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Rustic Furniture FAQ's

What is the difference between the construction of the various brands you carry?

Rustic Furniture In A Nutshell showcases heirloom furniture made by some of the USA and Canada’s finest furniture makers. We presently offer several rustic furniture options and will be adding more lines as we continue to grow. All of the furniture brands we offer are solidly constructed and guaranteed by the individual companies….many for life. Each company workshop, however, does have their time-tested construction and finishing methods and preferences which are explained on the individual product pages.

Is my furniture made of solid hardwood?

Every brand we carry has specialty woods and materials from their respective areas used in their furniture construction. Montana Woodworks features cedar and pine from Montana, Moon Valley Rustic proudly purchases its raw wood materials exclusively in the United States. All of their white cedar is from their home state of Michigan. Their Ponderosa pine is from the western U.S. and their aromatic red cedar comes from the southern Ohio and Kentucky areas. Wood Country features Western Red Cedar from Idaho, Around The Bend gathers their willow from the wetlands in Ohio and GroovyStuff features reclaimed teak gathered from all around the world.

What effect do natural markings have on my furniture?

Natural markings should not be viewed as flaws. They have absolutely no effect on your furniture’s durability or structural soundness and integrity. Mineral deposits and other characteristics are much like the nubs you find in such fine fabrics as silk and linen; they are true indications of genuine quality.

What kind of finish does my furniture have?

The product description for each piece of furniture includes the type of finish or finish options you many choose from. Outdoor furniture typically will be available with an outdoor stain and or varnish option and indoor furniture an indoor stain and or indoor varnish. Most furniture has a clear, non-toxic lacquered finish which is very durable and easily maintained.

How do I maintain the finish?

Every company includes easy-furniture-care instructions with your furniture or you may find their recommended furniture care tips on their website. Be sure to keep these instructions handy and follow them consistently throughout the life of your furniture.

What should I use for wood care?

Although it is not necessary, for indoor furniture you may use commercial polishing products on your furniture. Use the same type of polish consistently. Your furniture finish may appear cloudy or streaky if oil-based and wax-based polishes are interchanged. Products containing silicone oil are not recommended because oil can seep through cracks in the finish into the wood and can ruin a new finish later. NOTE: Avoid products containing ammonia as they will harm your finish.
Proper maintenance of your wood patio furniture will ensure longevity through years of exposure to the elements. Teak is perhaps the most desirable and, arguably, the most expensive outdoor wood furniture available. Teak is a beautiful, honey-colored, dense, tropical hardwood that is resistant to insect infestation and contains natural oils which make it resistant to rot and decay. While cleaning teak is not necessary, it is not a bad idea to clean outdoor teak furniture each year to remove any buildup of pollen, sap, or mildew. Follow each cleaning with a coat of teak oil (optional) if you wish to keep the wood its original honey color.

Other tropical hardwoods, like Eucalyptus, have become increasingly popular as the price of teak has grown prohibitive for many homeowners. Eucalyptus wood, like teak, is beautiful, dense, durable, and resistant to rot and insect infestation. The rapid growth of eucalyptus trees makes them more readily available and more easily affordable. Like outdoor teak furniture, outdoor eucalyptus furniture can be treated with teak oil following an annual cleaning to help preserve the wood's natural color.
Other popular choices for outdoor wooden furniture include cedar, redwood, oak, and pine. These woods, though (especially pine), must be treated with a preservative to prevent decay, which can occur quickly depending on weather conditions. Protecting this wood furniture with a water-resistant stain, protective oil, or polyurethane is also recommended. Your local hardware store will have many options from which to choose. Furniture should be cleaned annually, and the protectant you choose will need to be reapplied regularly (check manufacturer's instructions for details).

What can I do to prevent damage to my furniture?

• Always use a coaster and/or hot mat, even though the finish is water and heat resistant.
• Placing hot items on furniture can cause a chemical change in the finish that results in white rings or spots.
• Do not place anything with rubber bases or feet on the finish, as the rubber may have a chemical reaction with the finish.
• Lift, don't slide, objects on wood. Place objects on trivets, tablecloths, doilies or others covers to protect the finish.
• Use felt bottoms on trivets, lamps and other decorative objects. Avoid brightly colored felt because its color could leach into the wood. Some experts say brown is the best color choice.
• Keep solvents such as nail polish remover, alcohol and paint thinner away from wood furniture because they can harm the finish. Alcohol is contained in colognes, perfumes and medications as well as wine, beer and liquor.
• Fingerprints, perspiration and body oils can harm a finish over time, especially on chairs.
• Plants and flower nectar that touch the finish can cause permanent stains.
• Do not leave plastic objects lying on wood surfaces. Color from plastic tablecloths, appliance covers, wrappers, place mats and toys can leach into wood over time. Plastic can also stick to a finish, damaging it when it is pulled up.
• Writing on the finished surface often causes indentations to the finish and wood.

