Care of Solid Wood Tables
A little effort is required in living with solid wood tables. They won't
behave like plastic or formica. Solid wood tables naturally respond to
changes in temperature and humidity by swelling and shrinking. These natural
responses are not defects and do not affect the strength of the table.
Every effort should be made to keep your solid wood table away from direct
heat sources such as radiators, hot air outlets, wood stoves, and direct
sunlight. Never set tables on top of hot air registers or too close to
baseboards heaters, as this may cause the wood to split.
Although most homes normally maintain adequate humidity, care must be
taken to keep humidity close to 45%. This can be done in the winter by using
a humidifier. Keep in mind that one reason so many 200-year old
antiques have survived is that they were in homes without central heating
for the first 175 years. Extremes in temperature and humidity can wreak
havoc on solid wood tables.
By followings these guidelines you can ensure that the hand-crafted table
you purchase today will become tomorrow's treasured hairloom!
If cared for properly
your solid hardwood table can give you a lifetime of service and beauty.
Here are several care tips that will enhance your solid hardwood table
- Place your table away from radiators,
fireplaces, and heating ducts.
- Position table out of direct sunlight or
adjust blinds to avoid hour after hour of direct sunlight.
- Control humidity to 40%-45%. In winter
use a humidifier, in summer use a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
- Use coasters with non-scratching
- Use padding under all sharp, hot,
or cold objects.
- Store table leaves in close proximity to
table or in the same humidity, avoid storing leaves in damp
basements where the leaves may swell.
- Avoid using nail polish remover,
alcohol, and other solvents near or on table.
- Ask you retailer about
manufacturer-provided finishes that resist damage from harmful liquids and
Routine Cleaning and Care
CAREFULLY with a soft cloth,
following the grain pattern of the wood. Use an old T-shirt, baby diaper or
cheesecloth that has been laundered to remove the sizing.
DUST OFTEN to remove everyday abrasive particles from wood
CONSIDER CLEANING with mild non-alkaline soap and water. Use
the suds in a damp sponge or cloth, but be sure to pre-test the solution on
an out-of-sight section to make sure it doesn't damage the finish. Dry
immediately with a soft cloth and buff lightly, following the grain.
DON'T WAX or use any polish that contains any silicones!
Catalyzed heat and moisture resistant finishes don't need additional polish,
but if you want to use a polish we recommend "Guardsman Furniture Polish."
Table First Aid
Here are some common problems and
ways for you to correct them. With all of these solutions try a small area
first to assure that the remedy doesn't damage the finish.
- WATER MARK RINGS,
Rings are often in the wax, not the finish. Cover the stain with a clean,
thick blotter, press down with a warm iron, and repeat. Or try rubbing
with salad oil, mayonnaise, or white toothpaste. Then wipe dry.
- WHITE MARKS,
Rub with cloth dipped in a mixture of cigarette ashes and lemon juice or
salad oil. Or rub with a cloth dipped in lighter fluid, followed by a
mixture of rottenstone and salad oil. Wipe dry.
- MILK ALCOHOL,
Rub in a paste of boiled linseed oil and rottenstone with the grain,
substituting pumice for dull finishes. Or rub with ammonia on a dampened
cloth. Then wipe dry.
- CIGARETTE BURNS,
Minor burns can be remedied by rubbing with scratch-concealing polish or
with a paste of linseed oil and rottenstone, working with the grain until
the burn mark disappears.
- HEAT MARKS,
Rub gently along the grain using a dry steel wool soap pad, extra-fine
(0000) steel wool, or a cloth dampened with camphorated oil mineral
- NAIL POLISH,
Blot the spill immediately, then rub with fine steel wool (0) dipped in
"Guardsman Furniture Polish." Wipe dry.
- PAINT MARKS,
If fresh, remove latex paint with water and oil-based paint with mineral
spirits. If dry, soak spot in boiled linseed oil, wait until paint
softens, then lift carefully with a putty knife or wipe with cloth
dampened with boiled linseed oil. Residue can be removed by rubbing along
the grain with a paste of boiled linseed oil and rottenstone. Wipe dry.
- STICKING PAPER,
Dampen the paper thoroughly with salad oil, wait five minutes and rub
along the grain with extra-fine (0000) steel wool. Wipe dry.
- WAX OR GUM,
Harden the substance by holding an ice cube wrapped in cloth against it.
Pry off with a fingernail. Rub the area with extra-fine (0000) steel wool
dipped in mineral spirits. Wipe dry.