CARE AND MAINTENANCE
A beautifully crafted finished wood slab can definitely be admired as a work of art. With the help of mother nature that has already sketched the canvas, a seasoned woodworker can skillfully repair any necessary defects and highlight all the key characteristics of the wood to vividly expose all its nuance and contrast to make its beauty shine through. Like any valuable piece of art, a beautifully finished wood slab is considered to be an investment by its owner and therefore it requires great care and maintenance to preserve its decorativeness. Followings are some very important steps to take in order to ensure the durability and new condition of the finished wood:
Sanding / Finishing (For the DIYers):
First, it starts with the finishing on the wood slab itself. Once the proper sanding feel has been achieved, the slab surface must be properly prepped and cleaned to apply multiple coats of finishes in order to seal and protect the wood from people and the elements. The number of coats required varies depending on the type of finishing being applied on the wood. For example an Acrylic Urethane which is a water based finish requires 3 – 4 coats to provide the same amount of protection as an Oil based Polyurethane finish with 1 – 2 coats application.
Care and Cleaning:
Wipe water ring, spills, or standing liquid immediately from the wood surface to prevent the possibility of staining and damage of the wood in case the liquid penetrate the finishing.
Clean wood finish periodically with a clean soft cloth or damp sponge. Use a mild soap and as little water as possible (firstly applied on the soft cloth) to clean a greasy or thougher mess. A specially formulated cleaner for fine furniture can also be used (i.e. A Natural Lemon Oil Polish).
Do not use cleaning solutions that contain harsh chemical, bleach, or abrasives such as Ammonia and other high pH cleaners. Wipe all surfaces dry after cleaning.
Keep your wood finish away from direct sunlight and use your shades / blinds during those sunny days. The brightness and darkness with the sun phases is a big culprit for discoloration.
Keep your finished wood slab furniture away from appliances that are releasing high heat or steam such as toaster ovens, coffee makers, rice cookers, tea urns. Extreme temperatures from heaters, radiators, air conditioning vents will cause the wood to expand and shrink which could result in damaging of the wood finish.
Humidity and wood are not a good match. High humidity causes wood to expand and swell and adversely lower humidity results in the splintering and cracking of the wood. To help with irregular level of humidity, a humidifier in the winter or dehumidifier in the summer is recommended.
To protect from water marks, hot and cold temperature on the wood surface, use coasters, trivets, placemats and hot pads.
Dust regularly about once a week, with a lint-free soft cloth, to avoid sitting dust particles from scratching the wood finish. Do not use any silicone based sprays for this process. If a some dampness is required, use a little bit of water on the cloth.
Touch up… Some wood finishing requires a coat or two to be re-applied about once a year or every 2 years to maintain the effectiveness of its protection layer, as well as its shine. Make sure to not over do it and remember to sand with a very fine grit in between layers’ application.
Stay away from silicone wood products and instead use a Hard Carnauba Wax or a high quality furniture oil to shine the finish on your wood slab. Keep the application very light to avoid build-up, which in turn could attract dust particles.