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Modern wood furniture is usually coated with some type of laminate and does not require wax or oil. This is very convenient, but it also means that the wood is most likely of inferior quality.

 

When people ask us where they can obtain good quality wood furniture we tell them that they should look at antique stores and go to estate auctions.

 

Older wood furniture is better made than its modern equivalents and will probably last much longer.

Caring for Wood Furniture.

Almost all of us have some furniture with the wood exposed in some place. A sofa, a chair, or the dining room table. This exposed wood is often the first area to show signs of wear and tear.

To help alleviate this problem there are few simple steps that can be taken to prevent and repair minor blemishes in the finish of your exposed wood items.

The first thing to do is to clean the finish so that you start with a fresh surface. To do this you should use a small amount of mineral spirits on a soft cloth. This will dissolve both waxy and oily deposits. If this does not work try plain water and rub hard with a rag. Only as a last resort should you use soap and water. Even if you do have to use soap and water, apply a hard wiping of mineral spirits afterwards to remove any waxy deposits.

Be sure to dry the wood completely, keeping it away from a direct heat source. The time for drying will vary on you cleaning method, less for mineral spirits, longer for soap and water. Do not allow water to remain on the wood any longer than necessary. The water will damage the wood and its finish.

Once the wood is dry it is ready to be protected. This can be done with either wax or oil.

If you wax your wood, try to use beeswax polish if you can. This provides a hard, dull finish that is very non-slip. The problem with beeswax polish, though, is that it does not provide a high shine. If you wish a highly polished look then use one of the modern, commercial furniture waxes.

To protect with oil, which is better that wax, use mineral oil (teak oil if you own teak). Rub the mineral oil on the surface of the wood with a soft cloth, then wipe the excess away with a dry cloth. Please note that lemon-oil polishes are just mineral oil with a lemon scented additive.

Mineral oil is best for older wood. That is, wood that does not have a very hard shellac or plastic finish to it. These finishes tend to repel oil.

If you have a few small blemishes in the finish that you wish to cover, you can use coloured furniture polish. These are commercially made; consult your hardware store about availability and match the colour appropriately.

To help prevent cracking in wood, be sure to keep it away from excessive heat. This means keeping it away from heat sources such as radiators, heat vents, stoves, and fireplaces. Excessive heat will cause the wood to dry out and crack

Hopefully these few tips will help you to protect and care for your wood items, making your home or office beautiful, warm, and richly decorated.