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Hardwood Furniture Finish Care Instructions

The durability and lasting beauty of the finishes on our American hardwood furniture comes from using the best preparation methods and finishing materials to provide lasting, beautiful results that resist many typical household spills and living conditions. 

OCS Finishes producer Woodright (one of several companies producing OCS finishes for the Amish furniture makers in the USA) offers some helpful information:

Curing & Durability: When you receive your furniture the finish is 80% cured. This is similar to cement, it is hard, protective, and ready to use right away, however, it takes and additional 3—4 weeks for the final natural hardening of the surface. For the first 3—4 weeks in your home avoid heat and moisture to the surface.

Humidity: There will be natural movement of the wood. Example, a table top will show a small gap at certain times of the year, then it will close back up. This is a natural product, it is not plastic.

Abrasion & Scratching: Catalyzed varnish is tough, but not bulletproof. There will be scratches and dents along the way if you use your furniture, but there are ways to avoid this. Do not slide items across furniture, make sure to lift and move. Sliding dishes or cups that have a rough bottom will scratch the surface. Make sure you put soft, protective pads underneath vases and decorative items. Keep your furniture free of dust. Dust particles, while small, can be abrasive. Remember, this is a durable varnish, but even the toughest automobile finish will scratch with abrasion.

Spills & Water Rings: Blot up spills immediately. The surface finish provides a tight web of protection that makes most spills that would ruin a normal lacquer finish not a problem. However, moisture for an extended period of time can cause slight discoloration that, with time, will, in most cases disappear. Try to avoid this by blotting up any spills as soon as they happen.

Extreme Heat:  Avoid placing extremely hot items on the surface, especially in the first 3—4 weeks in your home. At anytime you should never take anything directly out of a microwave or oven and put directly on your furniture. The average heat out of a microwave is 211°F. Catalyzed varnish is tested to withstand temperatures up to140°F.

Natural Darkening: Especially so with a natural or light color. Make sure to rotate place mats and accessories to prevent uneven aging when exposed to natural sunlight. Remember to rotate table leaves, as well. Table leaves that are always stored away from sunlight will not age the same as the rest of your table

Cleaning & Polishing: Care for your heirloom quality furniture with Heirloom Essentials® Fine Furniture Polish & Spotless Cleanser. It is formulated, specifically, to maintain the beauty and luster of furniture that has been finished with catalyzed varnish, but works on all finishes and wood species. Clean your furniture regularly with H.E. Spotless Furniture & Glass Cleanser to remove dust, fingerprints, grease and food residue. Spotless can be used on wood, glass, vinyl and many other hard surfaces. Polish once a week, or as often as you’d like with H.E. Fine Furniture Polish to maintain the rich luster of your furniture. Available in a wide variety of fragrances.  (Nota Bene: We do not feel it is necessary to use anything but a damp clean cloth to wipe down the furniture finishes, or something as simple and effective as natural bees wax polish on the rare occasion that you may want to buff the table to a soft sheen. We do sell beeswax furniture polish by the can in our store.)

PRODUCTS TO AVOID: Please do not clean or polish your wood furniture, cabinetry or flooring with products containing silicone, wax or ammonia. These additives will damage varnish, with repeated use. Wax buildup on varnished wood will react to moisture, heat and solvents causing hazing or blushing that would not typically occur on a clean surface. (Above, we recommend rare, occasional use as hardwood finishes we use all celan up nicely with a damp cloth only.) Silicone will prevent varnished wood from ever being refinished in the future. Ammonia will soften any finish, with repeated use, making it soft and sticky.