Stabilizing Wet Furniture and Wood
Facts about wood
Because wood is porous it will easily take up and release water and expand and contract.
What to expect when wood gets wet
- Because wood move differently in different directions, contracting at different rates it is prone to warping and cracking as it dries.
- Surface layers on artifacts (e.g. paints and varnishes)become fragile when damp, and are easily lost or damaged so great care is needed in handling.
- Hide or fish glues commonly used on wooden objcts and furniture are softened by moisutre, so joins may separate and veneers may lift.
- Drawers and doors may stick.
- Mold may grow on damp wooden surfaces
- If wood is fully wet and dirty consider rinsing it with clean water
- Pat dry, don't wipe
- Dry slowly, not in direct heat; cover with polyethylene to slow drying if necessary
- If possible, open doors and drawers to allow air to circulate
- Remember that you can take the back off if you need to
- Be prepared to freeze show fabrics from upholstered items. If you have cotton stuffing material you will almost certainly need to replace it. Horsehair stuffing can usually be saved.
- Objects of composite construction (e.g. musical instruments objects with inlay)
- Objects with veneer/fine surfaces