Care for your rustic oak furniture

Rustic oak furniture might be casual and informal, but the wood will look its best if you bestow a little loving attention now and then. It can seem very basic and robust, but, as with all furniture, a little polishing and minor repairs will keep your oak looking good and allow it to last for generations.

Protect and preserve

Part of the appeal of rustic oak furniture is that it looks natural, with a rough finish. Natural splits, knots and cracks in the wood are part of the material's appeal, so don't agonise about them.

Most rustic oak pieces are finished with a hard-wearing oil coat. This can last for years without any problems, but older pieces may benefit from another coat. Oak furniture requires the correct oil to ensure the right protective finish, so get advice from the manufacturer or a craftsman about the best products.

Marks on the surface of the furnitre can often be removed by sanding the surface and then recoating with oil. Minor blemishes can even be disguised by rubbing with the inside of a walnut. Don't allow watermarks to remain too long before you remove them.

Clean and dust wooden furniture with a damp cloth, never a wet one. Don't scrub at stains with detergent. Use mild soap and a light touch. If the mark remains, choose the sanding option.

An important part of the maintenance of rustic oak furniture involves prevention of problems. Positioning of furniture can be a crucial issue. Pieces that are placed in strong direct sunlight will change colour more quickly. Avoid placing furniture close to radiators or other heat sources. Also avoid areas of high humidity.

Rustic repairs

Rustic oak furniture doesn't have to be smart, so repairs can add to the charm of an old piece. Splintered parts can be filled, sanded and oiled to maintain the finish of the furniture. With dents, one trick worth trying is to wet the area, let the oak absorb the moisture and trust that the wood will expand naturally.

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