Changes in the relative humidity – especially sudden changes – are the biggest concern for wood furniture. Experts suggest that the ideal range of temperature for wood furniture is 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels kept between 40 and 60 percent. If exposed to relative humidity in excess of 70%, wood may swell causing the furniture and finishes to crack. Wood furniture will dry out and crack if the relative humidity remains below 40% for an extended period of time. It may be necessary to add a humidifier in some environments to maintain the beauty of your furniture.
The following linked article is a resource to better understand the movement of wood and how it relates to the moisture content within the wood. Most professionals in the carpentry field understand that wood does move, however this article helps predict wood movement and explains the variables that impact these changes. There are a variety of factors discussed, including the width of the wood, grain orientation, wood species, moisture content of wood upon delivery, humidity inside and outside of the structure and the impact of applied finish limiting but not stopping movement. This comprehensive articles addresses the common scenarios that increase the risk of movement. In addition, some common myths on the subject are dispelled.
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