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Taking Good Care Of Your Furniture

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Taking Good Care Of Your Furniture

Taking Good Care Of Your Furniture 1. WAXY BUILD-UP
When most people think they have a wax build up, most likely the culprit is a softened finish. Oil from your skin, food oils, and some detergents can break down a finish making it sticky, which in turn collects dirt and grime. If the problem lies on an area that is frequently touched. To clean it, try using mineral spirits or naphtha as your cleaning agent. Using a soft rag or #0000 steel wool, this is good for getting rid of a waxy build up. A word of caution though, if your finish has softened all the way through to the wood, this process could leave you with bare wood. If your finish has gotten that bad to start with, there isn't anything else you can do to reverse it other than stripping and refinishing anyway.

2. HIDING LIGHT SCRATCHES
One of the best way's I have found is using a padding lacquer. It really works well on household woodwork as well as furniture when you get a light colored scratch in the finish. You will need a soft cloth. Fold the corners until you can make a tight ball out of the center. Apply the padding lacquer to the pad and tap it into the palm of your hand. (Gloves come in handy here). This will spread it through the pad. Lightly pad in the direction of the grain like it is an airplane coming in for a landing then taking off again. Don't over pad or come to a stopped landing. Let it dry for a couple minute's and reapply if needed until the scratch is melted back in. Usually one swipe is all it takes. This will leave a high gloss finish if you keep padding, so you may have to pad the whole surface to make it all look the same.
Another way of removing light scratches is rubbing them out with polishing compounds. These are best used on high gloss sheens.

3. PAINTING OVER EXISTING FINISH
To paint over an existing finish, there are a few things to consider. One is the overall condition of the original finish. Most factory finishes are done in lacquer and older finishes tend to lose their plasticity and get hairline cracks running through it. If this has happened to your piece or you have bare or worn spots, it may be worthwhile to go ahead and strip the old finish off. Otherwise the cracks will show up in the finished project.
If your finish looks sound, Where you need to start is by removing all the hardware. Any parts that also come off, may make the job easier.
Grab some naphtha or mineral spirits and some clean cloth rags, and wipe the whole piece down once or twice. This will remove any furniture polish or body oils that may still be present. If there is any organic matter left on it, you may have to use a damp rag to remove it before moving on to the next step.
In order to provide the new finish tooth to adhere to, you will need to do some sanding with 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper. sand it until you have removed all traces of the original sheen. To get into some nooks and crevasses, a general purpose Maroon scotch-brite pad works well. Once you are done with the sanding, give it a good blowing off with compressed air (Wear your particle mask) or vacuum up the dust followed with a damp rag.
With all the prep work done, give it a final wipe down with naphtha and let it dry for at least 30 minutes prior to applying your first coat of paint. Make sure you doing it in a dry dust free environment if you can. A tack rag is a very important finishing tool. Oil based finishes are going to be the most compatible to the lacquer, and hold up the best. They do require a paint thinner for cleanup instead of water. Make sure you follow the instructions on the can.

4. WHITE SPOTS FROM WATER
This is the question I get asked the most. How do I remove the white rings and spots on my furniture. Given enough time, water can cause as much damage to wood as can fire. The first step in removing a fresh white spot or ring is simply to do nothing except remove the source of the moisture and any remaining on the woods surface. Then wait.
(Do not apply any furniture polish)
What the white ring consists of is water vapor trapped on the surface of the finish. In some instances, fresh white rings will disappear if given the time to be absorbed by dry air. High humidity will slow this process. A hair dryer will speed up the process, but set it on low and use discretion. Do not, however, presume that if a little heat is good, more heat is better-and reach for the heat gun. The white ring may disappear, but only because you melted the finish around it .
If the white ring refuses to leave on it's own, then you must try the following three suggestions.
If your table has a satin or dull sheen, grab a pad of OOOO Steel wool and some lemon oil or wool lube . Put some on the pad and rub the spot moving in the direction of the grain. Once the spot is gone, you may need to rub the rest of the table top so the sheen is even. Make sure you go with the grain in long even strokes from one end to the other. To finish the task, simply wipe off the remaining oil and apply your favorite polish.
If you have a glossy sheen, You may try using a little bit of white tooth paste on a dry cotton towel. If this leaves a glossier spot than the rest of the table, then you will need to get some rubbing compounds and polishes like you would use on a car's finish. If a mirror finish is not what you want, you can always adjust it down with the OOOO steel wool. Don't forget to use your favorite polish when your done.
Another simple remedy that sometimes works, is to spread some Vaseline on the damage and wipe it off after the spot is gone.
If none of these has worked, then the moisture has penetrated through the finish and is not repairable without refinishing.

5. DO IT YOURSELF DON'TS
If you are trying to repair furniture yourself, do not use any nails, screws, air nail guns, duct tape, twine, metal brackets, coat hangers or other creative fasteners. It just makes things harder for us professionals when you do finally bring in it. Do not use any glue other than yellow or white Carpenters Glue or Hide Glue.

6. HUMIDITY THOUGHTS
Be aware of humidity when doing your own finish work. High humidity in the air will keep finish from drying or will make it "blush" (turn white and dull). If you are having a professional do your finish work, please allow several extra days for your piece to dry completely before using it.

7. IS IT REALLY SOLID WOOD?
Be cautious when buying furniture. Just because someone says it is "solid wood" doesn't mean it is good. Particle board and MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) are still "wood" but they aren't what you think. They are very hard to repair and much heavier than "real" wood. They will NOT last if under heavy use. Always ask, "Solid what wood?" Furniture marked Solid Oak or Cherry or Ash is a better bet.

