|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.
Temperature & Humidity
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
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
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.
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 our FAQS.