The Right Kind of Hardware

Since its inception in the year 1972, Croft architectural hardware has been catering to both private and public enterprises towards their requirements for doors and window fittings. They are now a well established name in the industry well known for its superbly crafted and engineered products at a highly competitive price along with a very warm customer service facility. Their products range is crafted out of brass, aluminum and bronze and is exquisitely finished to give an appealing look.

Croft hardware are well reputed for its excellent quality an many esteemed houses and government structures such as royal palaces, castles and stately homes are adorned with Croft architectural hardware. This hardware ensures higher durability and long lasting service.

Croft hardware range includes numerous windows and door fittings and other residential hardware. One of the moist sought after fittings; they are a blend of traditional and modern style. These include front door fittings, window fittings, door furniture, pull handles, finger plates etc. The Victorian Suite and the Georgian Suite from Croft Architectural hardware represents the traditional art and craftsmanship in it.

The Door furniture and hardware includes door knobs, handles, flush pulls, locks, latches, letter plates & letters, door knockers etc. These also include hardware for door slide such as the channels and the hinges etc. Other fittings for the home also include hat and coat hooks, door stops, cabin hooks, bolts etc. There are also a large number of window and shutter fittings from Croft architectural hardware which includes casement and sash window fittings. ;

Various Georgian and Victorian style electrical fittings from Croft are exquisitely designed to give a novel look. Ventilators and signs are also manufactured by croft in different items. Shower hardware such as knobs, hinges, pulls; handles etc. for frameless shower door system are also a part of Croft’s range of products.

Barn hardware is a hardware manufacturer which offers a wide assortment of door hardware and other hardware. It is known for reproduction of antique style hardware with even more strength while retaining the original antique looks. Bifold panel hardware from Stanley hardware is yet another multi utility hardware for sliding doors and pocket doors. These are well known for their high quality and durability.

In the field of door and window hardware and fittings, wrought iron is being increasingly used due to its colonial looks with a modern style. Wrought iron hardware has a versatile look and the door handles, knobs, ring pulls, bolts etc. gives an architectural look and are even moderately priced.

Croft Architectural Hardware is available in various finishes such as chrome plate, antique brass, polished brass, satin bras, distressed brass, pearl nickel, satin chrome etc. Croft is continuously striving for betterment of its quality and improvement with innovative technology and is committed to produce quality products for the hardware industry.

Designed to Last – Wooden Garden Furniture and Why You Should Look Closely Before You Buy

Wooden Garden Furniture in today’s outdoor furniture market is a worldwide industry with more selection and choice available than ever before. If you love wooden garden furniture and are in the market to buy now there are 3 considerations which will help you make the right choice for a lasting addition to your outdoor environment. Good design, how the wood was processed, and what methods of assembly and hardware are used by the manufacturer will all be important considerations to ensure your satisfaction with your furniture over time.

People usually think of design as a visual preference. It is that- but it is so much more. Great design makes the piece function better and last longer. Design elements will guide you toward the best value as you search for different types of wooden garden furniture. If you are considering teak garden furniture, for example, is the shape cut into the wood or have straight pieces been bent into shape? The cut piece will last longer than the bent piece. Look at the chair back. Some makers will shorten the backs to shave costs resulting in a less comfortable design. The same thing applies to the arm height. Are there noticeably fewer slats in the back? This can affect the entire strength of the piece. Taking notice of these details, be it teak, mahogany, pine, or oak garden furniture will help determine a quality piece.

What are the properties of the materials being used in the construction of the furniture? Do you know if the manufacturer used first quality timber? How was it processed? If it is teak, kiln-dried timber is hands down the preferred method for top quality furniture. It will keep the furniture from warping,keeping joints tight for years to come. If it is pine garden furniture, pressure treating is a must to prevent insect infestations which could compromise the longevity of the piece. Environmental concerns can be addressed by looking for wood that has been responsibly grown and harvested to ensure sustainability. If you are looking for alternative materials, there are many large manufacturers and small cottage artisan shops offering unique lines in reclaimed teak garden furniture and recycled materials. Bamboo Garden Furniture is fast becoming a natural choice for those looking for eco-friendly materials. Rustic Garden Furniture, made from twigs, willow, and other natural materials is also a great green choice and perfect for the bohemian spirit. All of these materials are providing some of the most innovative and chic designs in outdoor furniture today.

After you have decided on the material of choice, take a look at how it is put together. Partially assembled pieces are not unusual, especially if it is to be shipped from the factory to the destination, but pieces which need to be completely assembled leave room for ill-fitting and loose joints as well as compromised strength. Always look for marine grade stainless steel bolts, screws, and hinges. This is the industry standard for the best hardware assembly. High quality brass fittings may be acceptable as well but do ask and check the quality. Poor quality hardware will rust and corrode with time. A well made piece of wooden outdoor furniture deserves hardware that will last too. Taking note of the above considerations will go a long way toward helping you make informed decisions as you search for the perfect garden furniture.