8. POTPOURRI KILLS
Believe it or not, potpourri (just about any kind) will eat the finish off of furniture even if it's still in a plastic bag! Don't ever put it directly on any finished piece, even if in a cloth or plastic bag.

9. BUYING CHAIRS
When buying chairs, turn them over and look for any indication of screws or nails. If you see them, it means that the manufacturer did not trust the joints to stay together on their own. It might also mean that significant modifications have been made to the chair in the past that may cause future problems. A professional restoration/repair shop should NEVER add screws or nails where none were present before.

10. REMOVING COLOR
Stripping furniture does not necessarily remove the color from the wood. It may not be possible to lighten the piece to the desired color if it is stained dark. As a general rule, you can always go darker, but you can't always lighten it later. Just to be safe, before staining a light wood, make sure that you are comfortable with it being dark forever. if your furniture has been stained with an aniline dye, you can use some Stain-away to bleach it out. Make sure you do it out doors with a respirator.

11. PLACTIZIER MIGRATION
Do not keep your plastic or vinyl tablecloths, placemats, and other items in contact of your wood finish for an extended period of time. Wood finishes need to breath. If items cover the piece of furniture for an extended amount of time the Plasticizer will eventually leach out and permanently soften the finish.

12. SQUEAKY BED FRAMES
If you have metal bed frames and they squeak, simply apply some oil to the rivets to quiet them down. If your bed is made of wood and it squeaks, it most likely is getting loose and needs to be re-glued.

13. STICKY DRAWERS
Any time you have wood moving against wood, you will need something to keep the parts lubricated. If you have drawers that like to stick, try rubbing some clear Briwax or any other brand of paste wax on both the drawer and the wood it rides upon. It is sometimes shocking what a difference it can make. If it doesn't help, most likely the drawer will need some repair or is worn down.

14. REMOVING DARK STAINS
To remove darks rings, stains or gray oxidation, you will need to use some oxalic acid crystals . It is the main ingredient in the so called deck brighteners. To use them, you have to mix them with warm water until you reach a saturated solution meaning it won't dissolve anymore. Only mix the amount you need. You will need to apply it with a synthetic brush giving the entire surface a good wet coat (not just the stain) . The wood will need to be bare and lightly sanded prior to this step. Make sure you apply it to the whole surface and not just the spot. Leave the acid on until it dries or until the stain has vanished. Follow that with a couple washes of water to remove the residue. The grain will be raised after it dries, so you will need to sand it smooth before finishing. Make sure you use a particle mask when sanding because what crystals are left over will make you sneeze if you inhale them. Do it outdoors if possible.

REMOVING NAIL POLISH FROM A FINISH
This can be a tricky one even for a professional. The only thing you can try is some 600 grit wet or dry sandpaper and a hard flat sanding block. Make sure you hold the block level while sanding the glue down flush. You will get into the surrounding finish, so try to keep it to a minimum. If the polish is pretty thick, you might mask around the spot to protect the area around it.
Once you get it sanded level, you will need to finish sanding the spot with 1200 grit paper.
To get the shine back on a high gloss finish, it will take some rubbing compounds and polishes on a cotton rag and some elbow grease Make sure you polish the entire surface so it all looks the same. Apply your favorite polish to finish it up.
If your table has a satin or dull sheen, grab a pad of OOOO Steel wool and some lemon oil or wool lube. Put some on the pad and rub the spot moving in the direction of the grain. Once the spot is gone, you may need to rub the rest of the table top so the sheen is even. Make sure you go with the grain in long even strokes from one end to the other. To finish the task, simply wipe off the remaining oil and apply your favorite polish.

16. REMOVING THAT MUSTY ODOR
To begin the process of removing a musty odor from the inside of your furniture, you will need to have a spray bottle of denatured alcohol or other anti microbial spray. Open the cabinet and take out all of the drawers and spray the entire inside of the piece. This will kill any mold spores that may be lurking.
Let it dry opened up in a sunny place for a good week. If this hasn't done the job, you will need to go to the next step of sealing the raw wood with any type of finish which will seal in the odor. You could also purchase a small electric ozone generator to eat up the odor causing molecules.
A new approach might be using one of the new products for removing odors from fabrics like Fabreeze. Although I would still suggest killing the mold spores first. I have had a customer who had success with putting an open can of ground coffee inside to absorb the odor.

17. IS IT OIL BASED OR ACRYLIC/LATEX PAINT?
To determine what type of paint is on your furniture, brush some stripper on an inconspicuous spot and see what happens. If it is oil based, the paint will wrinkle and bubble. If it just softens up into a slimy goo, it is latex or acrylic. Oil based paint is the easiest to remove.

18. GLASS TABLE TOPS
Glass tops can protect your wooden tables, but don't let moisture get trapped between glass and wood. Create an airspace by elevating the glass top on clear butyl rubber bumpers available at most glass shops and let your wooden table tops breathe.

19. WOOD SCREW LUBRICATION
Wood screws go in a lot easier when you scrape the threads across some candle or bees wax or a bar of soap first.

