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Caring for different finishes on furniture

Posted by titanzombie (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 22, 09 at 10:15

I'm new to this forum so I apologize if I'm asking a question that has already been asked and answered. So with that I'll ask:

I purchased some furniture (two end tables and one coffe table) that were a soft wood - probably pine. They were made in mexico and were "rustic" (old metal hinges etc). I liked the look but didn't like the finish so I sanded them down to bare wood and refinished. I used a sanding sealer and then applied three coats of a stain until I got the color I wanted. I can't remember if I used an oil based or water based stain. After that I used a satin polyurethane finish (two light coats). I did sand inbetween coats with 400 grit sandpaper.

I got the finish I wanted and I am happy. However, I have had some cracks form in the wood itself, not the finish. I know that with other forms of finishes you should use a wax, oil, or other furniture type finish to maintain the wood. My question is do you have to use a furniture polish, oil, wax etc for a polyurethane finished piece? If so what should I use? If not, how should I care for a polyurethane finished piece and do you have any recommendations on what I should use to fix the cracks in the wood (caulk, wood putty, water putty etc)?

One more question - I just got engaged and my fiance has some high end bedroom furniture. I wanted to make sure it was taken care of but I don't know what to use on the wood (bed, dresser and nightstands) because I can't tell what type of finish is on these pieces. What I do know is that it isn't polyurethane because it is high end furniture. Any advice on what I should use on these pieces to make sure they keep looking good and last? Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Caring for different finishes on furniture

Your furniture probably cracked because it was made with wood that was too high in moisture content at the point it was made or the construction did not allow for the inevitable wood movement, exascerbated by too much moisture to start.

Do you need to use polish, wax, etc? No. Pick one or the other and stick with it, or use neither.

Almost all factory furniture has lacquer on it. One can polyurethane is simply not a production finish -- it is too slow to apply and too difficult to repair. There are a few pieces that have conversion or 2K finishes on them. They are strong, but cannot be repaired and are difficult or impossible to even strip and refinish. As far as what to do -- keep away from harsh cleaners, direct sunlight, and physical abuse.

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