We hope you are delighted with your furniture from Orchid. Your furniture is low maintenance and will bring pleasure for many years with a little understanding of the behaviour of wood and the treatment it deserves as outlined below. The lacquering process used is the same for the Chinese antiques and the reproduction pieces. The lacquer is hand mixed and many layers are applied using traditional cotton wadding and bamboo brushes. If you have purchased several pieces it is possible that the colours will not match exactly and the finish can also vary, this is the nature of hand-made and hand-finished products and gives them their individual charm.
Should you have any questions or concerns, in addition to the points below, or about the provenance or care of your furniture then please do not hesitate to contact Orchid.
Effects of Heat and Light
The humidity level in Orchid’s wooden furniture is measured at source, where the wood is kiln dried to extract as much moisture as possible. However, on arrival in the UK’s drier climate, occasionally some movement or splitting can occur.
This drying effect can increase considerably if the wood is placed close to a heat source, air-conditioning or in direct sunlight.
Placing furniture in direct sunlight may also cause fading, and the drying effect of the heat is likely to cause wood movement or splitting. Generally once repaired the wood will settle and no further problems should occur.*
It is possible to retain some humidity by placing a small bowl of water near to, or inside, the piece of furniture.
Chinese furniture traditionally has "floating panels" (usually the tops and sides of cabinets). These are constructed by putting a separate centre panel within the narrow border on the top surface or side of a cabinet or table. This panel left free of fixings or glue, allowing it to move with any substantial alteration in ambient humidity or temperature. This is supposed to happen to prevent cracking or splitting, and is not a fault in the furniture.
Chinese lacquer is generally easy to care for. A soft duster will remove fingerprints – however the following advice will help prolong the life of the lacquer.
Use a spray furniture polish, this contains silicone which helps disguise superficial marks and will “fill" light scratches.
Wipe up spills, as soon as they occur, with a soft, slightly damp cloth using only warm water, not detergents.
Bring back the original colour and shine by occasionally using scratch remover for car paint-work, then finish off with car wax for a wonderful polish.
The hand finished, traditional white lacquer may “yellow” under some light and heat conditions. This is unavoidable due to the natural ingredients of the lacquer.
* Please Note: Under-floor heating can cause extreme shrinkage to wooden furniture including Chinese elm, fir and za wood (which is why special wood is used for floors over this type of heating). Whilst we can facilitate repairs, we will not cover costs associated with damage due to this type of heat source.