20. REMOVING CANDLE WAX FROM A TABLE TOP
If some melted wax gets on your table top, hopefully it hasn't hurt the finish. Since you just cant wipe it off with a damp cloth, you have to scrape it off. Yes it sounds scary, but it isn't really. The scraping tool of choice would be an ordinary credit card. You shouldn't try to scrape it all off at once, but by taking it off in thin layers, it will eventually come off. Since the card is softer than the finish, (We Hope), is doesn't scratch the surface. Once you get as much off as you can, you can then remove the remaining wax with a soft cloth dipped in lemon oil.
Some colored candles can stain a finish. If this happens, it is best to try some rubbing techniques.
If your table has a satin or dull sheen, grab a pad of OOOO Steel wool and some lemon oil or wool lube . Put some on the pad and rub the spot moving in the direction of the grain. Once the spot is gone, you may need to rub the rest of the table top so the sheen is even. Make sure you go with the grain in long even strokes from one end to the other. To finish the task, simply wipe off the remaining oil and apply your favorite polish.
If you have a glossy sheen, You may try using a little bit of white tooth paste on a dry cotton towel. If this leaves a glossier spot than the rest of the table, then you will need to get some rubbing compounds and polishes like you would use on a car's finish. If a mirror finish is not what you want, you can always adjust it down with the OOOO steel wool. Don't forget to use your favorite polish when your done.

21. REMOVING OIL FROM A WOOD SURFACE
The only way to pull grease and oil out of wood is with a poultice. Go to your swimming pool place and get a bag of diatomite or commonly known as diatomaceous earth. Grab a couple of gallons of acetone also from hardware or paint store. Mix the two together to form a paste you can spread over the top. You will need about a 1/2" layer of it. As the acetone dries, the oil gets pulled into the DE .Once it is dry, scrape it off into the trash and repeat if necessary. Most likely it will take at least three applications. You might try putting a heat source directly under the slab at the same time which will drive more oil to the surface. You will need to do this process outdoors because of the intensely flammable and highly smelly fumes.

22. WHAT KIND OF FINISH IS IT?
To determine what type of finish you are dealing with, You will need to do a solvent test. Put some acetone or fingernail polish remover on a finger and rub it in an inconspicuous spot to see if the finish starts to soften. If it does, you are dealing with nitrocellulose lacquer which is predominantly used in the furniture industry. If it doesn't soften, try some denatured alcohol the same way. If it softens with alcohol, you have a shellac finish. If neither one seems to soften the finish, you are either dealing with varnish, polyurethane, catalyzed lacquer, conversion varnish or polyester which are all non-reactive finishes that can't be re-dissolved by their original solvent.

23. GLUING DOWN LOOSE VENEER
If the top is removed, it will be easier to do the clamping during the glue job. Use some liquid hide glue made by the Franklin company since it will bond well with the old hide glue. Try to work some of the glue underneath the loose stuff keeping in mind the there are most likely two layers of veneer. The top layer and the substrate layer which has the wood grain running in the opposite direction than the top layer. You may have to feed glue between all the layers. A long thin bladed spatula is what I use.
Once you have sufficient glue to all recesses, you need to squeeze out all of the excess glue with a veneer hammer, J-roller, or wall paper roller. Keep a damp rag handy to catch the drips.
To clamp it, you will need a flat block of wood that is at least the same size as the loose portion, some C type clamps, and some wax paper to put under the clamp block to keep it from sticking once the glue dries. If you are gluing a descent size area, you will want to start the clamping from the inside working your way to the outside. This will help squeeze out more extra glue that isn't needed, so keep you rag handy again. What you don't want is a pocket of extra dried glue under the surface resembling a bubble on the finished product. If you are gluing in a loose piece or patch, I have found it helpful to use a piece of thick clear lexan as the glue block. This allows me to see through it to make sure the piece hasn't slid on me while clamping. The hide glue doesn't stick to the lexan, so no wax paper is needed.
After drying overnight, you can remove the clamps and block. If the block is stuck, tap the side of it with a hammer like you are spinning it. Lifting it off could take the veneer with it. If you have a finished surface with glue residue on it, a warm wet rag will dissolve the hide glue.

24. BUYING UPHOLSTERED SOFAS, LOVESEATS, AND CHAIRS
When buying upholstered chairs, love seats, and sofas, there are a few things to consider.
There are two types of frames, the cheaper plywood frame and the better hardwood frame. The cheaper frame is more prone to loosing a spring if someone sits down to hard or you have kids that like to jump. If that happens, fixing it could cost you. The hardwood frame won't do you any good unless it is put together with dowel joints.
Stay away from upholstered recliners that have the foot rest that pops out. I have yet to see one that is worth buying. Even worse is the sofa with the recliner built into it.
As for the fabrics, the cottons won't last near as long as the synthetics. A good heavy tapestry will wear like iron.
Make sure you ask a lot of questions. What is the warrantee? Do they deliver? Can it be upgraded with a better fabric or legs? Make sure you shop around.

25. REMOVING SUPER GLUE FROM A FINISH
This can be a tricky one even for a professional. The only thing you can try is some 600 grit wet or dry sandpaper and a hard flat sanding block. Make sure you hold the block level while sanding the glue down flush. You will get into the surrounding finish, so try to keep it to a minimum. If the glue is pretty thick, you might mask around the spot to protect the area around it.
Once you get it sanded level, you will need to finish sanding the spot with 1200 grit paper.
To get the shine back on a high gloss finish, it will take some rubbing compounds and polishes on a cotton rag and some elbow grease. Apply your favorite polish to finish it up.
If your table has a satin or dull sheen, grab a pad of OOOO Steel wool and some lemon oil or wool lube . Put some on the pad and rub the spot moving in the direction of the grain. Once the spot is gone, you may need to rub the rest of the table top so the sheen is even. Make sure you go with the grain in long even strokes from one end to the other. To finish the task, simply wipe off the remaining oil and apply your favorite polish.

