Care and Maintenance Tips for Your Wooden Furniture
September 14, 2020
Your custom wood furniture is an investment that should increase in value over time. Its appearance depends on how well you care for it. It is essential to follow some basic guidelines to ensure that you maximise your furniture’s lifetime of service.
Characteristics of Natural Wood
Every piece of wood is unique and the natural color or grain variations will cause the wood to react differently to finish. Therefore, it’s not unusual to find several contrasts in the same piece of furniture. The lighter pieces originated closer to the tree’s bark and the darker pieces from the tree’s center. Variations in the grain should not be viewed as flaws as they have absolutely no effect on the furniture’s durability or structural integrity.
Water & Wood
Be very careful when cleaning wood with water. Wood should never get wet or soaked as water can cause swelling, warping or staining when it penetrates a finish. Use coasters, pads, cloths or runners to protect against spills and water rings wherever possible and clean up spills quickly, especially on wood with a hand rubbed finish.
Dust frequently. Use a clean, washable cloth made of soft, lint-free cotton The best choices include an old T- shirt, diaper, cheesecloth, dish towel, piece of flannel, or chamois. The dust cloth should have no buttons, zippers or anything that could scratch furniture surfaces. Never use a dust cloth that has hanging threads or unravelling edges that catch on wood slivers or other loose pieces.
Although polishing is not necessary, you may feel free to use commercial polishing products on furniture that has a lacquer finish. Do be sure to use the same type of polish consistently so your furniture finish won’t appear cloudy or streaky if oil-based and wax-based polishes are interchanged. Furniture with an oil hand rubbed finish have special care recommendations so make sure to consult the furniture builder for their care suggestions.
Wood is very sensitive to changes in humidity and as the weather changes, so does the humidity in your home as well as the moisture content of the wood in your furniture. Fluctuating moisture levels means that furniture will constantly expand and contract. Sudden changes in humidity on a frequent basis are bad and wood is most likely to crack when the climate in a home suddenly changes from hot and humid to cool and dry.
Use a humidifier in winter and an air conditioner in summer for best results. However, excess heat and dryness can cause wood to split and crack. Furniture ages more quickly if stored in a basement, attic, garage or warehouse so to extend the lifetime of your important furniture keep them in the proper environment.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
The rays of the sun will damage a finish and bleach the wood underneath. Extended exposure to sunlight can cause the finish to crack, sometimes in a pattern resembling the skin of an alligator. Try to keep furniture out of direct sunlight, but of this is not possible, reduce the amount of exposure to sun light as much as you can.