How to Care for Reclaimed Wood Furniture September 24 2014 1 Comment
Part of the beauty of reclaimed wood furniture is its evocative lived-in look and mellowed warmth appearance. In its former life – which could be anything from flooring to coal carriage sides - reclaimed wood will inevitably have picked up a few knocks, the odd split and bump along the way.
It all adds to a unique character that can only be acquired with time.
It wears the beauty marks and scars of its former life with pride.
It’s also why reclaimed wood is relatively easy to look after.
Indeed, some believe that the new marks it acquires as a centrepiece of the home only adds to its charm. Those crayon marks left by growing toddlers and the occasional red wine ring from a memorable night are just the next chapter in its life being written on its surface. Why clean them off?
However, if you do prefer to have a table top that just shows off the wood and nothing else, here are some top tips to keep that reclaimed timber looking tip-top.
Be quick off the mark before stains settle in by wiping off any spills with a damp cloth. A set of coasters for cups and placemats will also offer good protection.
Most reclaimed wood furniture will be finished with a coating on its surface, usually wax, varnish or oils to protect and nourish the wood. From time to time it’s worthwhile reapplying another layer to keep building up protection. For example, every few months a paste beeswax or limewax can be applied with a cloth, fine steel wool or soft brush, left to harden, then gently buffed to leave a natural lustre.
After many years service, or if you want to change the appearance of the wood, varnish and wax removers will take off the old finisher. The top can then be sanded with a fine grade paper before a new finish is applied.
Like most furniture, it’s best to try and avoid placing reclaimed wood pieces in direct sunlight or too near radiators. Modern central heating systems can cause problems for wood, new, old or reclaimed, So, too, humidity (indeed, with antique pieces, some experts recommend leaving a glass of water beneath them to give the wood a ‘drink’!). Try to keep humidity in a room at around the 50 to 55 per cent mark.
As well as the odd wipe with a damp cloth to stop any stains forming, lightly cleaning your furniture from time to time will protect it. Use a duster or soft brush to remove any dirt or crumbs.