26. BUYING ANTIQUES
Your best defense when buying antiques as an investment is simply to be well informed. Read books from the library, ask questions of dealers, know what you are shopping for and what it should be worth. Most dealers specialize and so should you, no one knows everything about everything. If you are buying the piece because you like it and not as an investment, the only criteria is how much you like it and how much you can afford.

27. WHAT KIND OF GLUE SHOULD I USE?
When it comes to doing repairs, it is very important to use the proper glue for the job. When it comes to re-gluing joints on furniture made prior to 1955, my favorite is Franklin brand liquid hide glue. It has very good tack and strength plus has a longer working time which comes in handy for re-gluing chairs.
Furniture made after 1955 to present day is constructed with PVA (Poly Vinyl Acetate). It is the pale yellow glue for woodworking or carpentry. If your project requires a long open time, this is not the glue of choice. You are better off with the hide glue.
For broken components that are hard to clamp and wont ever need to come back apart, I would recommend a five to thirty minute epoxy. I don't recommend using this glue for the joints unless you have a lot of play in them. It is the best gap filling glue out there.
For fixing hairline cracks that you can't get conventional glues into, You can use a thin or thick cyanoacrylate commonly known as super glue. It works even better if you use an accelerator to speed up the hardening process. You might want to shop at a model airplane store to find it. I don't recommend this glue in areas that need to be structurally significant. Remember to keep a bottle of fingernail polish remover on hand just incase you glue your fingers together or to the furniture.

Purchasing a new Mattress

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Purchasing a new Mattress

Purchasing a new Mattress When shopping for a mattress wear shoes you can get in and out of easily.
  • Test the mattress by laying full-length out on the bed. Try it out like you're going to use it, and spend some time on it to see how it really feels.
  • If you feel silly, just think how silly you're going to feel when you don't sleep comfortably after spending all that money!
  • Note the gauge of the wire as well as the coil count. The smaller the #, the heavier the wire is.
  • Always buy box springs at the same time. They are made to be a set.
  • Use a heavy-duty bed frame with good center support.
  • Stick with a name brand.
  • Don't assume that a higher price means a better mattress.
  • Stay away from department stores - they're always higher and sometimes the name-brand companies make mattresses to fit the store's specifications. You might not be getting the mattress you think you are. Look for a mattress warehouse or factory.
  • Remember that all "pillow top" mattresses will get body impressions (except latex toppers.)
  • Make sure your mattress has a non pro rata warranty of 10 years.
  • Shop around, compare delivery prices, and find out if the company will remove your old mattress for you.
  • Buy a mattress with a minimum of 312 coils (fine for children), with 540 being the absolute best. Full-size should have at least 300, queen-size at least 375 and king-size at least 450.

  • For the bed to be right, it should yield enough for you to sink slightly, but not too much, into the bed. LIE DOWN on the mattress, preferably with your sleeping partner, before you buy. You're not going to be bouncing up and down on the edge of the mattress with you get home!
  • For a dry bed, choose a mattress with comfort layers made of latex and insulating pat made of coconut fiber. Stay away from wool because wool can grow mold when damp that could trigger asthma problems.
  • A mattress should be an innerspring at least nine inches thick. Don't buy budget when you're buying a mattress. A good mattress will last you 10 to 15 years and will end up costing only pennies a night even at the high-end prices. Shop smart, but don't scrimp.

    Mattress Terms :
  • Foundation - absorbs the shock of daily wear and provides support and durability.
  • Core - provides support for the body and can be spring, air, foam or water.
  • Upholstery - Adds comfort and cushioning.
  • Coil Count - the number of coils in the mattress. High coil count gives better contouring while lower coil count if firmer.
  • Contour - how the mattress coils conform to the body for comfort.
  • Box Spring - supports and cushions the mattress.
  • Wire gauge - thickness of the wire coils. The thicker the wire, the less flexible the coils.
  • Comfort level - can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer with Plush being soft and fluffy, Firm being standard cushioning and Pillowtop being a mattress with extra layers of cushioning.
  • Non pro-rated warranty - a manufacturer's warranty against defects.
  • Pro-rated warranty - offers less coverage based on the number of years in the warranty.
  • Library Lounge Furniture Buying Guide

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    Library Lounge Furniture Buying Guide

    Helpful Tips for Selecting Essential Library Furnishings
    The libraries of today are no longer simply familiar repositories for books. Libraries now provide an increasing range of different services, using a multitude of media, and reach a more diverse audience than ever before. The library is a place for studying, work, research, and often times leisure and relaxation. Looking beyond the bookshelves, there are a wide variety of essential furnishings that libraries require to provide the amenities that patrons count on.
    From study carrels to lounge seating, tables to coat racks, and even appropriate lighting, all of these things are considerations to remember when furnishing an new library, or refurnishing an existing library. At CSN Library Furniture, we have picked out vital furnishings from a range of quality manufacturers and brought them to you at quality prices.

    Study Carrels
    We understand that focusing on work can be a challenge for students of all ages. A study carrel can be a great solution to this problem, both in the library and the classroom. With our large selection styles and finishes, you are sure to find a study carrel which perfectly fits your needs.
  • Free Standing study carrels offer the function of desks with added privacy. Perfect for creating study spaces and research areas in a library setting, free standing study carrels are a popular choice for libraries.
  • Table Top study carrels are a great way to transform existing desk spaces into a private study area. Because of their moveable features, they are a versatile solution for many libraries.
  • Foldable study carrels are also a great way to transform existing table top spaces into private study areas. The foldable nature of these study carrels is a great solution for libraries with limited space. Easy to move and store, these study carrels are also a popular choice.
  • Tack board study carrels come in both free standing and table top styles, but offer the additional function of a cork board or bulletin board surface. A great study tool, or research planning tool, tack boards can help organize ideas and thoughts of all types of students and library-users.
  • Multi-Sectional study carrels also come in free standing and table top styles. Another great space saver, these carrels offer multiple sections in one unit for individual study areas.

