Solid Wood Furniture
The majority of your new piece is built with solid woods. Solid wood is susceptible to extreme changes in temperature and humidity. Whenever possible place your purchase away from heat sources and do not store in damp areas.
Color Changes in Wood
Most Dovetail pieces have a natural finish. Different woods change color some get darker some get lighter. As cherry matures it deepens and richens in color. It starts out a pale salmon color and within a year turns deep crimson brown. Light and air stimulates this process. During the early months of a piece’s life avoid placing objects on it for extended periods of time especially in direct sunlight. The area under the object will develop more slowly and will cause color to appear uneven. If this happens just remove the object to allow this area to catch up.
Oil and Catalyzed Varnish Finish
Our standard finish is Oil and Catalyzed Varnish finish. This gives the furniture a low level of luster leaving a natural look. The varnish is applied by high-pressure spray after the first coat of oil. The advantage of the varnish finish is added durability, particularly for pieces which will experience hard use. The varnish finish is easy to maintain. Simply use a damp cloth to wipe up any buildup of dust or grime then buff with a clean dry lint-free cloth. Cleaning agents, polishes, or waxes should not be used.
Dovetail Oil/Wax Finish
This finish takes a full week to apply. It starts with three coats of hand-rubbed oil, with two coats of paste wax for the final treatment. This finish enhances the natural beauty of the wood. The oil penetrates deep into the wood, sealing and protecting it; the exterior coats of wax give additional protection. When properly maintained, your piece will grow more beautiful over time.
Maintaining an Oil/Wax Finish
Tabletops, tops of chests etc. can be cleaned as needed with a damp (water only) sponge or soft lint- free cloth. Any white rings or water spots can be easily removed by buffing lightly with 0000 steel wool. (Continued buffing with steel wool will eventually strip the wax.) Whether cleaning or buffing, always move in the direction of the grain. Download our Refinishing and Finish Freshening guide PDF here
Rewaxing an Oil/Wax Finish
Depending on usage, every 1 to 24 months rewax the top with Butcher’s amber paste wax. This will protect it from future water damage. Use a soft cloth that has been wet with water and wrung out, (soft cheesecloth or an old cotton T-shirt — natural fibers work best. Apply a thin, even coat of wax (with the grain); allow 20 minutes to dry. Buff to a lustrous shine with a dry soft cloth, then buff lightly with 0000 steel wool to take out any remaining streaks. If your tabletop becomes dull it may need rewaxing. The reverse possibility is you may have wax build-up. Just use 0000 steel wool in the direction of the grain and your piece is sure to shine.
Long Term Care
If your piece has been stained by us, has a conversion varnish finish or has a special finish, please call for specific directions. Your Dovetail piece should never need refinishing. If your Dovetail piece has our standard oil and wax finish, following many years of use, you may want to freshen the finish or refinish a surface that has had an accident. Please call us for a copy of our Refinishing instructions or if you have any questions (508-829-8947) Monday through Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Or, download a PDF here