Wintering Between Glaciers

For as long as I can remember I have talked to the dead, spirits that have passed on to the hereafter and in that aftertime I housed collections of every kind, blank pages as clean and pure as milk, the estate of moths, my useful tools frigid like the weather, stunned, shrouded fakes during all seasons.

I am swallowed whole by the light, wood in the forest. Everything has been harder even the planetary lentils. Their name is beautiful and black-pitted, veiled in the pot; their continent and in their honeymoon there are open roads. There are no boundaries, no ghost-pillars; the feast of ocean and the wild sky. As they split open on my tongue, these cathedrals that was once as hard as stone become cauldrons, unflinching masters. I need nerves of steel here over the steam escaping from cooking pots; a wonderland of Basmati rice and chicken curry. We grew up really fast. There was church and school and afternoon activities and then there was our house; our home, our parents, our family, where the roots of a supreme cover-up began.

The silent sea under the pier at Shark Rock in Port Elizabeth I imagine must feel like ice and I can feel myself slipping, between the waves welcoming folds, drowning in this watery landscape of a small town setting becoming a flailing half-drowned thing, the ocean’s skin on my skin. If only I had not grown up wild, heard all these words inside my mind like pine or willow trees, heard their music gel like the song of wind sweeping through the branches in a desolate forest, multiplied with the unbearable lightness of the features of my serotonin and dopamine and wondered what seed would embed itself comfortably in that heady space of wild blue sky; the seed that was words? I have turned myself perfectly into this wintering where I am an uninvited guest. With this self-knowledge comes joy and the emptiness of loneliness and childhood hurts, opening myself up to possibilities.

In melancholy I am locked in a quaint, inventive state of mind like animals captured and paraded in zoos or portraits of every generation.

I refuse to die here. Instead I lay on my bed, covered with the bedspread. I pretend I cannot get up today, I cannot move, stir from this place. On every branch, every leaf sighs dew, intact bubbles of purified water. If I squeeze it with a finger, it oozes like a spasm, like blood falling, before the bubble melts. The conflict that is inside every man is the same conflict inside of me. How to make contact with a vital, young woman who is as visible as stone and the conflict within me is how to be that woman, unquestioning, imaginative, aware of how to create, to create children but it is a pointless exercise at my age. Perhaps if my mouth was still shut up like a door or a brick wall like it was in my youth I would have more hope, then there would be more hope for me.

How sweet lukewarm hot chocolate milk tastes when the wind is up, sometimes hollering, sometimes just banging incessantly against the windows, caught in my hair as I give the dog food and fresh water in the twilight watching the new moon. How sweet my parents would have been in the beginnings of wedded bliss playing house. I buy and arrange furniture flying solo. No science, proof of life, Dadaist instruction given to me to grow reed-thin, to grow as tall as a ladder, to beam me into another dimension, a reality where I wasn’t baffled or having to voice the thin red line running through it, the river of fat teeth, the river of tides, the river of mercy, of fat Buddha statues that was my life. I am left guarded, holding my breath under water; the water of the ocean-sea, wearing a green mask that tastes of salt, a ghost with a long memory of perfume, watermelon on a sandy beach, sunshine beating down on my shiny head and smiling in another country. In photographs, pictures as a family we made a cold diagram, our faces launched forever into oblivion in the frames of the negatives with our crooked smiles, gaping teeth. The only thing that I found comforting was our wide-eyed innocence for all the world to see and the fact that we couldn’t blink, see the routes we would end up following; anxious even as children when we were pulled apart at the threads, sobriety set us in a rhythm that never failed. We painted smiles as soft as velvet as children on our faces, squinted in the white sunlight. Poor us, poor tarnished jewels on this growing conscience of a planet, of a continent; how fragile we were in our small town setting.

What they couldn’t see was the glow of the beguiling machinery that built us. All its internal cogs, whistling relics, traps, wheels, hearts made of stone built to last bloodlines and bombs; the external hush that followed us into adulthood ambushes us at every turn.

Why can’t wintering between glaciers be sweet instead of a Mecca in an age of iron? Why does it have to be a lesson, lines in a blood knot, a blot on the landscape that leaves me thrilled and bedazzled wanting more? Then shutting out death until it is no longer present or hostile, putting out its feelers for barbarism for life.