    Lounge Furnishings
  • The library is more than just a place for reference. An ideal place for study hours, leisure reading and some peace and quiet, the library requires amenities such as lounge seating, reception tables and comfortable reading areas. You can find all of these library lounge furnishings and more on CSN Library Furniture!
  • Seating is an integral component of a functioning library, and for this we offer a wide variety of reception chairs for lounge areas to meet your library's needs. In a variety of styles, from professional to functional, and an array of finishes and fabric combinations there are reception area chairs or benches that will fit your space, needs and budget.
  • Tables are another important library furnishing to consider. Side tables in lounge areas, activity tables, and general table space will make your library a more functional and comfortable place for patrons to relax, study, or work.

    Coat Racks: Creating a comfortable environment for patrons to participate in leisure reading, study hours, or research, there are some amenities that can often be overlooked. Coat racks are a great addition to your library, evoking an organized atmosphere and making the library a deinstitutionalized, comfortable, familiar place. CSN Library Furniture offers a variety of coat stands, coat racks, and coat hooks that will match your library style and budget!
    Lighting: Lighting is an extremely important factor in creating an ideal library environment. Patrons of your library come to read, study, use computers or media systems. All of these activities can cause eye strain if the library is not properly lit. Consider over head or recessed lighting for general lighting. Also remember that task lighting is an essential component of your library lighting scheme. Place banker lamps and desk lamps on tables and desks for added light, and keep accent lighting available in reception and lounge areas.
    Children's Furniture: Don't forget some of the library's biggest (or smallest!) fans. Many libraries have special sections, rooms, or even whole floors devoted to children's literature, so make sure that ample attention is also devoted to children friendly furnishings. Consider kid-sized seating and tables, activity furniture, play furniture, easels and bookstands for your children's library. The appropriate scale, durability and accessibility of children's furniture will make kids feel welcome and help foster their interest in learning and reading.

    Waste Receptacles: Keep your library a clean, well function environment. Appropriate waste receptacles for trash and recycling are an essential but often over looked component of any efficient public space, libraries including. Also consider appropriate outdoor waste receptacles and urns or ashtrays for smokers to keep things looking orderly on the exterior of the library as well.
    Taking the time to consider all of the amenities that patrons require, from trash cans to couches, lighting to coat racks, children's furniture and more, will make your library a more functional and comfortable environment for all to enjoy.
  • Material Matters: From Asian Hardwood to Tempered Glass

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    Material Matters: From Asian Hardwood to Tempered Glass

    Our Materials Glossary Tells You What You Need To Know.
    We carry furniture that is made from many different materials and is available with a multitude of finishes. This should make it easy for you to find exactly what you want, at a price that's friendly to your budget. That being said, it's useful to know a little bit about products that are commonly used in furniture construction.

    Engineered Wood/MDF
    MDF is a common abbreviation for medium density fiberboard, or engineered wood. MDF is made out of multiple wood fibers glued together under heat and pressure, and is generally very affordable and often just as durable as solid wood. Teamed with laminates and wood veneers, furniture made with MDF can imitate the look of real wood while meeting the budget requirements of most families.
    MDF offers several advantages over alternate materials, while not being too costly. It can be made with recycled materials, and possesses no grain so it can be drilled and/or cut without damaging the surface. Also, MDF is often sturdy enough to be nailed together, and yet it's light enough to be shipped cheaply and easily.

    Laminates
    Laminates consist of a layer of wood or other product, such as paper, which is applied over a wood frame and sealed with a protective layer of thermosetting resin. They are used in a wide variety of products (especially office furniture), as they can be extremely durable and stand up to daily use by many people. In addition, when adding employees - or pieces of furniture to complement what you have - you are virtually guaranteed that the finish on your products will match what you already have. Unlike real wood, laminates should not fade or have variations from piece to piece. They are also very easy to clean with just a soft cloth.

    Hardwood Solids
    Solid wood furniture is considered the best quality furniture on the market, and if you are purchasing furniture that will be in your home for a long time, it is a very smart investment. Even with wear, solid wood gains character and charm and becomes a part of your family. Solid wood furniture is usually crafted with attention to detail that includes dovetailed joints, wood on wood drawer glides, and strong protective finishes.
    Hardwood solids, in particular, are cut from the trunks of deciduous hardwood trees. Among the most popular of these are oak and maple, which are commonly used for constructing furniture and cabinetry. And don't forget, no two pieces of solid wood furniture are the same, so your furniture will be completely unique.

    Asian Hardwoods, Parawood, and Rubberwood
    Asian hardwood is also referred to as parawood, rubberwood, and tropical hardwood. Mainly from Southeast Asia, this wood is as strong as maple and is often referred to as Malaysian Oak because of its durability and strength.
    The trees used for this wood are native to the Amazon region of South America. In the 19th Century their seeds were transported to England for germination and the resulting seedlings were brought to Malaysia and planted permanently (thus the name Asian hardwood).
    Furthermore, the trees are used to produce latex for 25-30 years prior to being cut down for furniture construction. This ecologically friendly process has spawned the name rubberwood.

