom” color it should be protected from the elements, especially strong sun light, heavy rain and snow.
You can preserve and enhance the reddish colors by any one or more of the following:
- coating regularly with a timber treatment such as Jarrah Colorguard
- storing it under a covered patio and re-coating annually
- using a breathable protective cover, available at specialist stores. As wood is a natural product it should not be stored under plastic as this will inhibit the flow of air around the furniture and may cause mildew to form or distort the wood.
Of course, your setting will stand up to the elements quite well, even if totally neglected! All that will happen is that the original color will change to silver gray on the timber surface. You will see this begin to happen as soon as three to four months in harsh conditions, if the timber is left untreated.
If your setting has become silver gray it is possible to restore the original color, too.
The following sections explain how to restore the furniture and how to apply Colorguard.
Do not be afraid to sand your furniture if required. Any early lifting of the grain is more than likely a once off event caused by lifting of the fibres of the timber. This can happen after the initial sanding and oiling at the point of manufacture. A light sand at home with a fine180 grit sandpaper will fix it.
Application of timber treatments such as Jarrah Colorguard
Most treatments can be applied using a lint-free cloth. This makes the job simple and fast, and the result is stunning!
Although all of the furniture is oiled before it leaves the factory sometimes it can remain in the box for a few months before it is assembled. During that time the wood, as a natural product, will absorb this initial coating.
We recommend that the furniture is treated with Jarrah Colorguard immediately after assembly to ensure that the product is seen to its best advantage from the beginning. Some stores will have done this prior to delivery. Colorguard also provides UV protection for the wood. In fact, as you apply more treatments the UV protection builds up, so that after 3 or 4 coats the longevity of each coat improves.
TIP (See also “Do’s and Don’ts below):
Use a plastic pump spray bottle to apply the Colorguard lightly to the furniture, then wipe off with a lint-free rag leaving a thin coating. It is easy and fast! Just be sure that no over spray lands on any surface nearby (such as concrete flooring) because the pigment in the Colorguard will stain.
Here is an extract from the instructions on the label of Jarrah Colorguard:
Colorguard is a water-soluble finish that helps to safeguard Jarrah from the effects of weather and sunlight. The unique formula has a powerful “sun block” which helps to preserve the richness of Jarrah’s natural color. Use on all Jarrah outdoor furniture.
STIR WELL BEFORE AND DURING USE
Wear suitable clothing including gloves and eye protection
Always wash the surface with a mild detergent before treatment
Use a suitable groundsheet to contain the effect of any spills
Remove or protect any fabric furniture components as required
Wash skin, equipment and spills immediately with water
Check and re-tighten all furniture hardware with the Allen key provided
To maintain the original timber color and surface in ‘as new’ condition and for ongoing protection of your furniture we recommend applying Jarrah Colorguard immediately upon assembly of your furniture.
Well preserved timber
Do not apply Colorguard Jarrah if any form of timber oil has been applied within 8 weeks. Application should not be commenced if the timber is wet or likely to become wet within 24 hours. The timber surface should be clean and free from paint, varnish or other non-porous coatings. Apply straight from the can using a lint-free rag. Use of a brush, roller or spray is optional. Do not over-wet the timber surface. Wipe off excess while still wet.
Gray or weathered Jarrah
To return timber to close to the original color, completely clean the surface of dirt, bird droppings, tree sap, grease and oil borne stains etc. Use a sponge or bristle brush and mild detergent then rinse thoroughly. Allow the timber to dry completely, then sand with a 120 grit sandpaper on all weathered surfaces until new wood is exposed. For best results finish sanding along the grain with 180 grit sandpaper. Finish with Jarrah Colorguard as for ‘well preserved’ timber.
Drying and Recoat
Allow 48 hours prior to use. If a second coat is required allow extra drying time. Apply at least once every 12 months when furniture is in a protected environment. If furniture is fully exposed to the elements we recommend 2-3 times per year. For best results in these circumstances 2 coats are recommended.
The contents of this can will cover 50-100 sq. ft. depending upon method of application and texture and porosity of timber surface. Thinning is not recommended.
Do not use or store in extremes of temperature and protect from frost and freezing. Do not use product below 50 F.
If Jarrah Colorguard is not available there are other oils that can be used to treat wooden furniture. Check with your local hardware store and remember:
i) Follow manufacturer's instructions carefully
ii) If the product is tinted check it will not affect the color of your furniture
iii) Do not use Linseed Oil
iv) See Do’s and Don’ts below for more tips
Do pay particular attention to any safety instructions with treatment products.
Do take care to avoid staining of other surfaces when applying a treatment.
Do not leave excess treatment on the timber. Wipe off the excess.
Do use a light sandpaper (120 or 180 grit) on stubborn stains, but note that spot rubbing will leave visible marks on the timber if it is showing signs of graying. As a consequence, you may need to lightly rub back the surrounding area so that it is less obvious, or rub back the entire surface.
Do allow the treatment to dry before use. For Jarrah Colorguard, this can take up to 48 hours in cold weather, but if only a thin coat is applied in warm weather overnight drying should be sufficient.
Do not use linseed oil or linseed based oils. They are not recommended for Jarrah as they will darken the wood over time.
Do not use ‘Steel Wool’ to clean the surface of the wood as the fine steel particles left behind will result in dark rusty blotching on the timber surface.
Do not place your furniture under or near any vegetation that may drop leaves, berries or sap. These elements may stain the surface of the Jarrah.
Do not cut any metal products on or near the furniture. Small filings, even from a knife sharpener, may sit on the surface and rust over time, causing blotching of the timber surface.
Jensen Jarrah uses zinc coated steel fittings. The steel provides strength and the zinc coating will prevent rust. An occasional wipe with a light oil will provide additional protection in harsh environments.
It is recommended that the furniture hardware be regularly tightened to offset the natural movement of the timber caused by changing weather conditions and general use. An Allen key (small L shaped tool) is provided with your furniture for this purpose. A coin can be used for the stainless steel fittings. We recommend under normal conditions that you check the hardware every six months and re-tighten accordingly.