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Timber Furniture Care Information

Timber is a natural product and has characteristics that make each piece of furniture unique and individual. Mineral streaks, grain variations, knots, pitch pockets, colour variations and other markings create a natural beauty. No two trees are exactly alike, and this is reflected in the unique character that is reflected through the lustre of our carefully applied finishes.

Freshly sawn timber initially contains more than 50 percent moisture and has to be carefully dried to reduce the moisture content to a level which allows it to acclimate to the average level of humidity found in most homes.

Timber will continue to exchange moisture with the atmosphere in response to changes in the relative humidity around the furniture. Extremely dry air will cause timber to lose moisture and shrink a little, correcting itself when the humidity rises again. Maintaining a stable humidity level or reducing the rate of change of relative humidity will reduce the amount of movement within your timber furniture. These movements are, however, natural changes and do not affect the quality and sturdiness of your furniture.

Sticking Drawers

Humid weather may cause drawer fronts to swell and become difficult to open and close. Although every care is taken to allow for normal expansion, extreme conditions may cause drawers to stick.

A simple solution is to rub candle wax on the drawer sides and runners. When the air dries the drawers will cease to stick as the timber shrinks again.

Direct Sunlight

Exposure to continuous direct sunlight should be avoided. Extended exposure can create hairline cracks in the finish or can affect the colour by fading or darkening. Arranging furniture away from direct sunlight and using window treatments to block out ultra violet rays is recommended. "Mellowing" is a natural darkening of timber with age and is not considered a defect.

Taking Care Of Your Timber Furniture

  • Don't put anything that is hot directly on your furniture;
  • Use natural fibre cloths or felt pads under lamps and other accessories, and use protective pads when using writing utensils. Coasters should be used when placing hot or cold drinks on timber furniture;
  • When working with items that can potentially damage the timber, use a protective sheet or covering. Crayons, markers and glues, as well as oils from scented potpourri, can cause damage to finishes;
  • Avoid excessive scratching by lifting objects rather dragging them.

Timber Furniture Needs to Breathe

The fine lacquer finish on your furniture needs to "breathe" to maintain its appearance and durability. Rather than being covered for extended periods of time, it should have exposure to the atmosphere. To help achieve best results:

  • Move desktop objects such as electronic equipment and clocks periodically;
  • Felt disks should be used on the corners at the bottom of an upper unit which sits on top of a base such as a bookcase;
  • Accessories or other items placed on desks and other furniture surfaces should be rotated. Surface indentations can be avoided by using felt disks under accessory items.

 

Dusting

Regular dusting helps remove abrasive particles from timber surfaces. The use of a soft, clean cloth such as an old T-Shirt or baby nappy is recommended. Do not use a sponge or dishcloth.

Pick up accessories and replace gently when dusting.

Moisten your cleaning cloth slightly with water, as this will help prevent scratching and will collect the dust better as well as reducing static that can further attract dust. Do not allow moisture to remain on the surface.

Polishing Or Waxing Your Timber Furniture

As well as regular dusting, timber surfaces will also benefit from polishing or waxing occasionally to remove smudges and other particles, enhancing the appearance of your furniture.

Polishing or waxing only 2 or 3 times per year is recommended, although doing it more often won't damage the finish. Keep in mind that over polishing or waxing can detract from the appearance of the finish.

To polish or wax your timber furniture, please follow this procedure:

  • Using the polish or wax sparingly, dispense a little on a clean natural fibre, lint free cloth;
  • Wipe the polish or wax on the furniture in the direction of the grain, avoiding circular motions. Wipe excess polish or wax off with a second cloth or the clean side of the cloth you are using;
  • Avoid excess rubbing as this can be detrimental to the finish and cause uneven shine;
  • Avoid the use of silicone based polishes or waxes as these can clog the pores of the timber and soften the finish making repairs difficult.

 

Minor Repairs and Touching Up

Although minor damage to timber furniture can be repaired with the right materials and careful attention to detail, always test your remedy on an inconspicuous area to make sure that it does not damage the finish. The following are suggested methods only and individual results may vary.

Nicks and Scratches

Minor scratches that expose the timber under the finish can be made less noticeable by colouring with a touch up pen in a colour that matches the furniture.

Stroke the felt tip of the pen over the scratch in the direction of the grain. Rub off excess colorant immediately with a soft cloth. Polish the entire surface with an approved polish.

Water Marks

Water marks will often dissipate over time; however, if after a month the mark still remains then apply a little salad oil to a clean white cloth and rub on the mark in the direction of the grain. Polish after drying if necessary.

Heat Marks

Heat marks can be treated by rubbing gently with extra fine steel wool or by coating the area with salad oil, wiping dry with a clean cloth and following with a polish.

Sticking Paper

Dampen the paper thoroughly with salad oil and after a few minutes rub gently in the direction of the grain with extra fine steel wool, wipe dry with a clean cloth and follow with a polish.

NB: Extra fine steel wool (0000) is available from hardware stores, and you should not use steel wool pads made for scrubbing pots and pans.

Spills and Stains

Accidents happen even when you are careful. Fast action will avoid deep penetration in to the timber and possible damage. Some common spills may be treated as follows:

Food Stains

Wipe up the spill and polish with a clean, soft cloth to avoid stains from mayonnaise, tomato sauce or juices.

Candle Wax or Gum

Harden the wax or gum with ice wrapped in plastic and gently lift it off the surface with a non-stick spatula or credit card. Allow the surface to dry and follow with a polish.

Alcohol

Cocktails, colognes and medicines contain alcohol and will dissolve the finish on contact. Allow these spills to air dry and if damage results seek the advice of a specialist furniture repairer.

Paint

Water-based paint should be wiped off immediately with a clean damp cloth. Oil-based paint should be allowed to dry before pushing away gently with a non-stick spatula or credit card.

Nail Polish or Polish Remover

These highly volatile solvents can cause a lot of damage. Blot away from the surface immediately but do not rub. Allow to dry and consult a furniture repair specialist.

Placement of Your Timber Furniture

Most homes have slight variations in floor levels caused by age, construction or floor coverings. Our furniture is constructed to stand on flat level surfaces and all drawers and doors are aligned when leaving the factory. Floor variations may result in the misalignment of your furniture.

Packers or levellers can be used under the furniture to align the piece correctly. Over time as the furniture settles into floor coverings, it may become necessary to re-adjust the packers, especially if heavy items are placed on top of the furniture or the furniture is moved.

Moving Your Timber Furniture

Special care must be taken when moving fine furniture to avoid damage.

  • Remove all knobs and castors and either place them in an envelope or tape them inside a drawer so they are close at hand when unpacking.
  • Remove adjustable shelves and wrap them separately. Glass shelves or tops should be removed before moving furniture.
  • Close and secure all drawers and doors by covering with a blanket and tying loosely.
  • Protect corners and other projections with padding or foam. Lift, don't drag or slide furniture as it may bend or break legs. Do not lift by yourself as you may cause injury to your back.