Benefits of using old wood/reclaimed wood furniture from an ecological perspective:

Over the last decade or so reclaimed wood/old wood furniture has become a hot trend when it comes to choice of interior design material. Simply put, reclaimed wood or old wood is any wood taken from an old wooden floors, houses, or pieces of furniture, that is then refurbished into naturally distressed flooring, sculptures, furniture and home building materials. Reclaimed wood has many benefits.

 

Highly valued :

Many types of wood today can no longer be found naturally to make furniture. The American Chestnut tree is one such example. It was wiped out by blight, and only buildings that were made from it survive. Furniture made from reclaimed wood of this nature is highly valued as it preserves in its genetic coding a type of tree that no longer exists. Reclaiming American Chestnut wood gives ecologists a rare opportunity to study a vanished species. This is true of some other woods as well and not just science is effected. History gets reused and re-recorded, and future generations will be able to examine reclaimed wood for the story it provides.

 

Ecological Benefits :

Most importantly to note, are the ecological benefits of reclaimed wood furniture. Rather than complete restoration of broken old pieces of wood furniture, which would be costly to the environment because of the chemicals used in the restoration process, the reclaimed wood that still has some strength left to it is fashioned into a “new” piece of furniture. Another ecological benefit of reclaimed wood furniture is the wood that’s taken from old pieces of furniture that have been abandoned/discarded and are no longer of use and reusing wood that would end up in a dump or landfill to rot over time. Making reclaimed furniture this way helps ensure that less waste takes up space and any paint or other chemicals on that wood doesn’t get into the watershed and into our bodies through the groundwater and our water system. Additional ecological benefits of reclaimed wood furniture means that more trees stay in the wild providing homes for animals and keeping the air fresh and breathable, as well as preventing landslides and mudslides. Trees don’t need to be harvested for reclaimed wood furniture; they were harvested years ago and we just reuse that wood for another purpose. More trees never need be planted to replace trees that were never harvested when reclaimed wood is recycled for furniture and homes and art. Less money, less gas used to build, less fumes to pollute the air, less smog, and less of so much more that would damage the ecology of the world benefits from reclaimed wood and reclaimed wood furniture. No matter how you cut it (and shape it!) reclaimed wood furniture is all around better for the environment.

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How to clean and care for antique wood furniture :

Wood is a porous, natural material comprised of natural fibres that can bend, stretch and breathe. The older wood becomes, the more these pores and fibres loosen, allowing for more opportunity for moisture and dirt to seep into its surfaces. When it comes to antique wood furniture, it is absolutely essential to minimize the damaging effects caused by dirt particles and moisture.

Depending on the type of finish of the wood (placed above the top layer of the wood, to stain or seal the wood), the piece of antique furniture may still soak up any used product or moisture coming in contact with the surface.

This is one of the main reasons why antique dealers will always suggest to using an oil-based solution instead of wax.

Wax can actually seal dirt into the wood while an oil-based solution helps in loosening the dirt and in bringing it to the surface for removal.

There are three basic points to run you through that will have you well on your way towards caring for your antique piece of furniture.

 

1. Removing the effect of moisture :

Once moisture enters the wood, not only does it weaken the fibres of the wood by softening them, it can also leave white spots on the surface of your furniture which tend to be unsightly. Depending on the severity of the damage these marks may be removed.

To do so begin by placing a heavy piece of office-grade ink blotting paper available at any stationery store over the affected area. Iron on a low heat over the affected area. This

will cause the excess moisture to be drawn into the blotting paper.

 

2. Removal of dirt :

 

Let’s begin by saying, nobody likes dirt.

Furniture that has been stored for many years will more often than not have lots of dirt and grime both on and within its surfaces. Removal of the dirt without scratching the delicate, aged wood is the secret here. A vacuum cleaner without any attachments on the hose can be used along with a paintbrush to take off large pieces of dirt without causing any damage.

After the first step you should apply a layer of furniture oil. Be generous in doing so. Apply evenly over all parts. Allow it to sit on the furniture for a while. Make sure when you apply the oil you do so in the same direction as the grain on the wood with the help of a soft paintbrush, once again to avoid damaging the furniture.

After a while, preferably overnight, use a clean old sock on your hand and gently massage the extra oil along the grain of the wood. Using a sock allows you to cover all areas well, including curved and carved areas.

Lastly use an old discarded t-shirt to remove all excess oil and grime. The process is time consuming but the results are positive. Just remember not to be in any sort of a rush when you do so. Pay attention to all the affected areas.

 

3. Removal of odor :

To remove any odor from wooden drawers or cabinets, traditional methods are best stuck to. Use a mix of coffee

grounds and rice solution. (sprinkle dry coffee grounds in the drawers and cabinets, after a while do the same with rice ) Let the mixture sit for about a week or so. Later just vacuum it all off.

