Solid versus Veneer
It is important to understand that solid wood is continually ‘alive’ and ‘moving’. Slabs of solid wood are not ‘dead’ objects like veneer. Veneer is a thin decorative covering of fine wood applied to a coarser wood or other material usually particles of wood embedded in plastic. Veneers have a wood surface that is only 1/28 to 1/40 of an inch thick or less. Unless they are treated with care, their surface can be destroyed. Solid slab furniture is far less fragile than furniture created from veneer and can be refinished numerous times should it be required.
Green or Toxic Finish
The fragility of veneer demands that a thick, heavy, often toxic ‘protective’ coating be applied to the surface. No weathering or improvement with age is possible with this ‘plastic’ finish. If this surface begins to deteriorate, it must be refinished. At All Custom Carpentry, our solid slabs are finished with a ‘green’ penetrating oil finish. This allows the wood to be the surface. Because slabs of wood are ‘alive’, some considerations must be given to their characteristics and therefore their care.
In our production process, we dry our wood to approximately 8% moisture content prior to construction unless specified otherwise. This helps to stabilize the wood and will prevent extreme warping and splitting. With seasonal changes in temperature and humidity, wood will gain and loose moisture. This will cause the wood to minimally expand and contract. The larger the swings in humidity, the larger the expansion and contraction. It is natural for solid wood to develop small cracks and move a bit during years of use. A solid table may develop small surface cracks and cracks on the ends. This is normal for organic material. It is an unavoidable fact of nature that wood will move throughout the seasons. Cracking, imperfections, warping and irregularities are part of the natural charm of owning a organic piece of solid slab furniture.
Solid Wood Care
To avoid excessive warping and cracking of solid wood furniture maintain a cool environment (72 degrees) with a relative humidity of approximately 35-50%. Change thermostat settings gradually as seasons change. Sudden changes in temperature or humidity will cause a solid slab table to move and crack as moisture is either removed or added to the wood too quickly which causes tension.
While our wood has been finished with a highly durable oil finish, it can be scratched, dented and stained. Solid wood furniture will develop a patina over many years of use. Furniture that has been created from solid wood can be refinished many times should it become badly damaged.
Do not leave liquids on solid wood furniture for extended periods. Surfaces should be cleaned with a soft cloth and water after use. The use of any cleaning chemical will strip the oil from the surface and will make the wood more prone to staining.
Things to Know About Caring for Wood Furniture
Toronto, GTA -Durham - Muskoka
Care of solid slab wood furniture requires minimal effort. Below you will find some simple guidelines that will keep your tables looking great for years to come.