Curing and Durability:
When you receive your furniture, the finish is about 80% cured. The curing process is similar to cement, it is hardened, protective, and ready to use right away. However, it takes an additional 3-4 weeks for the final hardening, or curing, of the surface.
There will be a natural movement of the wood. For example, a tabletop will display a small gap at certain times of the year, and then it will close back up. This is a normal occurrence for a natural wood product.
Abrasion and Scratching:
Catalyzed varnish is tough, but not bullet proof. There will be scratches and dents along the way overtime if you use your furniture, but there are ways to avoid this. Do not slide items across the furniture, get in the habit to lift and move. Sliding dishes or cups that have a rough bottom will scratch the surface. Make sure to place soft protective pads underneath vases, dishes, lamps, and any other items. Use place mats under your place settings to keep your table finish looking beautiful. Keep your furniture free from dust. Dust particles, while small, can be abrasive. Remember, this is a durable varnish finish, but even the toughest automobile finish will scratch from abrasion.
Spills and Water Rings:
Blot up spills immediately. The surface finish provides a tight web of protection that makes most spills which would ruin a normal lacquer finish, not a problem. However, moisture for an extended period of time can cause slight discolorations that, with time, will in most cases disappear. Try to avoid this by blotting up any spills as soon as they happen.
Avoid placing extremely hot items on the surface, especially for the first 3-4 weeks. Never take anything hot from the oven or microwave and place it directly on your furniture. The average heat from a microwave is 211 degrees F. Catalyzed varnish is tested to withstand 140 degrees F. Get in the habit of using trivets or good hot pads under your serving dishes to prevent any problems on your finish.
This is an especially natural occurrence with natural or a light color wood finish. Make sure to rotate place mats and accessories to prevent uneven aging when exposed to natural sunlight. Remember to rotate table leaves as well. Table leaves that are always stored away from the sunlight will not age the same as the rest of your table.
Cleaning and Polishing:
Care for your heirloom quality furniture with Heirloom Essentials Fine Furniture Polish & Spotless Cleanser. (Sold at the store and will soon be available online.) It is formulated specifically to maintain the beauty and luster of furniture that has been finished with a catalyzed varnish system, but works great on all finishes and wood species. Clean your furniture regularly with H.E. Spotless Furniture and Glass Cleaner to remove dust, fingerprints, grease, and food residues. Spotless can be used on wood, glass, vinyl, and many other hard surfaces. Polish once a week, or as often as you like with H.E. Fine Furniture Polish to maintain the rich luster of your furniture. Available in a wide variety of fragrances. Use no harsh chemicals or cleaners. Any other store bought wood polish is not advisable to use. Instead, use a dampened cloth with water to clean and polish your furniture to avoid any problems to the finish.
Products to Avoid:
Please do not clean or polish your wood furniture, cabinetry, or flooring with products containing silicone, wax, bleach, or ammonia. These additives will definitely damage the varnish with repetitive usage. Wax buildup on varnished wood will react to moisture, heat, and solvents causing blushing or hazing that would not typically occur on a clean surface. Silicone will prevent varnished wood from ever being refinished again in the future. With repeated use Ammonia and Bleach will soften any finish, making it soft and sticky.