When working with natural wood, it is important to understand that each tree will offer wood with unique characteristics. Natural grain variations and color will cause the wood to react differently to a finishes. Mineral streaks, knots, small pits, and color variations are natural and in no way affect the product’s durability or integrity and are not considered defects.
Even as a finished product, the wood continues to exchange moisture with the air as it responds to climatic changes in its environment. It responds to dry air by losing moisture and shrinking. The opposite happens as humidity rises and the wood absorbs moisture. Seasonal wood movement on solid wood products is normal and not considered a warranty issue. These natural changes do not affect the furniture’s quality.
Wood furniture is best maintained at a temperature of between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity between 40 and 45 percent. Avoid placing wood furniture near heating or air-conditioning outlets. If this is not possible, use a shield or guard to direct the air-flow away from the product. Exposure to extreme temperature or humidity variations can damage any solid wood pieces. This includes variations caused by humidifiers, radiators, and fireplaces. Wood can best handle variations if it happens gradually.
What to Avoid
- Don’t put anything hot or cold directly on wood furniture.
- Use a protective pad when writing and coasters under hot and cold beverages.
- Protect the surface when working with items that could stain or damage the wood, such as crayons, markers and glue.
- Nail polish remover, hair spray, perfume and potpourri (and any other products that contain solvents) can damage wood finishes. Do not place these products directly on a wood surface and avoid using them near any wood furniture.
- Be careful to avoid unnecessary or localized rubbing on matte or low-sheen finishes at this can cause uneven shine.
- Clean up spills immediately.
Direct Exposure to the Elements
Do not expose solid wood furniture to direct sunlight. Extended exposure with cause the finish to fade or darken. When unavoidable, always try to uniformly expose surfaces to light. Avoid only allowing light to hit part of the surface as this may cause uneven fading. Occasionally move objects placed on the wood surface for a more uniform exposure.
Dust is abrasive, so it can create a worn, dull surface look to the product over time. Dust will accumulate in joints and cracks and become hard to remove. Weekly dusting is recommended. Use a clean, soft, washable, lint-free cloth. Avoid sponges, dishcloths and fabrics with coarse stitching or embroidery.
Moisten the cloth slightly with water to help dust adhere to it. Do not let any moisture remain on the wood surface. Wipe using gentle strokes while following the direction of the grain.
Furniture Care Products
Typically, water is enough to clean the wood surface. Application of paste wax every three months will help maintain the original look of the wood. Before using any other product on your furniture, test a small, inconspicuous area to make sure that your finish won't deteriorate or soften. Wipe polish or cleaners in the direction of the grain. Do not use any products that contain silicone. Silicone can damage the finish by softening it. Avoid products not labeled specifically for wood finish care.