Caring for Chinese Solid Wood Furniture
Our lacquered wood furniture is hand-made and restored by craftsmen in China who use traditional skills and materials passed down through the generations. The antique furniture is restored using reclaimed materials to match the original wood. With a little care your Chinese furniture will last a lifetime and more.
The following information will help keep it looking as beautiful as the day you bought it.
Vintage and antique Chinese furniture will have irregularities, which is to be expected of any furniture with age and provenance and is part of the charm of owning a piece of history. The reproduction furniture will also have some irregularities, distressing in the hand-lacquered finish as well as some bare wood exposed on the edges. This is the character and nature of our solid wood furniture which, although superbly handmade and finished both inside and out, will have imperfections, so will not have the perfect finish of machine or mass-produced sprayed furniture. We are proud of the skill and craftsmanship we offer using these old and traditional techniques of wood furniture construction which uses pivoting dowel hinges, dovetail and mortice & tenon joints and more.
Solid wood shifts - swelling as it absorbs moisture and shrinking as it releases it. This can cause shrinkage and cracking at times. This is the nature of wood, it is not a fault. It is also not possible to predict how a given piece of furniture will react in any given home. However for the last 20 years, thanks to the quality northern Chinese wood, traditional carpentry construction and the skills of our artisan craftsman suppliers we have not experienced any severe issues with any of our pieces either here in Singapore or those shipped overseas.
Please see our warranty for more information.
Cleaning and Caring for your Furniture
Lacquered furniture is generally low maintenance and easy to care for. The following advice will help you to understand how to prolong the life of your lacquered furniture. Chinese lacquer can be clear or coloured. This provides a durable finish which protects wood and is very low maintenance.
- A regular dust with a soft, dry micro-fibre cloth will remove finger-prints and smears. Simply flick dust away, rather than rubbing hard which can cause minor hairline scratches over time. Make sure your furniture duster or cleaning cloth is clean, otherwise it could potentially scratch the surface finish. A micro-fibre cloth is less likely to leave superficial scratches than other types of cloths.
- Do not use any abrasive substances, creams or cloths as this can permanently scratch the surface finish.
- Lacquer protects the wood from liquid but we still recommend using mats or coasters with all food and beverages - any spillages should be wiped up immediately. Do not place plates or cups containing hot liquids or food directly onto your lacquered furniture as extreme heat can cause a reaction leaving permanent marks.
- For spillages, wipe with a slightly damp cloth or sponge, using a mild detergent if necessary. Once dry, buff gently with a micro-fibre cloth. Constant contact with water will wear down the lacquer leaving it dull and causing a mottled appearance.
- • To restore the patina we recommend against spray polishes and instead prefer Howard’s ‘Feed n Wax’ Wood Polish & Conditioner.
- Avoid overly touching your new lacquered or polished furniture as the natural grease from your hands attracts dirt and grime to your furniture which if left can damage and scratch the lacquer. Use polishes sparingly and only occasionally as this can build up and leave a sticky residue on the surface which in turn attracts particles of dirt.
- Though furniture lacquer has a hard skin, it can ‘dent’. Avoid putting anything extremely heavy on its surface and if being transported, place pads between the your furniture and any strapping.
- Black lacquer needs to be treated with special care as it can show marks quicker than other colours.
- Lacquer colour will fade if left in direct sunlight over a prolonged period.
- Do not place room fragrance bottles directly onto the furniture. They can strip the lacquer and causes damage to the wood.
Sunlight, aircon and other heat sources
Avoid placing your lacquered or wood furniture in strong direct sunlight or under aircon. For those shipping overseas do not place alongside a radiator. Always leave at least 1m distance from any heat source. Please note underfloor heating can cause extreme shrinkage of solid wood leading to drying, cracking bubbling and flaking of lacquer. This is why special wood is used for floors over this type of heating.
General Care Tips
- If moving your furniture, never drag it. Always pick it up evenly with the help of as many people as possible. Keep furniture upright and avoid turning it over when positioning.
- Be aware that shelves and drawers slide out easily, so when transporting secure these before lifting. Wooden furniture doors are often removable simply by sliding the dowel hinge pivots out of their housing, so secure doors before moving as substantial damage will be caused if the doors fall out during lifting or transportation.
- Brass hardware, including the locks and handles, should not require any maintenance if kept clean and dry.
- Protect your lacquered furniture surfaces by putting felt or gel pads on the underside of lamps, ornaments and anything you display on your furniture.
- If you wish to protect your floors apply felt or plastic pads onto the underside of each foot.
Un-lacquered Natural Wood Furniture
We rarely sell un-lacquered items but to keep these looking good simply use a feather duster or a soft cloth to remove everyday dust. Protect from spillages which will soak in to the natural wood and be difficult to remove. If moving to a dryer cooler climate then consider using Howard’s Oil Sprays to keep the wood from drying out.
When moving home and/or country, your furniture should be carefully wrapped by professional packers and movers, ensuring the corners and legs are well protected. The item should be wrapped with paper before being bubble wrapped (or using other cushioning materials) and carefully unpacked so as to ensure no damage to the body or finish. For items with intricate carved sections or with wing tops we highly recommend crating. Your furniture should not be left for long periods of time wrapped in plastic as heat and moisture can build up which can cause damage to the finish.
In the Event of Severe Damage
In the unfortunate event of severe damage to your Chinese furniture, can often be rescued with expert attention. If in Singapore, we can help you facilitate a major repair or put you in contact with our expert restorer and handyman for advice.