At Tom Faulkner we take pride in sourcing the finest materials to complete our original designs. First and foremost, we work with metal – though, we find that combining our sculptural, metallic bases with tops of glass, marble, and wood makes for a beautiful symbiosis, bringing together strong and structural elements with organic, characterful details. Wood is a unique material with a true sense of warmth. Its little idiosyncrasies are what make each piece delightfully individual – and to keep those intricate marks of character shining their brightest, it takes a bit of care. In order to make the most of your wooden tabletop, it’s important to know the dos and don’ts of maintenance. So, we’ve pulled together a few tried and true tips to ensure you’ve got the professional know-how to help your table last a lifetime and beyond.
Every piece of TF furniture is made to order in our very own Wiltshire workshop. We have our own dedicated woodworking operation, headed up by the very capable Keelan. He works on intricate cabinetry elements of pieces like our Odessa Cabinet, as well as our Balzac and Albany Desks.
He also helps to ensure that the specialty wood tops that we source are perfectly suited to fit onto our handcrafted bases, creating grooves that contribute to the lasting stability and integrity of each piece.
Sustainability and quality are top of mind for us. We source our wood from suppliers that are accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council, striving to leave a positive environmental legacy through our work. We use all manner of woods, from classic walnut to ebonised oak to rippled, figured sycamore or ‘Harewood’. Because we offer bespoke services, we’re always happy to be introduced to new materials of your choice as well, adding them to our ever-increasing roster of fine tabletops.
Our wooden surfaces are treated with a wax oil, which is a hard, waxy protectant that helps to keep spills from setting into stains. We do recommend a bit of extra attention throughout the first month with your new wood-topped table. The wax will still be hardening over the course of those four weeks so it’s important to use place mats and coasters as a precaution. Once the wax has fully set, you won’t need the coasters or mats anymore. Although, of course, if you’re setting particularly hot dishes or saucepans on your table, it’s always a good rule of thumb to provide some level of protection with a trivet to keep from applying intense heat directly to the wood.
To clean your wooden tabletop, simply use a fresh damp cloth and then wipe the surface dry. In the case of spills, it’s best to wipe them away as soon as possible. This is especially true of acidic substances like red wine, vinegar, oil, coffee, tea, or spirits, for example.
As with most natural materials, wood comes with its own characterful constellations of knots, striations, and markings. There’s an organic variation between different tops of the same wood, which helps to lend them personality and distinctiveness. As you live with wood furniture, it will develop its own patina to tell its story. This is perfectly natural and, in our view, a key part of wood’s enduring charm as a material.
For the utmost ease and durability, we offer laminated veneered tops from Fenix in Italy, which is standard for our Atlantic range. Each matte, soft-touch surface is finished with wood lipping around the edges, imparting added character and a rich sense of materiality. They’re usually traced with walnut detailing, bringing a certain warmth and depth. If you’re looking for a piece that’s design-forward with a materially rich feel, yet exceedingly easy to care for, these veneered surfaces are a wonderful alternative to the classic wood top.
Whether it’s a toasty walnut, a knotty oak, or a rippled ‘Harewood’ top that you go for, a bit of TLC will go a long way in keeping it fresh and beautiful. To get a feel for our favourite wooden accompaniments to our distinctive designs, have a look at our Finishes and Materials page. Alternatively, if you’ve got your own particular wood in mind, we’d love to hear from you. We always enjoy exploring different materials alongside clients and designers, bringing new life to our timeless furniture pieces. If you’re ever unsure as to how to care for yours, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team.
Text by Annabel Colterjohn