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Make Your Oak Furniture Even More Beautiful

Apr 1, 2008
If you're about to spend hundreds or thousands of pounds on a piece of oak furniture, read on. These quick tips could add years and elegance to your purchase and save you a bundle in the long run.

Oak is one of the most beautiful woods in the world; sturdy, durable and aged with a character of its own. When you buy a piece of oak furniture, it's a purchase that should give you decades of pleasure and use. Over the years, the colour of the oak will mellow and take unique look of its own based on how you care for it.

Oak is a hard wood and is more susceptible than most woods to stains. Read on to see how you can minimise the effect of stains and get the look you want.
Caring for oak furniture.

There are different methods you need to use depending on where your oak furniture is at. If it's outside, you must treat it differently than if it's inside, but we'll come back to that.

There are 3 steps to caring for your indoor oak pieces.
1. Original conditioning to get the look you want with a new piece of wood.
2. Cleaning properly.
3. Ongoing conditioning to maintain the look you want.

If you buy a new piece of oak furniture, you want to condition it for several reasons.
1. To help to protect it against stains
2. To get the look you want.
3. To enhance the longevity of the wood against infestation.

Depending on the type of oak furniture you have, you can either stain it, wax it or both. Staining is preferred for the tops of tables and sideboards to help protect it. You can do that with something like Ronseals English Oak hardwood furniture stain.

For the legs of coffee tables and other areas of oak furniture, you can simply wax them with a high quality beeswax. Once you've waxed them, allow them about half an hour to dry off and then get busy with a clean, dry lint free cloth like a cotton cloth and buff to a high shine.

For the first few years, this waxing process should be repeated every 3 months (more during winter) and then every 6 months to get the patina that you want.

Cleaning the oak.

If you do get a stain or watermark on a piece of oak, you can simply sand it away with a fine piece of sandpaper or fine steel wool, going with the grain, and then re-wax it.

Cleaning should be done thoroughly every 3 months. Many chemical cleaners will strip wood so it's important to use something that doesn't strip it like a natural oil based cleaner like Murphy's oil soap.

Once you've cleaned it you need to condition it every 6 months with something like linseed oil which soaks into the wood and conditions it, enhancing the grain. You can even use lemon oil for this which makes your room smell beautiful. For best results, rotate the two conditioners.

If you have an oak wardrobe or a set of oak drawers, you can use a high quality bee's wax and polish them to your preferred patina as shown above. Personally, I'd stain the top of a set of oak drawers. Repeat the waxing every 6 months.

If you are lucky enough to have oak garden furniture, you can use an oil based stain to make it waterproof. Be careful not to use linseed oil to condition it however as it might not dry properly and can result in mildew. Instead, use lemon oil.

And then sit back, relax and enjoy your beautiful furniture.
About the Author
Mike O'Neill is an interior designer and home makeover expert who writes for www.dugdeals.com, The UKs premier furniture website with tens of thousands of products from retailers like John Lewis and Darlings of Chelsea. Click here to visit www.dugdeals.com
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