How to : Looking after plywood furniture
Have you ever wondered how to look after plywood? Do you own a Lozi piece and are flumoxed trying to remove a scratch mark from its surface? Do you love your piece so much and are desperate to keep it looking fantastic?
The expert makers at Lozi have put together this simple guide, full of tips and advice to help you keep your favourite pieces looking as perfect as the day you got them. From day to day care to yearly "overhauls", here is everything you need to know about caring for a Lozi piece.
Lozi Care Kit
Before you start, it is worth investing in a basic care kit. A few products go a long way and having some key items will keep your Lozi piece looking brand new for longer. These are available at any good B&Q or Homebase, or at your local DIY shop.
- Sandpaper - As fine a grit as possible, but never coarser than 240. The lower the grit value, the coarser the sandpaper.
- Sandpaper handle - Available at B&Q or you can use an old block of wood. Make sure one side is perfectly flat, ideally about the size and shape of a block of butter. You should be able to comfortably hold it in your hand.
- Furniture Oil - Our favourite is Clear Danish Oil. Be careful to only buy the clear variety, as they offer many others with a slight tint to them. You can also use Osmo 3044 Oil, which needs to be applied with a small paint roller rather than a rag or kitchen towel.
- Rags - A selection of rags with a smooth and tight weave. Old bedsheets are ideal. Fabrics like yellow dusters or flannel will snag micro fibres on the wood surface leaving an uneven finish.
Day to day Care
You can keep your Lozi piece looking fantastic with simple day to day maintenance.
- Dust - Regularly dust your Lozi piece, especially if it is a lamp. Dust can affect how the veneer ages, changing the colour and making it uneven. Be especially careful with dusting if your piece is ever in direct sunlight.
- Protection - Use coasters, placemats and heat mats. We take every care to finish the Lozi pieces with several layers of oil, but strong heat can burn the wood and liquids can be absorbed, warping the wood's surface, if not mopped up immediately. Lozi do a fantastic set of coasters that go perfectly with all our pieces.
- Spillages - Mop up spillages as soon as they happen, as you would with any other wooden piece. Laminated surfaces are fully waterproof, however any wood surface risks getting damaged or stained if liquids are left on it for too long. This is especially important with strongly coloured drinks like red wine or grape juice, as they can dye the wood.
- Sunlight - We recommend keeping our pieces out of direct sunlight, especially those with dark veneers like cherry or walnut, as the rays of the sun can bleach the wood over time.
- Cleaning - Regularly wipe down your piece with a smooth damp cloth. If you feel like the surface needs a bit more protection, you can give it a coat of danish or Osmo oil (see next step)
Full spruce up!
Every year or two, we recommend fully sanding down any surfaces that get used intensively and giving your piece a couple of coats of oil to get them looking as good as new, particularly with pieces like tables, kitchen counters or shelving systems. This also gets rid of any scratches or marks that can't be removed with a damp cloth.
Before you start, you will want to make sure your piece has been wiped down with a damp cloth, any dirt and dust removed from the surface of the wood and left to dry thoroughly. Slightly damp plywood can snag if sanded. The process of sanding and oiling your piece takes 24 hours, so make sure you won't be needing it during that time! We also recommend wearing an apron and gloves to avoid getting any oil on your clothes.
Only sand surfaces that are used intensely, like table tops. Delicate items like lamps and painted or laminated surfaces should not be sanded.
Sanding down the surface of a Lozi piece will remove any marks and scratches, but you must be careful to not sand through to the next wood ply. Get your fine sandpaper, set it in the holder or wrap it around a block of wood. Look at the surface of your piece and identify which way the grain lies. Start sanding back and forth in gentle, soft movements following the grain. Be careful to never sand at a right angle to the grain of the wood (cross-grain), as this will snag the wood. Sanding should feel smooth and straight, not scratchy. If you have several different sandpapers, start with the coarsest slowly building up to the finest, but never use a sandpaper coarser than 240 grit. Always do the entire surface in one grit before moving on to the next sandpaper to keep an even finish.
Once you have finished sanding, quickly dust your piece with a clean rag to get rid of any sawdust.
Oiling replaces the natural oils in wood and protects the wood from warping, cracking or splitting as it ages. It also creates a smooth and waterproof surface which can fade with time as the wood further absorbs the oils. Unlike sanding, we recommend oiling most of your piece.
Grab a clean rag or kitchen roll and poor a generous amount of Clear Danish Oil onto it, and apply to the wood. Rub in in circular movements, working quickly and smoothly and avoiding any streaks marks. Be generous with the oil and work quickly for the best results, coating the entire surface evenly. If you are using Osmo Oil, poor some onto a small paint roller and roller it on to the wood. Check for any uneven areas or streak marks.
Leave this coat of oil to dry for 12 hours and repeat. Apply at least 2 coats of oil. Do not place anything on the oiled surface before it has dried for 12 hours or it might leave a mark.
Follow these simple steps and your Lozi piece will last a lifetime!