    Wood Veneers
    Wood veneers are constructed of thin slices of real wood which are adhered to the surface of a piece of furniture to give it the glowing appearance of real wood. Veneers can be laid over less costly and lighter materials to save production and shipping costs, or added to a very expensive piece to showcase a particularly beautiful grain pattern. Any smooth and flat material can have veneer laid over it, making this an extremely versatile and popular method of constructing furniture.
    The slices used for veneering are generally trimmed from the most attractive parts of the wood source. A saw was originally used for this procedure, but is now commonly replaced by a stationary knife. This reduces the dust that is caused by sawing, and also allows more slices to be cut from each individual log.

    Marble Veneers
    Marble veneers are similar to wood veneers, but consist of thin slices of marble that are precisely sawn from solid marble blocks. It is an economically ideal way to avoid the fragility of marble without sacrificing its beauty. Marble veneer is also popular in architecture, and can be found as decoration on ancient Roman palaces as well as modern-day furniture.

    Wrought Iron
    Wrought iron means "worked iron" in Old English. Wrought iron refers to metal that is hammered or bent into shape as opposed to being cast or poured at a foundry. The result is a metal that has a roughed up surface as opposed to the machine-made smooth look of alternate metal products. Because of this coarse surface, wrought iron is able to retain a thicker layer of finish than smoother metal.
    Working metal by hand has been done for over 5,000 years, to make functional items such as furniture, as well as art. The wrought iron of today most commonly consists of mild steel, which was discovered in 1856 and is made by melting cast iron and removing the carbon and slag.

    Tempered Glass
    Tempered glass can be made in one of two ways, both of which produce very similar results. The first is by subjecting the glass to a special heat-treatment in which it is heated to about 680

    Massage Chair Buying Guide

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    Massage Chair Buying Guide

    What You Want to Know About Buying a Massage Chair
    Why Buy Massage Chairs Online?
    If you have ever sat in a massage chair, you know how comfortable and relaxing they can be. What is not relaxing is a pushy salesman pressuring you into making an immediate purchase. By buying online you can avoid that discomfort and pressure. We provide all the information you need to make a decision in purchasing a massage chair at the click of a button. We offer information guides that discuss specific massage techniques that chairs feature, what health benefits result from daily massages, a glossary of terms and warranty information. You can feel free to browse this information at your own leisure and make the right decision on your own time.
    Another important advantage of buying online is the selection. Most stores only feature one or two particular brands of massage chairs. We feature a wide variety of massage chairs from very well known brands such as Omega Massage, Panasonic, and Interactive Health featuring iJoy. We offer you selections combined with detailed information, which gives you the complete package in your buying decision without the hassle of a salesman.

    What Massage Chair is Right for Me?
    Every massage chair offers something different than the next and is unique for a particular reason. It is important to know what exactly you are looking for in a massage chair. We offer massage chairs that range in technology, from basic massage chairs to the newest and most involved on the market. Depending on how much you want to spend and what massage techniques you are looking for, you will be able to make the right decision on the right massage chair.
    Take a minute to read over some of our guides to gain a better understanding of the terms involved with massage chairs. Discover what it means, for you, when you sit down to relax in a particular chair. We feature a special comparison tool on our site to help you distinguish the small differences between massage chairs.

    What are the Differences in Massage Chairs?
    The main differences between individual massage chairs are the massage techniques they offer. More advanced chairs will offer a wider variety of techniques at several speeds while basic chairs may only offer a few techniques at one speed. Another difference between chairs is the amount of pre-programmed massages that come standard with the chair. Most chairs break down pre-programs by upper, lower, and full body. Chairs in the ultimate luxury category may even offer optical body scanning, a technology that scans your back and automatically finds and memorizes your acupoints.
    Small differences between massage chairs might be the upholstery, physical design, and whether or not the chair manually or electronically reclines. Massage chairs come upholstered in fabric, microfiber, leathermatch and premium leather. Certain manufacturers only distinguish some of their models based on upholstery or small accents within the physical design, such as partial wooden bases.

    Leather Glossary: Know Your Leather Terminology

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    Leather Glossary: Know Your Leather Terminology

    Purchasing leather furniture should be an interesting and enjoyable process. To ensure that our customers can make informed confident choices, we have created a glossary of leather terms to simplify your search.

    Aniline Dying: The process of coloring leather using non-toxic aniline dyes. Aniline dye has no pigment, which allows for the natural signatures of leather to shine through.
    Antiquing: A method of aging the appearance of a hide that is usually done by hand.
    Bating: Process usually preformed at the same time as deliming, used to impart softness, stretch, and flexibility to the leather.
    Breathability: How the leather adjusts to the temperature and wicks away moisture. A characteristic of full grain leather.
    Buffing: The treatment of leather using sand paper to create appearances such as nubuck, or to eliminate unsightly imperfections and correct the grain. The effect is a more consistent, albeit synthetic, finish.
    Chrome Tannage: A one bath tanning process using mostly chromium salts. It creates softer and more pliable leather with a higher thermal stability.
    Combination Tannage: Leathers tanned with chrome and vegetable tanning agents, resulting in both softness and body in the hides.
    Corrected Grain: When the surface of the hide is sanded or buffed to minimize flaws, then pigmented and embossed with a new grain.
    Crocking: The result of poorly dyed leather, in which color begins to rub off of the furniture.
    Distressed: Artificially created signs of "natural" aging.
    Eight-Way Hand Tying: A labor-intensive type of furniture construction in which hardened steel coil springs are held in place by an intricate web of stake wires, helical springs and eight way hand ties which are secured to the wood frame. This construction is extremely popular because of its durability (fabric wears better on eight-way hand tying) and comfort.
    Embossing: The process of minimizing defects in a hide and/or adding creative touches to the finished hide. The natural grain of the leather can be altered by etching, engraving, or electro-typed plates.
    Enhanced Grain: The process of creating a uniform grain pattern by altering the natural texture of leather.
    Finishing: The processes of treating a hide by adding multiple coats of dye that can enhance color, provide scratch protection, and resist staining. The extent of dying and the dye that is used affect the stiffness of the leather: aniline treatment results in soft, natural-looking leather.
    Full Aniline: An aniline dyed and finished hide will have no color adjustment and all natural markings will be visible.
    Full Top Grain: Premium leather that has been aniline-dyed but otherwise unaltered. The natural markings that remain provide the unique appeal of leather.
    Grain: The natural or embossed pattern and texture of the surface of a hide.
    Hand: A term used in the leather industry to describe the softness or fullness of upholstery leather.
    Hand-Antiqued: The application by hand of a darker color over a lighter color in order to create a unique aged effect.
    Leather Match: An alternative to 100% leather, leather match combines top-grain leather seating with skillfully matched vinyl on the sides and back of the furniture.

