First thing’s first…Finishing
Finishing a product upon receipt can save you time, money and frustration. Osborne Wood Products highly recommends that every product shipped should be inspected and finished upon receiving.
There is nothing more disheartening or frustrating than to find a fault in the project you’ve been working so hard to accomplish. Woodworking and cabinetry is a form of art. And with this art comes the heart and soul. We dedicate our time and put a piece of our character into our work. But then we find that the wood has cracked. (That hurt a little didn’t it?).
So how do we avoid this catastrophe? Is it even possible to ship solid wood pieces across the world, or even the country, without the environment taking its harsh toll? Yes, and at Osborne Wood Products we strive to make that possible.
Osborne Production and Warehousing Environment
When you place an order at Osborne, either by phone or online, your product comes from one of two places: the manufacturing shop or the warehouse. Let’s begin with the shop:
Perhaps you are familiar with Osborne’s lightning fast turnaround time, allowing your items to ship the day you order or the following business day. What you may not know is that those items may not have been made until after your order was placed. That’s right! Osborne produces a large number of turnings daily, as the items are ordered. This allows customers to receive consistent products that have had the least amount of time in a warehouse environment as possible. The items are then shrink wrapped, boxed, and shipped to you.
But what about the warehouse? Osborne works around the clock to provide the ideal environment for stock wood blanks (that will be turned upon order) and finished products. This control is critical, as moisture content is a major factor in compromising wood products. The ideal temperature for wood is 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity level of 42%.
Adding Shrink Wrap to the Mix
If you’ve ordered a Hard Maple leg from Osborne Wood Products your item most likely arrived in shrink wrap. Upon receiving an item the automatic response may be to rip open the shrink wrap and take in the essence of the wooden piece. However, the shrink wrap is more than an added shipping protection, it is a powerful guard against moisture.
Moisture is an enemy to your wood products, exposing the smallest of natural weaknesses through stress and an uneven expansion. Wood products are most susceptible to stress at the glue joints or in certain grain structures.
Shrink wrap slows down the moisture content going in and out of the wood. It is a shield, of sorts, from damage and the effects of moisture and temperature. The shrink wrap should remain in tact as long as possible prior to finishing to allow for ample protection for the piece. Note that even the slightest cut or gash in the wrap will destroy the integrity of the shrink wrap. Therefore, best practice is to finish the product immediately after receiving it.
Time is of the Essence
From the time the shrink wrap is removed, how long do you have to finish the product? That depends on your environment. But because most of us do not maintain the absolute perfect heat and humidity conditions for wood products in our homes the best action is to finish the product immediately after removing the shrink wrap.
A general rule of thumb is: “the harder the wood or the larger the panel the more vulnerable the piece will be.” For hardwoods and large pieces it is essential to pay extra attention to detail and finish the products as quickly as possible.
Finished Wood Products
Upon finishing the products it is tempting to think of the piece as being invincible. Keep in mind that under extreme changes it is still possible for finished wood to crack. For example, placing wood items in the vicinity of a wood burning stove or next to a heat vent puts the pieces in a very compromising and potentially hazardous environment. Avoid placing the items where extreme heat and temperature changes are prevalent.
The Role of Wood Finish
Wood finish not only enhances the beauty of the product, but protects the piece from rapid humidity changes. Leon Osborne, CEO of Osborne Wood Products, explains finishing this way, “Wood is made to breathe and at a uniform rate. Finish is the key to controlling the rate at which wood is allowed to breathe.”
Leon continues by offering this advice to those interested in using unfinished wood components: “Having success in finishing is a product of paying attention to detail. Apply finish according to the manufacturers suggestions and learn from other hobbyists and professionals. Even a first timer can have excellent success and create a beautiful masterpiece to be handed down to family and loved ones, unscathed by the time or environment.”