You, my brother, older, grown up, turned in an ocean of beads. Your eyes were ice. I am cold in sleep just a body quietly curled up with a belly filled with tuna fish sandwiches and hot, authentic vanilla chai made from tea bought in India where my sister spent Christmas and New Year 2009. I am feeling like waves in dark waters picking at their own feast. A woman like me stays in place shut up like a mountain. I give this to you. This language inside your flat where you fit but I don’t, I fit badly wherever my sister fits perfectly, but you refuse it, to have that would mean the death of you and bad luck. Now you’re testing me with a knife. How it glints with its own just reward in my mind’s eye. Just prick me with the needle; I want to say, wishing it so and be done with it. Apparently no nurse has to burn like I do. I watch how she moves, pivots, turn, points it and the pattern imprinted on skin. She could beat me with a stick and I, the outsider of the family, the writer and the poet would not feel anything. Certainly not the weak pulse in every unforeseen gesture of my blood. I need my rest. They say I’ve climbed enough brick walls, licked enough ceilings and then suddenly I’m falling into air without a sound out of nowhere fast. Reality is all speeded up; its rock face’s habitat, its seduction theory. I’ve done well to keep this to myself before this motion goes haywire or under wraps. There stands a foot not yet six feet under, not yet rot. There’s something noble about it. It has that kind of air about it. Does it belong to a director, a visionary or a saint? It would be madness on my part to say I recognise its paleness and the bare heels. This is my punishment; to be called lazy, mad, to be called a lunatic and to be rushed around. Is she hearing voices, the system, the establishment, my own mother will ask? Take her to the clinic or the private hospital, they say, so I’ve heard. But it has been said and not been said in my presence. They’ll see to her. They will see to all her needs. It is a nurse who will see to it that she eats. She will peck at it; my pure doppelganger, whatever’s plated in that country to death.

Melancholy is the blood of my blood, rushing through my veins, splintering off, veering hastily in different directions with its fat teeth. It is bound in the cities of dark waters. It runs with the aid of the moon, birds in flight, carrion, smitten-fog, lizards and there’s so much plain life apparently embedded in them; in handfuls beneath skies that refuse to die. In this country you can taste dust on air, words of a secret poet and writer. Where were the episodes of tension, the ripples? They were there when I was opening a tin of pilchards, when my sister was making us supper again, cutting up pieces of meat, dicing potatoes, opening up a packet of soup to make a gravy to go with the stew for a brokenhearted father, an emotional mother, a withdrawn older sister who fell asleep every night with the light on; a middle child; a sister, always caught in the middle who smelled like yoghurt and honey and a brother who as he grew older became alluring to all types of women. He is darker than the rest of us with his cropped hair and his eyes. There is just too much wintering going on in his eyes these days and it pierces my heart to bits and pieces; like when my brokenhearted father was sick in the hospital and we, the four of us, didn’t know if he was literally going to make it or not. My mother did not cry. She did not make pots of tea, tear her hair out, instead she meditated, went to prayer meetings, went to church and ignored the fact that my father was sick and that the rest of us were sick with worry.

My father was so ill in fact that the doctors had intimated that he was on his deathbed and that perhaps as a family we would have to prepare for this. Nobody that we knew of came to the house, came to the hospital to see him because this was in Port Elizabeth and as far as my father’s family was concerned my mother was persona non grata and if she was persona non grata then so was my father and my brother, my sister and me. While my mother ignored it into oblivion and there ‘it’ stayed, he recovered and everyone said it was a miracle. Instead of talking, we ate. We bought toasted cheese and tomato on whole-wheat bread sandwiches at a café just outside the hospital after visiting hours in the evening and ate it the car on the way home. I cooked, while I did that for the two of us, my mother planted fruit trees, blushing rosebushes and put antheriums into pots, pansies, lavender and herbs in her garden.

By now my brother and sister were living in another city, working hard, going out with their friends at the weekend. Eating for me felt good. It made me want to live. We ordered takeaways, pizza over the telephone that could be delivered to our home, ate fish and chips with lashings of brown vinegar and coleslaw. My mother and I walked barefoot on the beach. I did not get to know her better. I did not get a chance to get to know her as she was when she was a girl or a youth. During this time I did not ask her anything, question her about her history, instead I wrote poetry with a passion and saturated the blue lines on paper with words buzzing with an intensity of light and energy. It made up for the passion I did not feel coming from the union of my parents, my sister’s coldness towards me; it helped me with some recovery from the universe around me, it helped me imagine, kept me from the wolves, kept them more and more at bay.

Eating was like the creation of poetry; preparing and laying the table, fork on the left hand side, knife on the right and glass in the corner of the plate, a jug of water on the table filled with blocks of ice tinkling against the side of the jug and filled with slices of lemon or cucumber. We even imagined we were eating a feast even if it was only rice and lentils, what the proper Indians of Durban, of anywhere in Africa called, ‘dhal’. As I grew older, wiser, more emotionally grounded, settled, mature, set in my own, determined ways; as my brother began to settle himself in his work and the world around him, as our loyalty to each other became stronger, I began to see myself in other writers and poets work. I was slowly fashioning myself after them, educating myself, learning, processing English, the language and I knew, I knew I could never bring children into this world and subject them to the warm, ceremonial womb of blue seed that the local swimming pool was to me, a sanctuary, where I couldn’t hear the raised voices of mother and father arguing back and forth, fighting it out behind their closed bedroom door. I just didn’t have that kind of tough fight within me.

