Wood Dining Tables - How to Care For Them
If you have just invested in a high-class dining room table made of wood, it's just as well to understand some of the basics of keeping it in great condition and having it truly last a lifetime. Wood contains a relatively high proportion of water. Even dining room tables made out of hardwood contain just the right amount of water to be able to adapt to the conditions in your dining room.
In relatively dry dining rooms hardwood dining tables give up a little of their moisture to the surrounding air. This in itself is not a problem. However if the air is extremely dry and the dining table is subjected to sources of heat, which further increase evaporation of water from the wood, then visible signs of drying will start to appear in the wood of the table. Notable culprits here are radiators, fireplaces and also continuous exposure to direct sunlight.
In the first instance such dining tables should be protected from these sources of heat. For example, against direct sunlight, use a tablecloth on the table or prevent the sunlight from entering the room by drawing the curtains or closing the blinds. If it is clear that the sources of heat (radiators for example) will always be present, then you may need to use other devices to keep the relative humidity at around 30 percent. In the summer this means using an air conditioner, and in the winter using a humidifier.
For the same reason, for dining tables that also have separate leaves that are stored apart from the table, then care should be taken to store them in a similar environment to that of the dining room. This means storing them in a room at the same level in the house rather than in the basement where conditions of humidity can be very different. If you want to move the whole of the dining room table from one space to another then remember to lift it and not to drag it.
Of course these are not the only sources of moisture that might affect dining room tables. Often the problem comes directly from water which is built on to the table surface or which comes from setting down glasses without any protecting coaster. This leads to the white rings that so many people despair of when they see them appear on their dining tables. Like the cracks that appear because of lower levels of moisture, this does nothing to impact the inherent strength of the wood, but is not pleasing to the eye.
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In this case first of all ascertain whether the ring is in the table finish or in the wax. Different remedies exist for dealing with each of these. One recommendation is to run over the affected area with either mayonnaise or salad oil before wiping dry and then waxing or polishing the affected area. Another one is to use a thick, clean washcloth to cover the stain and to then apply a warm iron on top of the blotter on the dining table to pull the moisture into the towel.