Wood Care

Reclaimed Wood Furniture Care & Finish Choices

Caring for your reclaimed wood furniture is very much a matter of preference. It has already survived a century or more of weathering so your decision on how to treat it will have much to do with how you use your furniture and your personal preference on look and feel. You may choose to leave the wood in its natural, salvaged unsealed state or want to know what options we offer.

Here are the options we are most happy with after a lot of study and experimentation.

1. Unsealed, salvaged wood planks are beautiful. We love the look of salvaged, unsealed century plus "old growth" wood. This is the finish shown in many of our online product photos. Many people choose to leave it in this state. Unsealed items look lighter colored in appearance. You can always add a finish later, or experiment on finishes and seals on the underside of your product to determine your favorite look. We will be including a complimentary 2 oz sample jar of "Swilley's All Natural Beeswax Wood Rub" as and option with all orders that are placed in the natural , unsealed finish selection. Clearly there is a risk of stains from spills or oils with this option however if left unfinished sanding with a combination of first 100 grit and then 220 grit sand paper will typically restore the look and feel. The best method for cleaning is simply soap and water. We also create our own solution with a few tablespoons of white vinegar diluted in spray bottle of water. It works well to get off the finger prints from messy children!

2. Swilley's All Natural Wood Rub (Beeswax based rub on wood conditioner). A small 2 oz. jar comes with each wood furniture order that is unsealed as an immediate option for your piece or in case you wish to use it down the road. We like Swilley's All Natural Wood Rub because it is absent of petroleum by products, non-toxic and is made from all natural waxes (beeswax, carnauba wax), nut oils (coconut, almond, walnut oils) and orange oil. We find that it conditions the wood nicely, keeping it looking very natural with a matte finish while enhancing the wood grains and also protecting it. We do not apply this for you to your piece but it only takes approximately 10 minutes to rub this amazing stuff onto the surface and buff. See video and more info regarding Swilley's Wood Conditioner below.

3. Water based Satin finishes/sealant options: Clear, Antique or Walnut. Made by General's Finishes. Low in harmful VOC's ( volatile organic compounds) it is comparable to oil-based varnish for its high resistance to abrasion, water and solvents. This water-based and cleans up easily with soap and water. . As it cures, the molecules become cross linked in a lattice-like pattern that is much more durable than the single-strand bonds formed by conventional water-based finishes. This makes it a good choice for high-wear interior applications such as tabletops. It contains an amber-colored urethane resin, which imparts a warm appearance that darkens over time, similar to oil-based varnish. It will have a very slight shine to it. Low to no maintenance option that is perfect for everyday family use and easy clean-up. See our finish sheet for wood stain options.

Finish Samples

USING Swilley's All Natural Wood Rub:
We include a jar of Swilley's with our unsealed natural reclaimed wood furniture for a variety of reasons. 1.) It provides an easy natural option for conditioning and protection from stains and food spills on natural wood 2.) should you prefer a darker, richer tone to your furniture over the lighter natural look. If you have a sealant on your furniture already, there is no need to use this wax. If you chose to have us apply the clear satin sealant to your wood surface already, there is no need to use Swilley's. Please test a dab of Swilley's on the underside of your furniture piece before rubbing it on the top to be sure you like the look. It can't be reversed once you apply it.

Please go online to view our simple tutorial on how to apply:

Use a clean cloth and dab a small amount of paste out of the jar and onto your wood. You can rub it in any direction that you are comfortable with. As you start to rub the paste in, it will begin to melt. The melted oils will get absorbed by the wood and you will notice the grain becoming more visible and colors, enriched.

Once applied and thoroughly soaked in you should buff off any remaining rub with a clean cloth. Your furniture is now ready to enjoy.

How frequently should I apply the rub?

It depends first on how dry the wood is. Also, if you are frequently cleaning and using the treated area, it will need more applications. The rub will eventually come off in small amounts during cleaning. When you notice reduced luster, it is okay to reapply.

What should I do if I have deep cracks in my wood?

Gently heat a small amount of wood rub in your microwave and use a cloth to apply around the surrounding cracked area. The melted wax will be able to seep in evenly. If you notice buildup you can remove any undesired wax with fine steel wool.

Can I use Swilley's on my bench or stool? Will it make clothing oily?

You may use Swilley's on your bench or stool, just make sure you rub/buff off excess with a clean cloth before sitting and allow it to dry for at least several hours. It will absorb into the wood. Always test it first on the underside to make sure you like the look!

What are the ingredients?

Swilley's All Natural Wood Rub is made with Beeswax, Carnauba wax, Coconut oil, Almond oil, Walnut oil and Orange oil. It is Safe, Non-Toxic, No petroleum and Natural.

If you ordered your item with a clear satin sealant we don't include a jar of Swilley's.