Is Ready-To-Assemble Furniture Cheap? Hardly!

Build-it-yourself furniture has come a long way through the years. Once thought to be “cheap” furniture, a few manufacturers nowadays make quality, long lasting furniture that you must assemble yourself.

Thirty years ago, assembling a desk or hutch was a real challenge. The instructions were difficult to read (some desk models would print an exploded view picture of the desk and expect you to build it from that!), holes weren’t drilled, or were drilled in the wrong places, and many pieces simply didn’t fit together as intended.

Sometimes everything fit together great, but the manufacturer forgot to include the hardware!

Technological advances in the past twenty years have improved things greatly. Seldom are pieces or hardware missing from the boxes. Holes are drilled where they should be. And most importantly, the quality of the wood has improved dramatically.

Most of the credit for the improvement goes to three manufactures: Sauder, Bush, and O’Sullivan. These companies have set the bar when it comes to furniture quality and are responsible for such innovations as the cam lock system – cam bolts and locks are connected with a quarter twist of a screwdriver. There is no worry that you will “strip out” a cam fastener.

Sturdiness plays an important part in good furniture. Next time you’re out shopping at a big box or office store, try to find a box that contains a desk made by Sauder. The first thing you’ll notice? That box is HEAVY!

And if by chance, as you are assembling your furniture, you notice a piece is damaged or there is hardware missing (this is rare – usually you are given more hardware than you need in case you drop and lose a bolt or screw, etc.), you can call the manufacturer’s Customer Service line and order the part you need and it will be shipped to your home within a few days.

Even though Sauder, Bush, and O’Sullivan make quality, ready-to-build furniture, be aware that there are several other brands that are sold by big box retailers, usually at a less expensive price, that can still be labeled as being cheaply made.

In these boxes you’ll find incorrect instructions, parts that aren’t drilled correctly and defective hardware. But if you stick to furniture manufactured by the Big Three – Sauder, Bush, and O’Sullivan, you’ll be sure to get quality, long lasting furniture that’s easy to put together.

Belwith Cabinet Hardware – A Small Piece Makes Big Change

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While renovating an apartment, changes could start up by adding up of cabinet hardware. This new piece of furniture is quite compact and gives a new look to the renovation of the house. This makes the home décor refreshing and enjoyable.

One need to check the theme designs colors matched with the room before selecting cabinet hardware for a particular room. One has to be artistic and creative while making the right choice. Belwith Cabinet pulls, handles and knobs all have different shapes, themes and colors that are available in the market. One will easily get perplexed while choosing a particular piece, as there are number of cabinets found in the market.

For an antique or non-traditional look for the room, one could select antique copper brass cabinet hardware. The Belwith Cabinet decorative hardware made of brass or iron finished does give the room with a perfect appearance. For cabinets many new ideas could be tried out. This beautiful piece is crafted in a way that it will easily make some confused while selecting.

The other accessories and hardware needed also comes in wide variety of materials like hammered iron, brushed nickel, cut glasses and polished with chrome. Despite of the ideas it is difficult to choose out the particular piece from the whole set.

Overdoing too much or selecting too many numbers of cabinets might spoil the look of the house. It is always advisable by the home decorators to go with one particular choice for the home, so it does not make the look clumsy. This day’s Belwith Keeler cabinet decor hardware furniture is available at very low cost so, finding out a suitable matched cabinet Brass hardware with the room décor would not be difficult to find out at a reasonable price. This in turn will not mess the look of the house also.

The cabinet hardware is needed to be cleaned regularly as they get dirty very easily. This is one important part of the furniture which is always are in use and placed such a way in the house they it is very much expose to the dirt. That is why it requires regular cleaning everyday. For cleaning the cabinet hardware, a special kind of duster is available which makes cleaning the knobs pulls and designs of the cabinet hardware easy to clean up.

These days home decoration has been made quite easy. All the available furniture is easily found out from the websites where it is being showcased. Like wise, all the sets of cabinet hardware that are available in the market are also available online. So, it is really less time consuming to find out the best match that fits with the certain home décor a person have. The elegant pieces could be easily matched with the frame of your room also. One can easily check that by uploading the picture of their room where they want to place the cabinet hinges and hardware. Some websites related to home décor also provide with suggestions on what to put up.

Home Improvement Tips Using Modern Furniture Hardware

While choosing furniture hardware for refurnishing your house, it is more that obvious that a person can get confused. Besides, remodeling a home is an expensive affair as well, especially if you are planning to integrate a new design or style into the interior of the abode. But however, to rescue you from all these spendings there are various ways to cut down on your home improvement expenditures. Though a new piece of furniture frames and headboards will be instrumental in giving your house a new look.

