The Nature of Solid Wood
and Its Environment
Hard wood trees grow prolifically in the U. S., reaching maturity at about 80 years, at which time they often begin second lives as home furnishings that will be cherished for generations. Hardwoods are characterized by an infinite variety of grains and distinctive textures. As no two trees ever grow exactly the same, so no two pieces of solid wood furniture will look exactly the same. This is true even though the construction and finishing of every piece is identical.
Trees grow limbs that fall off as the tree matures, leaving knots in the wood. These natural markings have absolutely no effect on the wood's durability and stability. With this in mind, our craftsmen strive to bring out the natural beauty and character of the solid wood they use in the construction of each piece they build.
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.
Due to the fact that 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. For example, dining tables may have a small crack between the table halves in the center of the table when the humidity is too high (above 50%), or they may have a small crack between the table halves at the edges when the humidity is too low (below 35%). This is perfectly normal as moisture is absorbed through the end grains of wood more quickly than through the edge grains, causing more movement at the edges of the table than at the center. You may notice these changes more during the changing of seasons, especially if the house is not humidity-controlled. Indoor humidity should be kept between 35%-50% to minimize these effects. A humidity gauge can be purchased at most hardware stores to enable the humidity range to be kept in the proper range. Excessive continued exposure to direct sunlight can cause damage to both the finish and the wood itself.
With proper care your furniture can provide years of pleasure for your family. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your Amish-crafted furniture.
Keep furniture out of continued exposure to direct sunlight.
Keep furniture away from cooling sources and heat sources
such as furnace ducts, radiators, and fireplaces.
Keep humidity between 35%-50% to minimize expansion and
contraction of furniture.
Use coasters, place mats, and trivets with non-scratching
bottoms underneath glasses and serving dishes placed on your
Avoid storing furniture in a basement, attic, or garage (uncontrolled environments) if it is
ever necessary to store it.
Store table leaves in or close to the table to maintain consistent
If unable to store leaves in the table, store leaves horizontally
(in a prone position), not vertically, to avoid warping. ***Please note: If you have a table with four or more leaves and have opted to keep your table fully extended with all the leaves inserted , you must have a support leg(s) to avoid warping. Please advise us if you intend on leaving all the leaves inserted in your table.***
Avoid placing objects that could scratch the wood directly onto your furniture.
Promptly wipe up spills to avoid potential problems.
Dust your furniture often and carefully with a soft cloth to
remove abrasive dust particles.
Periodically clean your furniture using mild non-alkaline soap,
water, and a soft sponge or cloth.
Fingerprints, cooking fumes, smoking residue, etc., will naturally accumulate on any finished surface. None of these contaminants will harm the finish, but they should be periodically removed to restore the finish to its original luster. Just wipe the surface with a cloth dampened with a mild detergent solution or with non-wax containing polish like Guardsman. Most commercially available furniture cleansers contain potentially harmful chemicals that may affect the finish on your hardwood furniture. Avoid the use of ammonia-based products and silicone oils as they are known to damage hardwood furniture finishes.
Solid Wood Amish Furniture Finish
Wood finishes protect furniture. They prevent the real wood from rotting, guard against stains, and can even give a pop of color to the wood and grain pattern. However, not all finishes are created equal. Every piece of Amish Real Wood Furniture is finished with a post-catalyst conversion varnish.
This is the most durable finish available for use on fine hardwoods.
It will resist moisture and damage from common household items, and unlike a less costly lacquer-based product. (Which is softer and more susceptible to moisture damage) a catalyzed conversion varnish will provide durable protection for years. Please keep in mind, this ultra-durable catalyzed conversion varnish requires a 30 day period after home installation, at a temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit, to cure completely. Much as a new car should not be waxed or polished for 30 days after painting, a catalyzed conversion varnish finish needs to be protected for its first 30 days.
A review of the testing done to the Finish used on all of Amish Markets Furniture