    Machine-Antiqued: The application by machine of a darker color over a lighter color in order to create a dramatic and creative appeal.
    Microfiber: A very popular leather alternative consisting of ultra-fine manufactured fibers that are easier to clean and maintain than genuine leather or suede. Microfiber is finer than cotton and even silk, and offers superior hand and softness.
    Milling: The process of naturally softening the leather by tumbling it in a drum.
    Natural Markings: The natural variations on hides such as wrinkles, scars, scratches, stretch marks, and discolorations. Most genuine leather will have visible markings, which is indicative of its natural origins.
    Nubuck: Top grain aniline leather that has had the upper layer removed via buffing or sanding, to create a nap effect. Due to the lack of a protective top layer, nubuck is prone to stains and requires more care than other leathers.
    Patina: A luster or shine that aniline dyed leather will develop over time and with use.
    Pigment Finish: The coloring of a hide with opaque pigments. Colored hides are more uniform and fade-resistant.
    Plating: A smooth, glossy finish created by pressing stainless steel plates into the hide with varying degrees of heat and pressure.
    Protected Aniline: Aniline dyed leather which has been pigmented to ensure color consistency and stain resistance.
    Pull-Up: The burst of lighter color that occurs when aniline leather is pulled tightly or stretched during the upholstering process as a result of the oil and waxes in the leather.
    Pure Aniline: Leather which receives its color from aniline dyes with no topical applications, such that natural signatures of leather are visible.
    Sauvage: A two-tone or marbled effect that adds depth and character to the leather. It may be created through tumbling, printing or painting the hide.
    Sinuous Spring: This construction features steel S-shaped spring components fastened to the frame from front to back using sturdy eight-gauge wire closely spaced and reinforced with horizontal steel supports.
    Soaking: The process of treating raw hides with water. Helps restore the moisture lost during curing and storage, and helps get rid of excess salt and debris on the hide.
    Split Grain: The second layer of a hide that has been split from the top grain, then finished, usually with pigmented dyes. Split hides are less flexible than top grain, and are used for shoes, clothing, and it is used to manufacture more economical furniture.
    Tanning: A chemical process which turns a raw hide into non-perishable workable leather.
    Top Coat: Synthetic transparent polyurethane resins applied as a clear protective coating to make leather more resistant. May be gloss or matte depending on the style and type of leather.
    Top Grain: When a hide is split into layers, the surface layer is referred to as top grain. Top grain is the most durable part of a hide split due to the strength of the fibers.
    Vegetable Tanning: The use of vegetable tannins to convert rawhide into leather. Provides more firmness and a greater body to the leather as opposed to chromium tanning.
    Vegetable Tannins: Tannins that are extracted from the wood, bark, and leaves of trees and are used during the Vegetable Tanning process.
    Wet blue: The light blue color that a hide turns as a result of the chrome salts used during the chromium tanning process.
    Weight: The weight of leather can be measured in millimeters as a thickness or as a weight in ounces per square foot. Thicker leather offers maximum protection and durability, whereas thinner leather offers more softness and comfort.

    Furniture Maintenance

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    Furniture Maintenance

    FURNITURE MAINTENANCE The guidelines for furniture maintenance are pretty simple. If the furniture is used wisely and handled carefully, it will need very little in the way of routine maintenance. But in cleaning and polishing furniture surfaces and hardware, and in re-upholstering, some well-intentioned caretakers introduce damage. In fact, a lot of what furniture conservators do is respond to destructive maintenance practices.

