Proper Care and Maintenance
While you chose the reclaimed wood table as a solid, sturdy, virtually indestructible option for your dining room table it is important to take proper care of this piece of furniture to ensure that it lasts for lifetimes after. Below are some helpful tips to maintain your reclaimed wood table. The right tools and correct types of cleaners can help extend the life your reclaimed wood table so that it may one day be a family heirloom.
Stained vs untreated reclaimed wood tables
In the beginning make the right choice and ensure that your reclaimed wood table is properly finished. A table that is treated will help protect the reclaimed wood against possible spills and stains. There are different options available for treating your reclaimed wood table including varnish, polyurethane and oil.
Shellac varnish has been used on many a wood dining room table since the colonial times. It’s a durable choice which also allows view the wood grain of the table with great clarity. However, shellac does not hold up well to spills and would fare better as a finish for a library table or a reclaimed wood table in an office. If you opt for a shellac finish for a table wipe up any watermarks immediately or use coasters religiously in order to preserve the surface of your table.
Oil-based polyurethane is a durable, super tough finish for wood such that it is used on basketball courts to help prevent dents and scratches while also being water resistant. The downside to a polyurethane coating is while curing indoors toxic aromas are released into the air. In addition, with time the coating may become cloudy and also may turn yellow with increased age.
100% Pure Tung Oil or Danish Oil create a very natural effect on a reclaimed wood surface. Danish oil is what the folks at Saltwoods like to use. Oils require application with a soft cloth and in order for the oil to create a water resistant surface approximately six coats of oil are required. Be warned, if you attempt to finish your reclaimed wood table on your own over-brushed areas on the table will show very easily and may look less professional. However, as stated before flaws only add more character to the reclaimed wood surface.
Invest in a proper wood cleaner
Lots of natural cleaning blogs recommend using a solution of olive oil and white vinegar mixed with water to clean reclaimed wood furniture. The reason being is this cleaning solution is all natural and nontoxic. The white vinegar and oil combination works best on reclaimed wood tables that are untreated. This means that the table has not been brushed with a finishing oil or shellac. If your reclaimed wood table has been sealed/treated use a gentle soap and a soft rag.
Make sure your reclaimed wood table is properly cleaned prior to applying wood cleaner
Reclaimed wood tables are a thing of beauty with their unique composition of cracks, knots and flaws that come with being an old piece of wood. A soft paintbrush is an ideal tool to clean the nooks and crannies that will inevitably have crumbs stuck in them. If the knots and cracks in the table have some stubborn food buildup use an aerosol spray can that they use for computer cleaning. The airbursts are helpful in the removal of the most stubborn crumbs.
Remove food crumbs and liquid spills from your table immediately
Ideally you should remove the crumbles and any liquid spills from your reclaimed wood table as soon as you can. Food crumbs can have oils that may stain the table and liquid spills can create the same threat of staining your reclaimed wood table. Invest in a small, soft-bristled paintbrush or something like it to help keep your table clear of any crumbs that may invade the knots and cracks.
Additional tips for maintaining your reclaimed wood table
You leave the coasters around so people will use them and hopefully leave your reclaimed wood table intact but, inevitably there is always one person who neglects to use a coaster. So now you’ve had it happen, the dreaded watermark on your new-to-you reclaimed wood table. How do you get rid of the watermarks? There are many simple ways to remove watermarks with natural ingredients like salt, water or baking soda. A number of furniture experts recommend non-gel toothpaste to remove watermarks and then using a little furniture polish to buff out the tough spots.
Do not place hot plates on your reclaimed wood table. Putting hot plates and pots on your table will create terrible marks that are very hard to get rid of. Make sure you use trivets or hot pads to protect your table from potential burn marks.
Avoid putting your reclaimed wood table in direct sunlight. You want to prevent your table from drying out and cracking. By removing or keeping your table out of direct sunlight you help prevent warping, discoloration and other potential issues from exposure to intense heat and light. If your reclaimed wood table is intended for the outdoors do your best to keep it in the shady part of the yard or put an umbrella over the table.