5 Tips to keep your wood furniture looking its best.
Whether your piece was crafted in 1820, 1920, or 2020 – there are general guidelines for caring for your wood furniture to ensure it maintains its original beauty, luster, and functionality – not to mention value.
1. In general, we recommend cleaning your wood furniture weekly with a clean, slightly damp cloth. After dusting or cleaning, immediately wipe any excess liquid from your wood surfaces. Today’s finishes are resistant but not waterproof.
2. Furniture polish should be used sparingly. Many commercial items claim to clean and protect wood furniture but often end up coating the finish with a waxy residue that can actually build up and damage a finish. If you are going to use a furniture polish be sure to select one that is silicone free and will not build up on top of your finish.
3. On occasion you may find excess dirt or grease on surfaces such as dining chairs, butcher blocks, kitchen tables, etc. Be careful cleaning these areas, especially if the finish is older as it may have softened. It’s best to use only a small amount of furniture cleaner, mild soap or, our favorite, mineral spirits and clean very lightly so you don’t disturb or remove the finish.
4. If joinery, legs, dowels, braces, etc. become loose, have them professionally repaired to ensure the correct technique is used based on the issue and age of the furniture.
5. A table pad set can also be used to protect a table pad from damage while entertaining.
Colorado’s extreme climate can be hard on your wood furniture.
climate, location, and your wood furniture.
Wood is porous so changes in humidity levels can impact the strength and functionality. If you are moving an antique piece from a climate that has a high humidity level to an area with a low humidity level, there are some precautions you may want to take. If the interior drawers, back panels and inside case of a piece lacks a finish, shellac or varnish those areas. Be careful not to get anything on the original finish. This will prevent the item from losing its moisture rapidly in only certain areas, and help keep it from cracking or splitting as it climatizes. As soon as it reaches its destination, humidify the room the piece is in, and gradually decrease the humidity level.
In Colorado, we recommend trying to keep the humidity level in your home above 30% if possible. Large plants in pots placed on 3 to 4 inch deep trays filled with rocks and water act as natural humidifiers. If you use portable humidifiers, be very careful that the water does not condense on nearby wood surfaces.
With proper maintenance, lacquer finishes can last a very long time.
A quality finish starts with the right foundation.
At Ackerman & Sons we use a catalyzed lacquer that is a very hard and durable finish, with molecules that bond to each other in such a way as to prevent penetration by water and chemicals for up to 2.5X longer than a standard lacquer. The particular product we use is one of the few lacquers that meets or exceeds the Kitchen and Bath Association standards for moisture resistance.
Even the densest finish requires proper maintenance and care to deliver years of beauty and functionality.