With natural materials such as wood, there is always going to be some natural movement when exposed to differing temperatures and environments, which may cause some cracking in the wood. So, there will always be some need to maintain your furniture, however small it may be. (don’t worry when this happens as this is completely natural).This is why we have put together a guide to make it as easy for you as possible to upkeep your new furniture.Why natural wood?We thought it was important to mention the reason we use natural materials as opposed to MDF or chipboard, wherever possible, is that every piece of wood has its own character and we wanted each piece of furniture to have its own identity and individuality.Principle is another reason we have remained using natural wood compared to many other companies in the industry today. It’s natural, sustainable, renewable, versatile and the manmade version just doesn’t quite cut it for us.OakTo ensure your oak stands the test of time, follow the below step by step process:Firstly, the surface will need a little clean with a damp cloth followed by a once over with a dry cloth.The wood should then be sanded in the direction of the grain, never across it. It’s important to note that the grade of sandpaper you use will have a great effect on the final look, so ensure to use the same grade throughout to ensure a consistent finish. We suggest a grit of 120 for the first sand.To remove all the excess dust from sanding, a vacuum cleaner can be used or a brush with fairly tough bristles. Then wipe with a dry cloth until all traces of wood dustings are gone. The preparation part is really important, otherwise the dust particles will become trapped, leaving you with a grainy texture and forming a barrier that will prevent the varnish from working.Now comes the application. Simply apply the oil (for kitchen islands/butchers blocks) varnish (for vanity units) to the surface (any shop bought wood/oak varnish is suitable) and leave the oil/varnish to dry.Remove all excess oil/varnish (again in the direction of the grain) for an even sheen and do so with a fresh, clean cloth. If this part isn’t done thoroughly, a layer can be left that won’t actually provide extra protection but instead could make the surface less durable and more prone to marking.For oil-based units: A second and final coat should be applied (without a further sand) 12-24 hours after the initial coat.For varnished-based units: Following the initial coat, a second sanding of the surface should be undertaken, with a grit of 240, to remove any last fragments of roughness and then any excess dust removed as per the above process.For varnished-based units: Finally, a second coat of the varnish is required to add that final layer of protection and leave to dry.Touching up the paintworkFor small scuffsIf your paintwork is slightly marked or scuffed for any reason, lightly sand the area with a 240 grit and then simply wipe away the excess dust with a damp cloth and then go over with a dry cloth. You will then require an artist’s paintbrush to touch up the area with a small amount of paint, aiming to spread evenly. Allow the paint to dry before applying a second coat, if you think it is needed.For chips/dentsIf a small chunk has been taken out as opposed to a small mark/scuff, a little more work will be required. Sand the area with a 120 grit sandpaper and then wipe away any excess dust with a damp cloth and then go over with a dry cloth. If the chip is fairly deep, you may need to use some wood filler to fill the area (use the instructions provided on the wood filler suppliers information pack regarding application). Once the wood filler is dried, be sure to sand the area again to remove any roughness and unevenness. Then simply follow the same steps above to complete.