Depending upon the strength of the smell, the process may need to be repeated. Stubborn odors such as tobacco or mildew, may need the use of lemon oil or orange oil on a regular basis but heck if it works its worth the time and effort.

Creating The Perfect Outdoor Dining Experience

Summer is right around the corner (faster in some parts of the nation) and the time is nigh to begin planning for entertainment purposes outside on those late summer evenings when the weather is nice and cool. An outdoor dining area is the perfect place to host a small dinner party. If carried out perfectly you could be the toast of the town among your group of friends, which is what we are trying to achieve here. If you are interested in setting up the perfect outdoor dining experience, here are some pointers that will help you along your way to doing so.

 

1.  Make sure your furniture is well protected :

Most of us live in a part of the country where we have to deal with different types of weather. From a sudden searing hot day to an unforeseen relief shower, the weather is most unpredictable. Whatever it may be providing cover to your furniture is the best solution. Not only will it protect your furniture but also provide you with the opportunity to dine out throughout the year.

Provide for drapes as they not only add an extra layer of protection but also soften the structure on the eyes.

2. Provide adequate artificial lighting :

A light source near or above the dining area allows for the opportunity for an enjoyable soiree past sundown. Attractive options such as chandeliers are also easy on the eyes while also making your space more usable  as the early evening turns into night.

 

 

3. Selecting the perfect spot :

You need not necessarily have a large garden. It might take a little bit of thought and rearrangement, but there is always someplace available to create your perfect little dining area. It could be anywhere, from right in the middle to the back under a tree, the choice is yours as long as you get it right and set the mood for the occasion.

 

4. Consider your outdoor dining experience as a destination spot :

Your dining area sits in a park-like setting surrounded by bushes, trees and probably a pool. By placing it away from your home itself, it becomes a destination spot for guests. It creates the perfect atmosphere for people to just hang out.

 

5. Make your outdoor dining experience an extension of your home :

The outdoor dining area is the perfect opportunity to incorporate personal taste and style with furniture and accessories of your choice. Look for opportunities to incorporate art.

 

6. Provide for a heat source on colder days :

You will be able to provide for shade naturally on hot days if you have planned your setting well. It’s providing for cooler days that is important. A small fire pit or an artificial source that blends with the surrounding is the perfect solution to this. It gives you the opportunity to host cook-outs and barbeques.

 

7. Be bold, be brave :

There is no need to necessarily have a wooden dining table. Go for something different. Probably a stone based table with old rustic metallic furniture. The choice are boundless and add to the natural flow while being easy on the eye. Adding a fully stocked bar never hurts either.

 

After reading and employing the above stated points you should pretty much be on your way to setting up the perfect outdoor dining area. Remember : it is an extension of your home, an extension of you.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor wooden furniture for your patios, backyards, balconies and terraces are an addition that look classy and last long. Wooden furniture, however, can be easily damaged in harsh weather. As such you should take precautions and prepare your outdoor wooden furniture for specific weather conditions you may deal with. The major points to consider are :

Location :
One of the most important aspect to consider when it comes to protecting your furniture is to know what kind of weather it is your dealing with. Someone who lives in a place like Delhi will not necessarily need a water sealant, but should rather consider painting their furniture to protect it from the heat of the sun. A person living in Pune, however, may want to consider water sealant. People specific to the area know their weather best and as such should be sure to acquire the furniture protection they may actually need.

Paint :
To have the best protection against natural elements, you should use paint on your wooden furniture outdoors. Although this will lead to losing the natural look of the wood the provision of paint will give the best protection to your furniture. Paint protects wooden furniture by reflecting the UV radiation from the sun. It will help protect the wood underneath the layer of paint saving it from problems like rot. For such cases choose latex paint over oil-based paints as they tend to last longer. Depending on the piece of furniture and the weather conditions you should keep reapplying paint from time to time.

Water Sealers :
If you happen to live in a region prevalent with rainy weather, or if you feel you need to keep your outdoor wooden furniture well protected, you should take a look into applying a water sealant to your furniture. A water sealant not only provides a beautiful look to the wood but also keeps the furniture well protected. A water sealant not only protects your piece of furniture from liquids on the outside, but also allows for liquids within to evaporate thus helping to avoid splitting, rotting, and warping.

Varnish :
Another technique to protect your outdoor wooden furniture is varnish. The most tried and tested technique among Indian furniture owners, you can acquire varnish from your local home store. There are a variety of options available, so be sure to acquire a viable option. Just like in the case of a water sealant, this will help to maintain the look of the wood although it does not protect as well as paint. Also be sure to apply a coating every now and then.

Covers :
Patio covers will offer physical protection to your furniture from not only the weather but also other forms of harm. Make sure you have your measurements right for each specific piece of furniture.

