The Nature of Hardwood and It’s Environment
Need to know more about hardwood furniture? All hardwood has a variation in its color and grain. Trees, like humans, have their own “fingerprints” in the grain of their wood. No two trees, and as such, no two pieces of wood are identical, well, at least the one’s nature made. These wood characteristics give each piece of solid wood furniture its charm and although finishing processes are identical, no two pieces will be exactly the same, which adds to the uniqueness and beauty of each piece of our hand crafted furniture.
When a board is cut from a tree, it exposes the grain in the wood that becomes the beauty marks of each piece of furniture. However, because most hardwoods are open grained, solid wood furniture will expand and contract with changes in humidity and temperature, even after protective finishes have been applied to “seal” the wood. It’s more of a protective coating that can help in beautification, but does not prevent the wood from reacting to changes in environment. Knowing that, special care in controlling the furniture’s environment will help minimize the minor cracking and warping that is a natural part of the wood’s character.
Indoor humidity should be kept in the 35 to 40% range to minize these affects. If the humidity moves out of that ideal range, solid wood pieces can expand or contract causing a split in the wood grains of the nice furniture. Keeping your thermostat fairly consistent will help in preventing these huge swings in temperature.
Additionally, direct sunlight and fluorescent fixtures that contain ultra-violet rays can cause chemical changes in the wood and wood finishes and should be avoided if possible. Furniture should also be kept away from direct sources of heating and cooling and out of attic or basement storing environments. Be careful not to sit a piece of wood right on top of a floor register. If it can’t be helped, make sure to purchase one of those plastic, magnetic air re-direction units to guide the air from beneath the piece, instead of blowing directly into the piece.
With proper care, solid wood furniture will provide a lifetime of enjoyment and can be passed on to future generations.