YOUR English Living table is hand built, hand finished and designed to give you a lifetime of faithful service. Here are a few hints which will help you maintain and protect your table for a long life.
HEAT & LIQUIDS
Firstly, as with any solid wood table, remember your table finish has two enemies: Heat and Liquids. HEAT is pretty uncompromising as regards the finish of any quality wood surface so avoid bringing hot dishes or utensils into contact with an unprotected surface. That would include hot liquids or soups. Remember: even your cup of tea or coffee can be close to boiling point temperature! Protect your table surface by using heat resistant place mats or coasters. Decorative place settings look attractive, but make sure they are heat resistant. We have had some customers calling in who have found fabric place mats bonding to the table surface when used for very hot dishes.
LIQUIDS are not so hazardous, but again: your best protection is to keep liquids separated from the table top by means of coasters or place mats. Mop up any spills with a kitchen towel and remember, Mister Frodo, that if you do not want ring marks, try not to leave wet glasses on the table top for long periods of time.
INTERNAL WEATHER CONDITIONS
The inside of your home is a mini climate zone with temperature, moisture and humidity all being factors according to your comfort level. Remember, however, that wood is organic, which means part of its mass is made up of water. Placing a table too close to a stove or wood-burning fire can dry that moisture out. Extremely low humidity levels can also cause the same effect. NOAA reported this winter that the excessive low temperatures coupled with the dry winter air caused levels of humidity within homes to fall as low as 3%. Whilst all wood used in construction of tables is kiln dried, anything from between 12-15% of the wood is still water. When the air surrounding your table gets drier than your table, it will suck the moisture right out of it. That will cause the wood to shrink and possibly crack or split. This is not a design or construction flaw, simply the result of living with solid wood furniture. We guarantee our furniture for its first year, which is usually when anything like this will occur. Once past your first year, the table will have adjusted to its new climate. Namely, your home.
Our furniture is all built to adjust to such extremes, but occasionally atmospheric conditions can find their way around even the best built furniture. If that happens, don’t hesitate to call us, especially in the first year, although we won’t leave you stranded if such things occur beyond the warranty period. To help minimize risk of shrinkage, keep your house humidified and your furniture away from direct heat sources.
PINE, CHERRY & OAK
Our solid wood English built tables fall into two categories, each having specific requirements according to the difference in finishes and wood types.
FARMHOUSE TABLES (old pine) are usually wax finished and the character of the table is meant to show normal family wear – scuffs, scratches, even ring marks. The old pine simply looks more like an authentic antique the more time goes on! If you wish to preserve the showroom shine and finish however, remember the helpful hints above and give the table top a fresh wax polish periodically. Apply the wax with a 0000 steel wool pad and rub gently with the grain until the shine shows through. You can then finish buffing with a cotton cloth (an old T-shirt is perfect but watch out for buttons and zippers et al as they will scratch!)
CHERRY & OAK TABLES are finished in a mixture of French polish and lacquers and whilst initially more resistant to liquids and even heat, they are more difficult to repair. Again, they are pre-distressed and antiqued so don’t be too anxious about scuffs and scratches which will often simply blend into the character of the table. Clean the top after meals with a dry cloth, and if sticky marks or cloudiness become a problem, clean with Guardsman or similar wax-free spray polish, but spray the polish onto the cloth, not the table top, and then apply to the table surface, again rubbing gently until the shine comes through.
Periodically – perhaps once or twice a year – if the table surface begins to dull significantly, you can rewax it using the same method as described above for the pine tables.