Taking care of wood and wooden
furniture goes far beyond cleaning and dusting. Wood reacts to
environmental changes, such as moisture, temperature and light. The
wood care tips below should help you to preserve your wooden furniture,
wood cabinets, or any other wood products you have.
The sun can have extremely
detrimental effects on wood and wood finishes. Ultraviolet rays can
destroy a piece of beauty in a matter of a few weeks to months.
These rays penetrate the molecular structure of the finishes, the
color, and the wood itself. In this process, color will change
rapidly. Finishes will begin to crack or separate in the form of
hairline splits, or begin to look like alligator skin. It is best to
keep wood away from direct sunlight in all cases. If this is
unavoidable, use blinds, shades, or UV window protection to keep the
sun from directly shining on your wood product.
Both of these factors can also have
adverse effects on furniture or cabinets. Wood, whether finished or
not, absorbs whatever its surroundings have to offer. Dryness will
shrink wood and eventually cause it to split from lack of moisture.
Too much moisture, on the other hand, can swell wood and also cause
it to crack and or split from stress. As a general rule of thumb, if
you are comfortable in your surroundings, your furniture should be
fine. Do not use rubber or plastic feet under anything you might
place on a table as this can cause what is called "plasticizer
migration" and will make your tabletop look strange.
Ventilation outlets in your house
should not have furniture in front of them or too close by. Heating
and air conditioning vents create a temperature variance that is too
extreme for furniture or cabinets. Place your furniture in an area
that will allow the look you want, but yet safe from the sun and
extreme temperature variance. In the seasons where the windows can
be open and natural airflow can come through your house (which we
all love), be certain that you are protected from water droplets
coming through your window onto your furniture.
Ever notice in the winter, that
those "sticky" drawers suddenly loosened up? This is
nothing more that lack of humidity, and is one of the effects on
wood. The wood literally shrinks, allowing more freedom of movement.
This is why it is crucial to keep an even temperature and humidity
level in your home.
There is a multitude of finish types
today, ranging from natural oil all the way to polyurethane. Find
out what kind of finish you have when you purchase new or used
furniture, or when you refinish older pieces. This can make the
difference between setting a glass of water down and leaving it with
no damage, or destroying good furniture. Oil finishes offer very
little protection against almost any element.
Varnish finishes from the past
offered a little protection, but not a lot. Newer finishes such as
pre-catalyzed and post-catalyzed lacquers can offer a lot of
protection against damage from cold glasses being set down with no
coaster, as well as warm items like plates or coffee cups. Nothing
HOT should be placed on any finished wooden furniture.
We recommend and use three finishes
of the highest caliber. First, we offer a pre-catalyzed lacquer that
we have found to be a very nice finish, and include a 6-month
guarantee with it. Second, we offer a top-of-the-line pre-catalyzed
lacquer that has a five-year guarantee. Finally, we offer a
post-catalyzed lacquer with a lifetime guarantee. We guarantee these
finishes against naturally cracking, chipping, peeling or fading
(not from direct sunlight), as well as for water and
"warm" heat damage, as marked in your Caring For Wood
pamphlet we pass out upon delivery. Exposure to direct sunlight,
ventilation ducts, or other mis-use will void our guarantee, and we
do tell our customers about it.
Great care should be taken when
using solvents such as alcohol, nail polish remover,
perfume/cologne, or any toxic chemical around fine furniture. Nail
polish remover is nothing more than liquid paint/finish remover in a
small bottle, and will remove finish in an instant. An investment in
fine furniture can turn to a nightmare in a short time if the wrong
liquid is spilled, or any other type of spill is not taken care of
promptly. On the other hand, it can be an investment that will bring
you enjoyment for years to come if cared for properly.
The type of finish you have will
determine the method of polishing needed. With an oil finish only,
dust and re-apply oil. With older finishes that are just beginning
to show their age, a polish with lemon oil is appropriate. With
newer finishes, applying oil is doing nothing more than giving you
that greasy feeling. Most polishes today have silicone in them as
well as wax. You should dust or clean before polishing. Contaminants
are always airborne in a home. Dust, grease from cooking, hand oils,
etc. will always be there. Dust first, THEN polish, so you don't
grind in these elements.
What polish should you buy? Most
polishes today are fairly similar, but some are better than others.
We tend to recommend Old English Lemon Creme in the aerosol can. It
freshens up the look and has a mild abrasive in it to remove some of
the old wax previously applied. It leaves a smooth look and is not
greasy when wiped off with a clean rag after spreading.
Do you have a question about wood
care? We'd be happy to share our knowledge with you, or just offer
some advice. Use the form on the Feedback
page to send us your question, and we'll answer you directly.
If your question is of general interest, we'll also include it in