Placement :
Where you decide to locate your furniture on will also affect how much damage the piece of furniture will garner over time. At the edges of the patio or balcony furniture will take a heavier beating from the sun and rain, which will have easier access to it. When you foresee a storm coming or on a hot and sunny day, be sure to pull your piece of furniture towards the interior. Precaution is the best cure.

10 Reasons to be Inclined Towards Wooden Furniture

With advancements in technology and industry alternatives to wooden furniture are available in plenty. This brings us to the question….why buy wooden furniture? For a start wooden furniture is a favourite among most people looking to find that perfect piece of furniture for their space, be it home the office, well whatever it may be. The feeling of having a little bit of the outdoor feel indoors is irresistible to most. This has led to trends such as designer furniture, not without cause, all of which shall be explained in brief and as aptly as possible. So here are some of the reasons why you should probably opt for a piece of wooden furniture the next time your looking for something to fill in those empty gaps.

1. Wooden Furniture Gives A Natural Look :
Wood in general is beautiful to look at : the patterns and lines running across in sync with each other. They tend to be appealing to the eye. Natural beauty, RARE! The finish to a piece of wooden furniture is always carried out with the beauty of the piece in mind.

2. Wooden Furniture is Easy to Look After :
Good quality wooden furniture that has been well made is usually durable making it a pleasant benefit for the owner. It can be kept both indoors as well as outdoors free from worry of rot due to fungus or termites.

3. Wooden Furniture is Strong and Reselient :
Wood is naturally tough. Try breaking a piece with your bare hands….nothing, guessed as much. Such durability is reliable when faced with high duty as well. You most certainly will not be looking for a replacement anytime soon. Soon being a very very long time.

4. Unmatchable When It Comes To Décor :
Being pleasant to look and excellent naturally to the eye, wooden furniture will make for a great focal point. It is authentic and an antique feel to it.

5. Easy to Maintain :
All wooden furniture needs from time to time is a good clean wipe. There are also multitudes of cleaning products available incase of stains, usually simple to use.

6. Strong Resistance To Weather :
Seasons will come and go, but your furniture will be fine. You will grow old but if your wooden furniture is well taken care of by you personally it will not age or damage easily. Even outdoors wooden furniture does not necessarily require storage or covering. Its always better to play it safe though.

7. The Best Investment :
Forget what is being passed around by word of mouth wooden furniture is truly the best investment available to you. A good piece/set can be quite expensive, however it will make a long lasting and smart investment for your home/any other space. You get beauty, quality, comfort and a lifetimes worth of memories all in one.

8. Eco Friendly :
Wood is always a better choice when compared to the other options available in the market such as plastic.

9. Flexibility :
Wooden furniture can always be modified. It can be both indoors or outdoors. It will fit any given space almost perfectly.

10. Natural Living Furniture :
Saving the best for last need you be reminded that Natural Living Furniture offers you a lifetime warranty on every piece of furniture. Wait, it gets better. After 10 years if you decide you want something new Natural Living will offer you a 60% buy back on your old piece of furniture. Need anything else be said….?

How to judge the quality of Wooden Furniture

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It is not all that difficult for one to judge the quality of wooden furniture, and you need not have to be an expert to do so. All that is required essentially is that you give a good look at the material, construction and finish. Take your time in doing so. Lets dive into the aspects you should take a closer look at the next time you decide to go spend your hard earned money on a piece of wooden furniture.

Source of the Wood :
All furniture is made of different types of wood that may be classified as hard, soft or engineered. The kind of wood that is used is one of the factors that determine how long your furniture will last, and how it will fare as time goes by and it ages.
In general, quality furniture is made out of hard wood which comes from deciduous trees such as oak, maple, mahogany, teak, walnut, cherry and birch. The wood is air dried to remove all the moisture content in it before any work is carried out.
Coniferous trees such as pine, fir, redwood and cedar produce what is known as softwood. It is possible to find good quality furniture made from these kinds also, but since they are more prone to scratches and dents in comparison to hardwood they require more care.
This day, solid wood furniture has become something of the past. You may still be able to find it, purchase it, but it is more common to find furniture made of plywood or engineered wood. Engineered wood is not necessarily second rate, it provides strength while helping to prevent splitting or warping. It can make for sturdy, long lasting and highly attractive furniture when in the hands of a skilled craftsman.