The Initial Step
Designing a well placed furniture plan is essential if you do not want to go wrong anywhere and want to meet your comfort as well as needs. You should also be clear about the style of the furniture that will best suit your room.

Replace Bulky Items And Save Space
This is the foremost step when remodeling your house. Replace bulky ancient furniture with streamlines modern furnishings that acquire less space are are easy to manage. Old furniture use up a lot of space and if your house is small then choose from a wide range multi purpose furniture. For example, use the Ottoman (storage + seat/foot rest) or Sofa bed that can perform the task of both sofa and bed. A modern style is more practical as they tend to be smaller and clean cut edges which do not hang out much and thus cuts down on the space they take up. Go for a bed that has storage compartments and brackets, so that there is more space for better use of wardrobe and drawer.

Plan Before Purchasing
There is no dearth in the furniture hardware industry for furniture supplies, so do not shop in a haste. If you have made up your mind to replace those big antique furnishings with latest sofa that has exquisite furniture legs, then be prepared to hover a little longer before you actually find the best piece. Keep in mind the measurement factor so that the furniture hardware compliments your room. Get a tape measure and start measuring the dimensions of the room so that you will know what size will best fit in it.

Consider the Design
This is also an important factor before purchasing the furniture hardware for your home. Modern furniture differs in the designs as per the taste of their designer. Some of the furniture that have modern tags might have a vintage look. So be clear about the design that will suit your home the most.

Cut Cost By Window Shopping
This is a must before you actually purchase the most coveted furniture piece. Make sure you do a window shopping of all the furniture outlets to have a feel of all the modern furniture available in the furniture hardware industry. Compare the prices of the same stuffs to make this activity cost effective. Also you can wait for the furniture shops and department stores in your area to go on sale or to put huge discounts on their furnishings before you start buying one for your very own.

Stainless Steel Fittings and Hardware Are the Ideal Choice for Your Place

Stainless steel fittings and hardware have been in use since quite a few decades back. SS is very popular because the kind of properties it posses is very astonishing. SS metal is very hard and does not bend easily when it is in some other shape. SS as a metal is non corrosive and does not rust. SS is used in form of many hardware’s and fittings throughout the world.

You find so many things of daily use and see around you where ever you are going that most of the metal or steel materials are made up of SS. Starting from spoons, folk, knives, cookers, frying pans, plates other major kitchen usage materials are all mostly made up of SS. You may find it very hard to find these materials in any other metal form.

Not only materials in your kitchen is made up of SS, but there are so many other furniture’s and fittings that are made of SS. Materials in your kitchen such as sinks and basins are made of SS and you can notice and have noticed already that they do not rust and leave corrosive materials and they tend to last very long.

You can find furniture for your entire home which are made of SS, such as beds, tables and chairs are the most common to see, even cabinets and cupboards, home decoration pieces and fittings such as lights and fans. Even furniture to use in your garden or out house is also available. These include tables and chairs and garden light poles and lightings are made of SS.

Lightings which are in your house, in kitchen, TV lounge; bedrooms and different places in your house are available which is made of SS. SS material are available in pipes and hoses, these pipes and hoses are very good for use because they do not tend to rust and corrode easily, they are strong enough and will not be able to break easily because it is a very hard metal. These pipes and hoses can last very long almost for 10 or more easily.

There are many small nuts, bolts, screws, washers and other hardware equipment such as screw drivers, testers, pullers and other equipments which are made of SS. These materials which are made of SS are very strong enough to hold heavy weights and can be easily screwed or bolted tightly on different things at home or anywhere else. They do not rust and is not a hassle to tight or loose them and they last for quite a lot of time, you don’t usually change screws and bolts occasionally so you can imagine how long they tend to last.

SS products are available easily in hardware stores and departments easily, and the most important thing to consider is that these materials are not expensive and is in the reach of common people and so many qualities which makes it special.

Furniture Care and Preservation

Weather Changes

Wood is very sensitive to water and changes in relative humidity. As the weather changes from season to season, so does the humidity in your home and also the moisture content of your wood furniture. This situation causes the wood to expand and contract with every change in the humidity. The purpose of the finish is to minimize the effects of moisture changes by sealing the wood. Wood likes moderate conditions of around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of around 45 percent to 55 percent. Most homes today have air handling systems that provide a humidifier in winter to add moisture when the air is “dry” and an air conditioner in summer to remove moisture when the air is “wet”. If you do not have this optimum condition but keep the temperature and humidity steady, even if they are to high or to low, it is much better than frequent and/or sudden changes. Furniture can deteriorate quickly if stored in a basement (high moisture), attic (high heat), garage or non -climate controlled storage units or warehouses (continual changing conditions). Excess heat and dryness can cause wood to split and/or crack. Keep your furniture away from all direct heat sources like radiators, wood stoves and air ducts. If you need to put your furniture near a heat source, use a shield or diverter to deflect or direct heat away. Wood is most likely to check (crack) when the climate in your home suddenly changes from hot and humid to cold and dry. Frequent and sudden changes in humidity and temperature are especially bad.

