Pine is a soft wood that is very popular for making furniture. It is inexpensive, has a unique attractiveness with knots and small cracks, is a beautiful light golden colour and is often used for children’s rooms, offices and family rooms. Pine is affected by the surrounding temperature and humidity and will swell or shrink accordingly. It is susceptible to stains and scratching. Pine is an excellent wood for people who like the look and feel of natural wood.
Because of its tendency to react to atmosphere, it should not be placed next to a radiator or heating vent and never in direct sunlight. Heat may cause the wood to shrink and crack which can look unsightly as well as disrupt the movement of drawers and cause shelves to sag. The best atmosphere is a constant temperature where the wood can stabilize. Very hot or cold items should not be placed directly on the wood. They will leave a mark and, over time, this will make the surface look dirty. Always use a coaster, place mat, stone or tile that has a felt bottom and will not scratch the surface of the wood.
For everyday cleaning a duster, micro cloth or slightly damp cloth will be enough. Harsh soaps, household cleaners or detergent should never be used. Aerosol spray polishes or any polishing product containing silicon will harm the natural pine characteristic and should not be used.
Pine has its own resin finish which will react to these harsh cleaners and polishes. If a particular cleaner claims to be safe for pine, it is always best to use it on a small portion that will not show, somewhere in the back, to be sure there is no reaction. The use of these chemicals could invalidate any guarantee or claim made by the manufacturer.
Pine furniture should be retreated every few years to keep its natural lustre. This can be done at home by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, unscented block wax is rubbed over the whole piece. There will be a wax residue that will remain for sometime on the surface, but will eventually be absorbed by the wood. The time it takes to absorb will depend on the temperature of the room where it is placed and the wood.
Since pine is a soft wood, any drawer handles, hinges, metal decoration or wheels may become loose over time especially if there is heavy use. They should be regularly checked and tightened when necessary. Finally, pine furniture should not be placed on a damp floor in a basement or bathroom or in any place where there is the possibility of water flooding the area. The natural stain in pine will leach out and stain the floor if it is constantly wet.
Indian Sheesham is another wood that is used for furniture when left in its natural state. It has a golden to dark brown colour that it gets from natural oil just below the surface which also gives the wood its durability. It can withstand frost and long dry spells. It is used for outdoor furniture, and if properly cared for, will last for years even outdoors. Gradually the furniture will form a silver/gray patina which means the oil has stopped bleeding to the surface. For the brown colour to remain, a teak sealer should be used every 12 to 18 months. Because of the high oil content, it is not a good wood to paint.
TV cabinets and coffee tables get a lot of use and look good and last longer if they are made out of a durable hardwood. Oak is recommended because it is beautiful as well as less expensive than some other hardwoods.