Wooden furniture is an asset to every home – whether it’s a much-loved antique that’s been in the family for generations, a simple pine desk, an ornate carved masterpiece from Indonesia, a sleek Scandinavian work of art or a chunky outdoor suite. There are so many different types and styles – but all with a common need. A little TLC is what they all need.
Appropriate maintenance and care of wooden furniture will prolong the life of the piece, improve its patina and its look and help maintain the value of the furniture. The styles of furniture may have changed over time, but the formula for caring for wood hasn’t – polishing and buffing. OK, so a little effort is required, but as with all life’s special things, the more you care for them, the more pleasure you’ll get from them.
Many people fall into the trap of believing that a quick dusting and the odd squirt from a shop-bought furniture spray is sufficient. Yes, this will bring a richer look in the short term, but it doesn’t actually change the condition of the wood or provide any protection. Over the long term, sprays can actually do more harm to the furniture than they do good as they may have damaging chemicals in them.
There’s a natural answer for furniture care – and it doesn’t come from a spray. Wax from the Brazilian tree known as the ‘fan’ or the carnauba palm or beeswax are the ‘superfoods’ for wood. A regular wax polish will protect the wood, bring out the lovely patina and shine of the wood and bring it back to life. Another use for wax is to repair and fill tiny cracks and blemishes on wooden pieces.
Wax polish on wooden furniture and for leather care works on the same principle as waxing a car. It provides protection for the wooden surface or leather, it provides a shiny, glowing quality and it repels dust, grit and debris.
Follow this simple guide to caring for leather and wooden furniture :
· Dust the surfaces thoroughly with a soft cloth
· Using a soft lint-free cloth or 0000 grade steel wool, apply natural wax sparingly to small areas at a time using a circular motion or with the grain of the wood.
· Let wax stay on for 10 – 15 minutes
· Use a soft cloth to buff
· Apply at least two coats, buffing with a soft cloth in between
· If furniture is French polished – it can also be buffed with natural wax furniture polish.
· Waxing twice a year is probably adequate, with regular dusting and light buffing in between.
There are many varieties of furniture oil and polishes on the market, but regardless of the wood finishes of your furniture, it’s always recommended to purchase natural products from a reputable supplier or antique dealer. Some wax polishes may contain pigments which will bring out the different colour of the wood. As layers of wax are added, furniture will become increasingly shinier.
Caring for furniture does require a little elbow grease, perseverance and effort – and although it isn’t difficult to do, it is a learned skill. Efforts will pay dividends however, as wooden and leather goods benefit hugely from regular polishes and a good dose of tender loving care –and will endure for generations to come.