    Cleaning Surfaces
  • For the most part, maintaining furniture simply means keeping it clean, carefully. Wood furniture usually needs to be cleaned only when there is a buildup of wax or dirt. Only unfinished wood, painted wood, or wood with a sturdy finish should be cleaned. The finish on giltwood is often applied with a water-soluble size, or adhesive; it should be carefully dusted, not cleaned, or cleaned only by a professional.
  • Before cleaning wood or coatings, the first and most important step is to evaluate the surface and make sure that the surface or coating is stable and not apt to be damaged by the contact required in cleaning and polishing. If the surface is unstable, the polishing could knock off loose portions. Damaged surfaces should be referred to a conservator.
  • After the soundness of the surface has been established, the next step is to find out what the dirt is and what the surface is. If you can't determine these exactly, find out what removes the dirt without affecting the surface underneath it. Often, dust can be removed with the careful wipe of a damp cloth. Oily dirt or waxy residue can be removed with a mild detergent and water solution or with mineral spirits. However, it is vital to make sure that the cleaning solution does not affect the underlying surface. Even when you determine a cleaning method that works successfully, proceed cautiously.
  • Loose dust on the surface can be removed with a soft, lint-free cloth, gently rubbed over the surface. Dust is an abrasive and can scratch the surface, so be careful. Uneven areas can be dusted with a clean, natural bristle paint or artist's brush. Again, do not try to dust a surface that is severely deteriorated. Cloth fibers can catch and tear away pieces of the finish, veneer or loose parts. Even rough edges can splinter. Carving, fretwork, and other delicate work can be dusted with a soft bristle brush, with a vacuum cleaner host held close enough to take in the dust one it is dislodged by the brush. Do not use feather dusters, as they can scratch and pull off loose fragments of veneer.
  • Surfaces in good condition but with a heavy accumulation of dust can be cleaned very carefully with a vacuum cleaner. Use the lowest suction available and the round brush attachment. Don't let the metal or hard plastic parts of the vacuum bump into the surfaces; they can scratch the finish or wood. Much damage, in fact, occurs as the feet and bases of pieces are hit with the vacuum cleaner.
  • Dirt that cannot be simply vacuumed off may be removed with cleaners mixed in a dilute solution, but only if the finish is in good solid condition. First, determine which solvent removes the dirt without removing the finish. Those to be tested include mineral spirits (white spirit), paint thinner, and naphtha. Second, test a small spot in an obscure area with the solution on a cotton swab. All areas that appear to be a different coating or material must be tested separately. Only if the solution does not damage the test area should it be used to clean the rest of the piece.
  • For finished wood, dampen a cotton cloth with the solvent or cleaning solution, and gently rub over a small area at a time. Avoid using too much liquid, as they can cause damage. Then, wipe the cleaned surface with a clean dampened cloth to remove any cleanser residues, followed by a dry soft cloth.
  • Following simple cleaning, further protection and aesthetic enhancement can be obtained through the application of a stable, hard furniture polish, such as a hard paste wax. The hard wax surface can be dusted more easily because it will be more smooth, and the dust will not be imbedded in it as it would in an unwaxed surface. Waxing need only occur infrequently because the wax itself is not readily removed and it does not degrade chemically. Waxing too often can result in a built-up, clouded surface.
  • This simple approach avoids the problems created by popular methods of "furniture polishing" - such as sprays and oily polishes - that may result in cumulative damage to furniture. Many polishes and residues continue to be a vexing problem for furniture conservators, as they can build up over time and with numerous applications, trapping and adhering airborne dirt onto the surface.

    Cleaning Upholstery
  • Dusting upholstery can be accomplished by a vacuum cleaner. Place a soft screen on the surface to prevent any snagging or abrasion from the vacuum tip, and using a brush attachment, carefully vacuum the surface.
  • Stains and other damage to upholstery should be referred to an upholstery or textile conservator for further treatment.

    Metal Hardware
  • One never-ending concern of furniture caretakers is for the hardware, including handles, brackets, hinges and escutcheons attached, usually with nails, to the outer surface of a piece. The metal in hardware might be brass, silver, gold-plated bronze, depending upon the style, date and country of origin. Contemporary hardware attachments sometimes have a clear lacquer finish that gives them a shiny appearance. Antique hardware is also sometimes coated by restorers and conservators to eliminate the need for constant polishing. There is currently a lot of debate in the conservation field as to whether metal hardware should be lacquered or polished. Neither is an option is there is evidence of an original varnish or if abrasive polishing would remove some other original surface treatment.
  • Furniture hardware may become dirty and tarnished with use and exposure to the atmosphere. In such cases, polishing it can be justified. However, even this step is sometimes a poorly informed one. One common example of the damage is created by polishing hardware supposed to be brass, when it is really gilded bronze that is simply dirty. Polishing removes the gold, damaging the surface of a beautiful sculptural element.
  • If you choose to polish, remove the hardware from the piece, noting the exact location of each screw and nut. Polishing the hardware while on the piece damages the surrounding finish and also allows polishes to run beneath the hardware that can further damage both the metal hardware and the finish.
  • Clean hardware carefully with a 50/50 mix of acetone and alcohol to remove any dirt and oil residue, scrubbing the piece with a soft bristle brush. After drying, the surface can be polished with a fine, lint-free cloth of felt block charged with a very fine abrasive, such as calcium carbonate or jeweler's micro polish, in an alcohol or mineral spirits slurry. Commercial polishes can contribute to the deterioration of the hardware, as they frequently contain harsh cleaners that corrode the metal.
  • If the hardware cannot be removed safely from the furniture it can be polished and coated on the object provided the following precautions are scrupulously followed. First, the surface of the wood and varnish must be completely protected. Acetate sheets, such as those found in office supply stores, can be notched and slid under the hardware from both sides to form an overlapping barrier. Without this precaution, attempts to polish the hardware will likely end in disaster.
  • Since this hardware cannot be doused with the acetone and alcohol mixture, cleaning must be done by dipping swabs in the solution, then rubbing the metal surface with the swab. Polishing must also be done more carefully, perhaps on a smaller scale.
  • After polishing, remove all residues. The surface of the hardware that has been removed from the furniture can be easily coated with a transparent resin before the hardware is replaced on the piece. Particular care must be used in applying any coating when the hardware cannot be removed, to make sure that no protective varnish for the hardware gets on the furniture piece itself.
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