ABCs of wooden furniture

Last Updated 23 November 2017, 17:52 IST

A home is an investment and one would like to buy furniture that lasts a long time. Therefore, it becomes important to pick and choose our decor with care. A house needs furniture, but some pieces set the tone of the ambience that we aim to create. With the right kind of knowledge, one can build exceptional pieces in wood. Wood can be cut, joined, bent, moulded, chiselled or carved; its versatility is unmatched.

While picking pieces for the home, one needs to pay attention to a few aspects. The base materials used in the building, the climatic conditions, and the materials of the furniture need to match and blend. Local wood and material generally adapt better to the prevailing climatic conditions. Having said that, well-treated and finished materials do well in most conditions. It becomes important to understand our climatic and habitual needs. For instance, people with back issues should not buy low sofas or beds. While pinewood does beautifully in the mountains, if not treated well, it will not agree with the coastal air.

Customisation is key

Built on given specifications to last a lifetime, quality handmade furniture gives your home a deep sense of authenticity, warmth and character. People are turning to custom furniture to meet their needs and escape the  run of the mill products in every store. There is a growing trend to get back to basics, reviving a thriving market for artisans who have dedicated themselves to perfecting centuries-old craftsmanship.

There is something wonderful about a piece of furniture crafted in wood and finished to perfection. Whether it is the feel of a texture or a weave, the smell or the shape, the grain or the colour, handmade objects speak to us on an inexplicable level, moving us in ways that are profound.

Customised furniture pays attention to detail and an understanding of the client's needs that  large-scale manufacturing cannot match. Bespoke furniture is a personalised expression of a client's needs and a craftsperson's skill. The design depends on the choice of material. While there are unlimited choices available in the market, hardwood has a charm of its own.

Cleaning & maintenance

Wood, as a material, has a mind of its own. It changes shape, colour and size, and it challenges you at every step. Most furniture is built to strict specifications to ensure several years of use. It requires care and maintenance in order to retain its uniqueness and beauty.   Another characteristic of wood is that it is porous. It loses moisture and shrinks when exposed to extremely dry conditions and it absorbs moistures and expands when exposed to humid conditions. Such changes are natural and in no way affect the overall strength and quality of the furniture.

Wood that is untreated is sensitive and requires periodic cleaning. Scrub with water and mild soap, if needed. It is advisable to scrub in the wood's longitudinal direction. Avoid putting objects until the surface is completely dry. While cleaning furniture with lacquered or painted wood surfaces, avoid using solvents or any harsh cleaners. Use a damp cloth to wipe as the surface is usually strong, smooth and to an extent water repellent. The surface of oiled wooden furniture is fatter and more prone to dirt and liquids than other treated surfaces. Periodically, apply a coat or two of the oil provided to you along with your furniture. This will help condition the wood, keeping it looking natural with a matte finish while enhancing and protecting the wood grain.

(The author is principal designer, Knock on Wood)

(Published 23 November 2017, 10:38 IST)

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