Here are a few suggestions for dealing with humidity:

Furniture can best handle temperature and humidity changes when they occur gradually. Sudden changes like opening a vacation home, or putting items into non-climate controlled storage in winter directly from your warm home can be problems for your furniture.
When air conditioning your home, it is best to keep the intake of outside humid air to a minimum. Don’t open the windows to “air out” the house on fair days.
Add a humidifier or vaporizing unit to your heating system to help stabilize the humidity level during the cold dry months of winter.
Use dehumidifiers in damp rooms and during prolonged rainy seasons to remove excess moisture from the air.

Sunlight

The ultraviolet light rays from the sun will damage finishes and bleach the stain and wood underneath. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the finish to crack, sometimes in a pattern resembling the looks like cracked glass. Try to keep furniture out of direct sunlight. When that’s not possible, reduce the amount of light streaming on any piece of furniture. Use window shades, drapes or blinds to block direct sun light during the time of day the furniture is exposed. The use of UV screening films will dramatically reduce long term bleaching effect and are well worth the investment. Uniformly expose surfaces to light. Avoid letting the sun hit only part of a surface. Occasionally move lamps, doilies and other objects so the wood bleaches uniformly. Cover furniture with sheets or blankets if you leave your home for several months at a time. Move your furniture around periodically so that the same piece is not exposed to light all the time. However, some bleaching can be desirable. Antique collectors actually look for the rich, soft tones that fading can bring, particularly on Walnut and Rose Wood.

Cleaning

Carefully choose wood care products. There is a lot of confusion about what wood-care products to use. Store shelves are stacked with countless brands of wax, polish, spray and oil. Clever marketing techniques, tell us to use there product because it “feeds” the wood while it cleans and protects it too. Unless your furniture is unfinished, or the finish has deteriorated and worn off, when you clean your furniture you’re actually cleaning the finish, not the wood. There is absolutely no way for any cleaning product to “feed” or “nourish” the wood because the wood is sealed and protected by the finish. Proper care will prolong the life of a finish. Waxing the finish makes the surface of furniture slippery so that objects slide along it without scratching and dust will not stick. The wax protects the finish and the finish protects the wood. To clean, simply wipe with a soft lent free, damp (not wet) cloth. Be careful using water to clean wood. Water is wood’s worst enemy. Wood should never get wet or soaked. Water can cause swelling, warping or satins if it penetrates a finish. Most finishes are water resistant, not water proof. Use coasters, pads, cloths or runners to protect against spills and water rings. Consulting a professional before cleaning valuable antiques and heirlooms.

Dusting

What’s the best way to care for my furniture? Ask five different people, and you’ll get five different answers. But most “experts” agree on a some basics. First of all, remember your mother is always right: Dust frequently. Keep away from feather dusters. They just move dust around, flinging it into the air, moving from one item to the next. Broken quills have sharp edges and could scratch the finish. Some types of dust are abrasive so infrequent dusting can create worn and dull surfaces over the years. Dust can accumulate in carvings, cracks and grooves and look an unattractive “gray”. This dusty buildup eventually becomes hard to remove. This “gray” look is often imitated by finishers using wax mixed with pumice or rotten stone powders to make an item look aged (Aren’t we clever!).

Use a clean, washable cloth made of soft, lint-free cotton. My favorites are cotton diapers, old T-shirt, or any soft cotton fabric. When using old clothing be sure to remove all hooks, snaps, buttons and zippers that could scratch surfaces. Don’t use a rag that has loose threads or unraveling edges. These can catch on wood splinters, moldings or loose veneer and pull them off.

Dusting with a dry cloth is abrasive and will ultimately dull the finish. A dry cloth will not really remove much dust. Sprinkling a few drops of water onto the dusting cloth. The trick is to moisten the cloth just enough to make dust adhere to it. The cloth should not be so damp that it wets the finish (leaving water streaks). If you can see any trace of water on the wood after you wipe, your cloth is to wet. Do not use any spray-on dusting aids or polish. Most of them contain water with an emulsifier to suspend some kind oil, or contain silicones. This type of oil is used in most commercial furniture sprays and polishes.

Wipe off dust using gentle, oval motions along the grain of the wood. Turn or fold the cloth often so you don’t just move dust and dirt from one spot to another. Lift, don’t slide, lamps and objects to dust under them.