Do I need to use any special techniques when moving my furniture?

Lift heavy furniture with the help of at least two people- one or more at each end. Never slide tables, chairs, beds, dressers or other furniture along the floor. Sliding pieces could hurt your wood floor and damage furniture legs by applying too much sideways pressure.

Does humidity affect my furniture?
• Wood is very sensitive to changes in relative humidity.
• As the weather changes, furniture is constantly expanding and contracting.
• Although many brand designs and joinery accommodate for the expansion and contraction of solid wood as the humidity changes, wood does best in moderate conditions of around 70ºF to 72ºF and relative humidity of about 50-55%.
• The use of humidifiers in your home is recommended to maintain the appropriate humidity level for your solid wood furniture.
• Wood is most likely to crack when the climate in a home suddenly changes from hot and humid to cool and dry. Companies typically do not cover this type of cracking in their warranties.
• Avoid placing furniture in front of radiators, heat runs or fireplaces.
• Store table leaves as close as possible to the table so they adjust to the same humidity conditions.

Will sunlight affect my furniture?

• Avoiding bright or direct sunlight will not only keep your indoor furniture from drying out but will also help prevent discoloration.
• It is advisable to avoid spots, by not leaving items in one place on the surface for long periods of time.
• Outdoor furniture should be finished periodically with a UV protectant finish to avoid the damaging effects of sunlight.

What if I need to place my furniture in storage?

• You should use extreme caution when storing solid wood furniture for any length of time, even when it's stored in a "climate-controlled" facility.
• Extreme variations in temperature and humidity can harm the wood and the finish, in some cases causing irreparable damage.
• If your furniture is damaged due to these circumstances, it will not be covered under your warranty.

How do I measure for my furniture?

• Once you’ve selected your furniture, it’s important to ensure it can fit through all the entryways, elevators and stairways of your home.
• Prior to ordering, be sure to determine whether your new furniture will fit into your space.
• Plan your layout, noting the position of windows, doors, light fixtures, heating vents and electrical outlets.
• Measure height and width of all the doorways, both inside and out, through which your furniture will need to pass.
• Don’t forget to note the dimensions of interior hallways and the presence of fixtures, banisters or interior walls that could limit entryway clearance or be obstacles to movement.
• Measure your furniture’s height, depth and width, along with diagonal dimension.
• Compare residence and furniture dimensions to ensure your furniture will fit through all doorways.

Is cedar a good wood for outdoor furniture?

Western Red Cedar is one of the best woods available to make anything for outdoors as it is naturally decay & insect-resistant. This wood is used to build houses, decks, roofs, etc. It is native to the Pacific Northwest, so it is a product of a wet climate and will withstand a lot of moisture. However, it is also very good in a dry climate, but will require some sort of UV protection and is best to keep a weather stain applied in this type of climate. Kiln dried cedar, is the very best because it will not shrink or warp!

Do I need to refinish my outdoor cedar furniture?

This is not a cut and dry question like most people would expect. There are many variables that can affect your decision. Is your furniture in the direct sunlight? Do you store it in the winter? Are you in a wet or dry climate? Many customers choose to let their cedar furniture weather to a silver gray and they love it! Others want to maintain the golden color of cedar. The direct sun and constant exposure to weather conditions changes the surface color, but should not affect the structural integrity of the furniture. If you prefer the golden color of cedar, you will probably want to periodically refinish your furniture by applying a weather protectant finish. If your furniture is not exposed to a lot of rain and it is stored in the winter, you may not have to ever or rarely refinish. On the flip side, if your furniture is out year round and you want to maintain that natural golden color of wood, then you will definitely want to clean and reapply a weather protectant. It really is all a matter of personal preference!

Do I need to store my outdoor furniture in the winter?

It is always best if you can put the furniture away in the garage or shed for the winter, to prolong the aging process. If you do not have a place to store the furniture and you would like to cover it, remember to make sure your outdoor furniture is dry before you cover it! Plastic tarps often promote mold growth or may leak.

Is it okay to power wash my outdoor wood furniture?

Using a pressure washer is not recommended for cleaning wood furniture. The added pressure will open even the smallest cracks in the wood allowing water to penetrate causing the cracks to expand. Simply hand wash your outdoor furniture with a mild soap and water solution, rinse and allow the wood to dry well after it's clean.

What is a draw knife?

A draw knife is a very old tool. It was originally used in both furniture and home building. Today, it is a log furniture maker's tool, which is pulled towards the operator to produce a smooth wood surface with that hand hewn appearance. Draw knifing adds a rustic look to drawer fronts, dresser/chest tops and log moldings. This process is what makes many pieces of log furniture original and one of a kind.

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