JC Wood FAQ

1. How do I choose the right company?

2. Is it worth restoring this piece of furniture?

3. Can you match my color?

4. How do I care for my new furniture?

5. What products do we use?

6. What is your warranty?

7. Is this piece an antique?

8. Do you pick up and deliver?

9. Should I refinish or restore my antique furniture?

10. What is the difference between open grain and closed grain?

1. How do I choose the right company?

For over twenty years, JC Wood has specialized in wood refinishing for consumers and businesses throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. JC Wood guarantees all work and uses only top quality materials from companies that stand behind their products. Our skilled technicians handle all types of finishing and refinishing projects. We offer a complete range of finishes, from hand wax to catalyzed lacquers. We can provide, design, and recommended custom finishes for your projects.

Important Considerations When Choosing a
Restoration Company

  JC Wood Competitor
2,000,000 in liability insurance Yes ?
500,000 in workman's comp insurance Yes ?
Time in business Over 25
years
?
Conforms to all EPA guidelines Yes ?
8,000 Square ft. plant that can handle big jobs Yes ?
Full service with our own employees Yes ?
Full time office support Yes ?
References available upon request Yes ?
Licensed and bonded Yes ?
Uniformed teams Yes ?
Only name brand materials Yes ?
1 year warranty against defects in material and workmanship Yes ?

2. Is it worth restoring this piece of furniture?

We can help you answer this question based on how you answer some of the following questions:

  • Do you like the style of the furniture?
  • Does it go with your décor?
  • Does it fit in your room?
  • Is it the right color?
  • Is it well made?
  • If it breaks at any time can it be repaired?
  • Can it be replaced easily?
  • Does the item have a historical significance to you or others?

A well built piece of furniture that is properly restored can last a lifetime.

3. Can you match my color?

Yes we can. In fact, this is one of our strengths. We custom mix our own stains, glazes and solid colors. If you provide us with a sample, we will match it. If you only have a paint chip, we will match it. We love a challenge, so be creative!

4. How do I care for my new furniture?

Causes of Damages & Guidelines for Care
Wood and upholstery furniture and fixtures can be maintained for many years provided that some basic care and attention is given to their preservation.

The most common causes of damage to furniture and wooden fixtures are improper handling, display, cleaning, and environmental conditions.

Handling
A primary cause of damage to furniture is careless handling and usage. With some basic precautions, you can prolong the life of your furniture and wooden fixtures by preventing the damage due to routine moving and usage.

When moving furniture and large wooden fixtures, remove all belts, buckles and jewelry that could scratch the surface of the object. Furniture should always be grasped at its most sturdy areas. For example, chairs should be grasped by the seat, not by the chair back or arms. Furniture should be lifted and not dragged. Dragging can place undue stress on the legs and feet of a chair or table.

Every effort should be made to protect furniture surfaces. Drink coasters or glass tabletops can help prolong the life of finishes on tables that are routinely used. If glass tops are used, place felt pad or rubber bumpers between the glass and the tabletop to prevent the glass from sticking to the furniture finish.

Environment
Light exposure - Wood finishes, stains and some paints are susceptible to darkening, fading or softening from exposure to high levels of light. Excessive light can accelerate the aging and degradation of finishes resulting in a cracked, brittle or "alligator" appearance. Furniture should be displayed and stored in an area with minimal light and away from direct sunlight.

Temperature and humidity - Wood is a porous material that readily absorbs water when humidity levels are high. Absorption of moisture causes wood to swell while a dry environment causes wood to shrink. Fluctuations in humidity and temperature levels can lead to the formation of structural cracks, lifting of veneer and inlays, gaps in joints and the weakening of adhesives. Therefore, damage can be minimized by avoiding extremes in temperature and humidity.

While precise control of temperature and humidity is desirable, it is not always practical in homes. Homeowners can prevent damage by ensuring that furniture is kept away from heat sources such as furnace vents, fireplaces, warm lights and direct sunlight.

The recommended temperature and humidity levels for the storage and display of furniture are as follows:

Winter Temperature 70º F
  Relative humidity 35-45%
   
Summer Temperature 70-75º F
  Relative humidity 55-65%

Cleaning
The following suggestions are steps to routinely clean and maintain your wood furniture and fixtures. The procedures recommended are only for fixtures that have finishes that are in good condition (not flaking) and do not have lifted or damaged veneer, inlays or gilding. JC Wood recommends that a professional handle any extensive cleaning of severely damaged or darkened finishes, porous or unfinished wood.

1.The first step in cleaning should always be dust removal. Dust should be removed using a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner nozzle with a soft brush attachment. This is recommended particularly for fixtures that have rough or unfinished surfaces that could be snagged by dusting with a cloth.

2. The use of a diluted detergent is the safest method of cleaning if wet cleaning is necessary and the finish is in good condition (unfinished wood should never be wet cleaned). The detergent should be diluted to a concentration of approximately 1% in water. Gently apply the solution to the surface using cotton balls or soft cloth diapers. Cotton swabs can be used to get into hard to reach crevices and ornately carved areas.