Scratch Prevention

Lift, don’t slide, objects on finished surfaces. Place objects on trivets, tablecloths, doilies or others covers to protect the finish. Use felt bottoms on lamps and other decorative objects. Especially ceramic objects as they are very abrasive. Avoid bright red felt because its color could leach into the wood through the finish. Use water based wood glue to stick the felt on objects. Some Chemicals in self stick adhesives used on felt can cause a reaction that softens or melts the finish. Use place mats or a table cloth to protect the finish from plates and silverware.

Chemical Exposure

Keep solvents products like nail polish remover, alcohol and paint thinner away from furniture because they can harm the finish. Alcohol is in colognes, perfumes, medications as well as in wine, beer and liquor. Your perspiration and body oils can also harm a finish over time. Plants and flower nectar or pollen that touch the finish can also cause permanent stains. Over watering a plant can cause permanent stains when the fertilizers that dissolved into the water soaks through the finish to the wood. Placing hot items on furniture can cause a chemical change in the finish that results in white rings or spots.

Do not leave plastic objects lying on finished surfaces. Color from plastic tablecloths, appliance covers, food wrappers, plastic place mats and toys can discolor the finish and leach into wood over time. There can be a chemical reaction between some types of finish and cretin plastics that causes them to stick to each other, damaging the finish when it is pulled off. I once repaired an armoire after the customer placed a pair of leather-like gloves on the shelf in the spring and could not remove them next fall.

Moving

Lift, don’t slide heavy furniture especially on carpets. After a short time heavy items will flatten the carpet and padding under the legs or base. Pulling or sliding an item with some of its legs in these “craters” will often brake them. Sliding pieces on wood floor can damage the floors. Furniture legs may or may not have protective glides on them. The glides are used at the factory to make it easy to slide items without damaging the legs on hard surfaces. They are there primarily to aid in the manufacturing process not to protect your floor.

Brass Polishing

First, is it truly brass? A lot of modern hardware is a brass plating over a steel base. Take a small magnet off the refrigerator and see if it will stick to the brass. If it does, its plated and not solid brass. Heavy polishing of a plated item often will remove the plating reveling the steel base. Use caution and very light polishing for this type of hardware.

Some brass, solid and plated, was designed to have a dark, “antique” look. A chemical solution was applied to the brass to make it turn color. This is most often seen on the lesser expensive plated hardware.

Most solid and plated brass hardware on furniture today has a protective, tarnish resistant coating. It probably will not tarnish for a very long time and will only need to be dusted. If the brass is tarnishing and you want to polish it, first remove the brass so that the brass cleaner will not damage the finish. If your brass cleaner/polish does not seam to work, it may be that there is a protective finish covering the brass that must be removed first. After polishing it is best to apply a new tarnish resistant coating. Brass will tarnish quickly when exposed to air.

Wax Build-up

Wax build-up from past waxing is not often seen today. Because most people have been sold on the “benefits” and convince of spray polishes or oil. Very few people in North America use real wax today.

Wax build-up occurs over a long period of time. Its usually only seen in the crevices and corners where it can not be wiped off or when to much wax is used and then accumulates. The same areas where dust accumulates also. The built up mixture of dust and wax presents no real potential danger or damage to the furniture. It is a problem of aesthetics only. Some people however, prefer the patina of this aged look.

Removing old wax is done with solvents that dissolve the wax and then are wiped off with a clean cloth. The procedure is often performed several time to achieve a complete cleaning before a new coat of wax is applied. This procedure is best left to professionals who work in well ventilated work areas.
Also read: Wax, Polish, Oil: Which Is Best?

Drawers

It is important to check your furniture’s drawer system for ware and damage every few years or when they stick or are hard to open. Pull out each drawer and examine the runners, slides, stops and guides. Not all drawer systems have all those components. Some will have metal drawer slides others have wood runners and some just slide on the frame of the cabinet. On metal parts use a small amount of light grease or petroleum jelly to lubricate friction points and bearings. On wood to wood parts use a candle or block of paraffin wax to lubricate all surfaces where wood rubs on wood. Some drawer systems have a center wood slide with a plastic or metal guide or just plastic guides at the right and left sides of the drawer opening. For this type wax only the wood that runs against the guides. If a drawer goes into the cabinet to far, then the drawer stops are broken or missing and should be repaired.

Don’t cram extra clothing into a full drawer. The drawer may be designed to carry the weight but the extra stress created by the friction or clothing catching on edges can brake the drawer’s components or chip off veneer. Use some discretion in the amount of weight you put into very large drawers. They may be able to hold a lot of volume but not excess weight. If a properly working and lubricated drawer is hard to open, you most likely have to much weight in it. Drawers that have two handles should be opened using both to prevent damage to runners and guides. Tighten lose, and replace missing screws that secure the hardware. Lose hardware mars the finish and gouges the wood. All lose joints and broken parts should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent additional damages. Drawers that stick in the summer months are swollen due to the extra moisture in the air. This occurs most often to drawers that are unfinished or not sealed on the inside. They should be adjusted to fit properly, then sealed to prevent recurrence. Don’t pry stuck drawers open or slam tight fitting drawers shut, as this often causes severe damage.