CONSTRUCTION :
The way a piece is constructed can contribute to it’s beauty, functionality and how long the piece is to last. The joinery and sturdiness of a piece will tell you loads about it’s quality.
Mortise and tenon and dovetails are the two oldest ways of piecing furniture together, and also make for the strongest joints while being neat. Good joints may have dowels or screws, but will never be stapled. Any glue used will never show.
So what is it you should be looking for precisely?
Look for corner blocks that add strength and stability to the piece. They may not necessarily be visible from the outside, but bolt to both sides of interior corners.
A good quality desk or chest of drawers may have dust panels or thin sheets of wood between drawers in the body of a chest or desk. This not only makes them stronger structurally, but keep dust away from clothing or papers.
Back panels that face the wall are generally attached with screws to help ensure lateral stability. Backs and unexposed parts should be sanded smooth and well fitted.
Drawers should fit well and have glides to allow you to effortlessly move a drawer in and out of its station. They will also have stops to prevent a drawer from being pulled out or falling. Glides in office furniture such as desks, file cabinets and computer armories are important to the functionality of the piece. Doors should close neatly and be flush with the cabinet front, and the hardware should be of good quality.
Always test a piece of furniture for sturdiness by trying to rock or jostle the piece. It should not squeak, twist or wobble. Check if it is in level with the floor and if any angles are off.

FINISH :
Quality wood furniture will always have a good finish.. Sanding, staining and finishing are part of the process and neglect at any stage will affect the overall quality of the piece. Sanding is the first step in the finishing process, and a good piece will be smooth so that when you run your hand over it there will be no rough patches. Sanding across the wood grain will also produce unattractive results such as dark lines or scratches across the surface. Improperly sanded wood will not take the stain evenly. Inspect the finish from various angles to check for blotchiness or scratches.
A good stain enhances the natural beauty of wood while adding both colour and character to it. It can make one wood type look like another one, or make different woods look similar. High quality staining will be even, without any dark spots. All sides and ends should have the same tone.
Finish range from high-gloss to matte. A high quality finish is satiny smooth and free of rough spots, dust specks, or bubbles. Look for dept and richness in the finish, which comes from several light coats of finish with sanding in between coats. A high quality piece is finished on the back and on the underside as well to reduce the chances of swelling or shrinking.
So the next time your out to buy a piece of furniture, you should be well aware of what to look for in a piece of wooden furniture.

For more info log on to: http://www.naturalliving.co.in

 

 

How to take care of your Wooden Furniture

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Many owners of wooden furnishings these days have very little or no knowledge as per the correct means to caring for their pieces of furniture. The dilemma is all pervasive : should you dust, clean or wax….? While all the experts around will have varying opinions on how to tend to you wooden furniture, it basically depends on the finish of the piece of furniture. One way to clarify how to go about the care of your product is to ask for specific care and cleaning guidelines when you purchase a piece of furniture.
The general methods to cleaning and caring for your pieces of wooden furniture, both old and new and how as to effectively go about them are all discussed in detail below.

1. DUSTING :
Do not ever avoid dusting a piece of wooden furniture. Frequent dusting helps eliminate airborne deposits that may build up a filmy layer and scratch the surface of your furniture.
Use clean, dry, soft cloths or feather dusters to effectively remove dust; however, to avoid scattering the dust into the air, which results in it floating back down onto the surface of the furniture, dampen the cloth very slightly.
For dusting purposes you may use tools such a classic feather duster for delicate objects such as silk lampshades and pieces of art. The use of treated clothes is advised rather than silicon based sprays, which can be very damaging over time to finer pieces of furniture. Use cloth pieces containing lanolin as they attract dust and dust clings on well to them.

2. CLEANING :
Never use all-purpose sprays unless your furniture has a plastic or protective coating, such as the kind on children’s furniture and kitchen tables.
Always avoid cleaning wooden furniture pieces with water. Sticky spots may need to be treated with soap and water. In such cases dip the cloth in a mild soap or detergent dissolved in water. Make sure the cloth is nearly dry by wringing it dry before wiping the affected area. Once done, immediately wipe the area affected on the furniture dry with a soft, clean, dry cloth.
You may carry out cleaning of your wooden furniture with the use of oil polishes, cleaner and furniture oils, which protect the wood by making the surface slippery. Most sprays and polishes available commercially contain silicone oil, which offer some protection, as far as possible avoid using them, especially on fine pieces of woodwork. While many experts will advise you to use home made recipes, avoid making them yourselves unless you are well versed in the art.

3. DEEP CLEANING :
From time to time deep cleaning of your furniture will be required to remove layers of grime. In such an instance use an oil based soap and water. Rinse and dry well. Products with a milky appearance are formulated and available commercially. They dissolve both solvent-based and oil-based residues. Do not ever use mixtures that contain boiled linseed oil, turpentine or white vinegars. They darken the wood and attract dust and lint. Instead apply paste wax.

4. SCRATCHING THE SURFACE :
Scratches are something everyone experiences with wooden furniture. It annoys most wooden furniture owners. If it is the top of the furniture that is slightly scratched you may apply paste wax or use a felt-tip touch-up pen.
For the treatment of deeper scratches that gouge into the wood, use wood filler or a coloured filler wax stick available at hardware stores or home improvement stores. Sadly difficult to get in India one may try ordering them online. Match them as closely as possible to the colour of your furniture piece, applying several thin layers rather than one thick layer.

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