Wood furnishings are usually very precious to us, our rooms, our overall furnishing plan and our budget. Perhaps you’ve inherited a precious heirloom. Or maybe you’ve decided it’s time to invest in new wood pieces to enhance the beauty of a newly designed room. In any case, properly caring for these pieces will insure their long life.
It’s important to remember that the wood used for your furniture pieces were designed and manufactured was once part of a living, breathing tree. Before it’s created into the beautiful piece you’ve just purchased, the wood was first carefully dried, typically in a kiln. This is done so that excess moisture can be removed. It’s important that the wood retains some moisture, so that it can easily adapt to the relative indoor humidity of your home.
In winter months, when your heating system is much more active, the wood in your furniture tends to lose moisture and shrink just slightly. And, during summer months, or rainy times, when humidity is high, moisture is absorbed into the wood from the air. That’s why you may notice that the halves of the extension table in your dining room part slightly during dry cold winters – or that the doors on your cabinets tend to stick on rainy summer days.
For the best protection of your fine wood furniture try to keep the relative humidity of your home at about 25 to 35 percent. Also, it’s important that you avoid placing furniture in front of radiators, heating vents or fireplaces. And don’t forget, that natural sunlight can be very cruel to your furniture’s finish. Never place a piece of fine wood furniture in front of a window where it will be subjected to the sun’s harsh rays.
Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s directions for details on how best to care for your new furniture pieces. I suggest that my clients keep these instructions filed away for future reference. Manufacturer recommendations may suggest a special brand of wax, and it’s important that it be applied as directed. In between any special applications, frequent dusting is advisable. Use a soft cloth that has been slightly moistened to prevent a build up of dust.
Care for your wood furniture properly, and someday it promised to become a most treasured heirloom!