Wood Finishes

Wood Finishes

Soap finish
A soap finish is suitable for all blonde timbers and maintains the original  natural colour of the wood.  With occasional cleaning soap treated furniture will look better and better over time. Soap is the easiest surface treatment to maintain and has several advantages over alternative finishes.

1. Soap is a natural product and maintains the timber by feeding lanolin through to the underlying surface protecting the wood from drying out.

2. As it is an alkaline it forms a protective barrier on the surface of the timber that repels fatty acids such as perspiration or food stains.

3. Soap maintains the natural wood colour with it’s gentle bleaching effect over time.

The disadvantage of a soap finish is that as a biological barrier it does break down over time and the furniture has to be cleaned periodically.

Oil finish 

An oil finish is usually applied to enhance the colour of the wood to bring out the hidden natural beauty of the timber.

While soap treatment is ideal for all the blond timbers such as beech, ash and maple – hard woods like American Cherry and Walnut require a surface treatment to enhance the appearance of the natural wood colour.

In addition to bringing out the colour hidden within the wood an oil finish has the  advantage of maintaining the surface for a longer period of time before it requires cleaning.

This can be a disadvantage on blond woods as the oil is a natural solvent and  marks such as shoe polish can soak through the oil and sit on the timber itself making them harder to remove.

White pigmented oil gives has a similar appearance to a soaped finish with a higher resistance to marks and therefore requires less frequent cleaning. We would only recommend the use of a white pigmented oil over a soap finish in areas of high traffic where there are large numbers handling of the furniture such as a showroom or gallery.


A surface lacquer also enhances the colour of the wood and seals the timber to achieve a stain resistant wipe clean surface. For this reason all veneered surfaces on tables or cabinets are usually lacquered to stop the veneer from lifting. We do not recommend that lacquer is applied to solid wood furniture for domestic purposes but it can be specified for for use in rented accommodation or in use in commercial environments such as restaurants and  offices.