Oak is where it started for us – the clue is in the name, after all. It’s a hardwood that has been used to make furniture for hundreds of years, and as a hardwood, it will last for a lifetime if you take some simple steps to care for it. Here are some tips about how to keep oak in good condition, so you can enjoy the beauty of natural and rustic oak furniture at its best.
How to care for oak furniture
Make sure you buy good quality, kiln dried oak furniture to start with, then the care and attention you give it will not be wasted. When it first arrives in your home, help the oak adjust to its new environment by treating it with a wax polish.
How to wax oak furniture
You’ll need to wax your furniture at least every six months, to nourish the wood and form a lasting seal for your furniture. This may sound daunting, but it’s worth it, to help your furniture really last a lifetime. Waxing protects the grain, and makes the wood crack resistant, keeping any finish in the best condition.
It’s a good idea to test the wax you’re going to use on a part of the furniture not in plain sight, like underneath the table, just to check you’re happy with the finish. If you’re happy, apply the wax to the rest of the piece in the same direction as the wood grain. Leave it for five minutes, then remove the wax by buffing, again following the direction of the grain. It’s a simple process that doesn’t take that long.
How to clean oak furniture
The wax will form a protective layer on the oak, so for everyday cleaning, just wipe the surface down with a clean, damp cloth, or use cleaning products specifically designed for hardwood. For concentrated spills that might stain, blot the liquid with a clean, soft and slightly damp cloth. If you discover a set in stain that you haven’t noticed before, it’s best to contact a professional furniture restorer.
Keeping oak happy
Have a think about where your furniture is going to live in your home. Wood is a natural material, and it doesn’t like extremes of heat and cold – it won’t thrive in air conditioned rooms or conservatories. Direct sunlight may fade the finish, and heat from radiators will dry your furniture out. And unless your furniture has been designed for the garden, don’t leave your furniture outside.
It’s a good idea to keep a gap between the wall and the back of your furniture, about 25mm. This lets air flow through, keeping the temperature stable and prolonging the life of your oak. And if you have wooden floors, place protective felt under your furniture’s feet – this protects both the furniture and floor.
Oak furniture will get more beautiful with age, developing a patina over time. This beautiful hardwood will age with you. Furniture in your home is an integral part of your everyday life. Memories are made at the dining table, sideboards hold more than board games or crockery, and dressers can be the hub of family life, proudly displaying favourite china and children’s artwork, while keeping order in the storage base. Choose the best oak furniture and look after the finish to make a solid base for your home life over the years.
Tell us why you love oak furniture. Are there any special pieces of oak furniture in your home that have a story? We’d love to hear about them – or even better, we’d love to see pictures. Tweet us @OFLOakFurniture, or tag us in your Instagram snaps with #OakFurnitureland.