After cleaning, remove residual detergent by carefully wiping with cotton balls or a cloth diaper that has been dipped in distilled water. The cloth or cotton balls should be damp but not wet. Do not allow water to remain on the surface as it can damage the finish. Use an absorbent sponge to blot excess water from the surface.

3. After the surface is completely dry, you may apply a high quality paste wax with a rag or brush.

Upon drying (approx.15min) the waxed surface should be lightly buffed with a diaper or a clean, soft shoe polishing brush. Wax should only be applied occasionally (once a year or so to avoid heavy wax buildup). If the finish becomes dull between applications of wax it can be buffed with a rag or shoe brush to restore the luster of the finish.

4. There are many commercial cleaners and polishes available for the care of furniture and antiques. While some of these products may be genuinely safe to use on antiques, it is difficult to assess the long-term effect of these products. Manufacturers generally guard their "ever changing" formulas and thus it is not possible to recommend any specific commercial product.

Many popular formulations that contain tung oil or silicone products have proven to age poorly. Products of this type should be avoided since they can darken or become opaque with age, resulting in a dark, dull and often irreparable finish. J C Wood recommends a simple liquid lemon oil polish available at our shop.

Pest Damage
Insects that can cause damage to furniture include carpet beetles and powder post beetles. Routinely inspecting furniture and knowing the signs of insect damage can prolong the life of your wood furniture and fixtures.

Carpet beetles generally subsist on protein-based materials that are often present in adhesives. Carpet beetles are commonly found at furniture joints and in drawers. The presence of tiny black beetles (2 mm in size), small worms or furry carcasses are an indication of infestation.

Powder post beetles characteristically bore small holes (approx. 2 mm in diameter) into wooden materials. The holes are usually the first visible evidence of infestation.

Furniture should be routinely moved and examined for infestation. Insects hide in inconspicuous places such as the underside of legs and drawers. Therefore, the underside of your furniture will need to be inspected. If evidence of infestation if found, place the item in a plastic bag and keep it isolated until it can be examined by a professional.

5. What products do we use?

Our most common finish coat is a pre-catalyzed lacquer that is sprayed on with state-of-the-art finishing equipment. Our coatings are manufactured by M L Campbell. These coatings are extremely stain and wear resistant.

6. What is your warranty?

Our work is warranted for one year against defects in material and workmanship.

7. Is this piece an antique?

The word antique is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary "as an item that has value because of its age". The word antique is used by people often and it means something different to each of them. We have seen furniture built in 1850 that had a low resale value because it was common to that era. However, we have also seen furniture built in 1960 by a highly collectable manufacturer that has sold for 10 times its original cost.

Trusting your antiques to quality experts in antique restoration can make a significant difference in its value. We can help you understand more about your furniture. However, determining if something is an antique is a question that can be answered in many different ways. The more appropriate question to ask is if the value of my furniture will be preserved or increase in value with the right repair or restoration. Remember, when looking for a finishing expert to restore you valuable furniture, experience counts.

8. Do you pick up and deliver?

Yes, we have our own trucks with professional drivers covering the entire Chicago metropolitan area.

9. Should I refinish or restore my antique furniture?

For most antique furniture collectors, the desire to utilize their furniture while protecting and preserving the historical value presents a dilemma. The two objectives are conflicting, however JC Wood's expert technicians always recommend the option that will maintain and improve the value of your furniture. When making repair and restoration recommendations, your needs and desire concerning how you wish to use your furniture are important.

Structural Repairs
Proper repairs to antique furniture should be inconspicuous. In most cases hot or liquid hide glue is preferred over modern commercial products for adhering loose fragments and veneer. The use of metal attachments such as screws and mending plates should be avoided. They can cause cracking by constricting the movement of the wood. JC Wood is careful to use materials similar to what was used when the piece was originally manufactured.

Finish
Antique furniture collectors should consider maintaining the original finishes on their furniture and antiques whenever possible. Original finishes are considered part of the historical value of an antique and preferred over refinished, or restored antiques. However, in cases where there has been water, fire or moving damage, refinishing may be required to improve the value of your furniture. JC Wood's experienced technicians will evaluate the condition of the finish and recommend the best alternative.

Record of Repair
JC Wood can provide a written record of any repair or restoration performed on your antique furniture upon request.

10. What is the difference between open grain and closed grain?

Definition
Wood texture

Open grain wood finish (open pore)
This is a finish that lets the physical texture of the wood remain visible and can actually be felt when a finger nail is lightly drawn across it. This finish can look more natural on some woods and hides some minor scratches and scuffs. It is easier to care for than a closed grain finish.

Closed grain finish (closed pore)
This is finish that is applied in many coats that builds an even film that is much smoother to the eye and the touch. When a fingernail is drawn across it there is little or no resistance. Closed grain finish (closed pore) looks more elegant but can be scratched or scuffed more easily. This finish requires more careful handling.

Some woods have a deep texture, such as oak or mahogany, that require more time and material to close the grain. Maple is an example of a wood that is smooth by nature and requires less effort to achieve a closed grain finish. Both open and closed grain wood can have different sheens from flat to gloss.