Doors

There are two types of doors on furniture. Sliding doors and hinged doors. A sliding door can be glass or wood. It fits into a slot or grove (top and bottom) which is sometimes lined with a plastic molding. These doors require little maintenance. If they do not slide easily they may just need a little lubricating. Most sliding doors, other than tambours, can be removed by lifting the door into the top slot so that it clears the bottom slot then pull the bottom of the door out and the top will follow. Lubricate the slots and door edges that fit into the slots with paste wax or paraffin for doors that have a wood to wood fit. A small amount of petroleum jelly works great for glass doors in a plastic track. Tambours are sliding panels made of small strips of wood with a cloth backing enabling them to bend around corners and slide in tracks that are shaped to fit the contour of the furniture (a roll-top desk is an example). The best way to lubricate these is to slid the panel all the way in, then lubricate the track (slot/grove). To remove a tambour it is necessary to remove at least the back and often other parts. Removing or repairing tambours should generally be done by a professional.

There are a number of things that can cause a hinged door not to fit properly. One of the most common problems is that the cabinet is not level and the top or bottom edges of the doors will bind or rub on the cabinet frame. This is simple to fix. Large wood cabinets are flexible and will conform to the shape of the floor or carpet. To check if leveling is the problem look at the top edges of the doors, if you have two doors the top edges of booth doors should be in a straight line with each other and have an even clearance gap from the frame of the cabinet. An out of level cabinet will have doors edges that slant (both doors in the same direction) showing a narrowing clearance gap from one end of the door to the other. To correct a leveling problem, shim the front leg on the side where the clearance gap is the smallest or the back leg where the clearance gap is the largest. I use a piece of cardboard as a shim, folding it over on itself several times (trial and error method) to achieve the proper thickness that will align the doors properly.

A door that will not stay closed is a nuisance. Here is a check list of things that cause this problem.

The cabinet is leaning forward. Don’t laugh, it happens a lot. When you set a cabinet against the wall in a room with wall to wall carpeting make sure you do not set the back legs on the carpet’s tack strip. This will cause it to lean forward. Also check for adjustable levelers that are over extended on the back legs.
The cabinet is out of level causing the door catches not to align.
The door is “hinge bound”. This occurs when the mortis cuts into the door and/or cabinet frame to mount the hinge is to deep causing the hinged side of the door to hit the cabinet’s frame. The hinges need to be shimmed to correct this problem.
The door is “screw bound”. This is similar to hinge bound in that the door can not close all the way. The screws in the hinges are to large or the wrong kind (round head instead of flat head). The heads of the screw(s) on the door side of the hinge and the ones on the frame side hit each other, not allowing the door to close.
The door catches are broken, missing or worn out.

Loose and missing hinge screws also cause door fit problems. Double doors will hit each other in the center, single door cabinets will rub against the top side of the cabinet frame and both types will rub or drag on the bottom. Often wearing off the finish. To check for loose screws, open a door a short distance and hold it on the top with one hand and the bottom with your other hand. Gently tilt it up and down. If the hinges are loose you will feel the door move and may hear a sound also from the screws hitting the metal hinges.

One more thing. Be careful opening cabinets with large doors. The weight of the door(s) when open can cause the cabinet to fall forward! Newer furniture comes with a warning tag, but older and antique items do not. You can secure the cabinet to the wall or floor with screws or load it with heavy items to counter balance the weight of the doors. I have heard several reports of people being injured when they opened heavy glass doors and the cabinet fell over on them.

Glass and Mirrors

There is not much maintenance required for glass panels or mirrors. Just clean with your favorite glass cleaner as needed. The proper way to clean glass on furniture is to apply the cleaner to the rag, not directly on the glass itself. Spray type glass cleaners contain ammonia and some times alcohol. The over-spray that gets on the wood trim can damage the finish over time.

A few thoughts to consider about re-silvering mirrors and beveled glass. It is much less expensive to replace a mirror than to re-silver it if the edge is not beveled. Beveled edging can be expensive because not many glass shops do that kind of work. They will send it out to a third party and mark-up the price. There are a number of franchise type restoration shops that offer re-silvering in-house and some of them will sub-out the job. The “look” of an old glass that has been properly re-silvered has a beautiful gold colored hue which is very desirable on antique furniture. I have seen several re-silvered mirrors that have deteriorated in a relatively short time. Find out what warranty comes with a re-silvering job before you commit to have the work done. Re-silvering is a good choice if you have an old glass (the “wavy look” of old glass is from the type of processing. The molten glass was pulled from the oven and stretched to a thickness as it cooled. New glass is done much the same way, but goes through sets of steel rollers, thus a very smooth finish and consistent thickness).