Taking care of your Jonathan Charles Furniture - It's all in the detail...
We go to great lengths at Jonathan Charles to make each piece of furniture appear as if it were an original antique. Many antiques look great on the outside but structurally the adhesives and materials used are beginning to show the test of time. Use your furniture normally, it can take a coffee cup or a glass of wine but treat it with respect, as you would a 200 year old antique. For example, we would not recommend standing a plant pot directly on the wood surface, the moisture over a period of a day or so will leave a mark. So please stand it on a plate.
We only use the very best materials, from sustainable sources. We go out of our way to bring out the natural beauty with each piece. We are incredibly self-sufficient within our factory and out-sourcing is kept to a minimum. If we can make it ourselves, then we do. We make our own locks, keys, screws and hinges. This gives us greater control over the quality and the details of our product. To us it is all about the detail.
Wood is a natural material and as such, its colour, detail and characteristics vary enormously. In order to make our furniture as antique looking as possible we do everything we can to bring out the natural beauty of each individual piece of wood. Some companies use finishing techniques that make every piece of wood look the same. We believe that in doing this, the natural beauty is lost. It looks mass produced, plastic and characterless. Every piece of wood is unique. Every piece of furniture is unique as well, as long as this character is retained.
When you receive your piece of Jonathan Charles Furniture, the surface may be covered in protective wax. This is only to protect the finish during transport and all you need to do is wipe it off with a soft dry cloth (duster). It may take a couple of days for your furniture to adjust from the cold box and warehouse it has been stored in and "warm up" while in your home. The finish will look much nicer after a couple of days of coming out of the box.
The level of sheen on each piece of furniture varies slightly from piece to piece. After using your furniture for 6 months or so you may find that the sheen will dull slightly in the areas that get a lot of use. Some people like this, but if you wish to "refresh" your furniture, you can do so by using PURE BEES WAX and a soft furniture cloth (duster). Apply the wax and wait for it to harden for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the type of wax you are using) and then wipe off using a clean soft furniture cloth (duster). If you feel your furniture may still need more refreshing, then you can use “0000” steel wool (wire wool) to apply the wax. It is important that you use “0000” and nothing else. This is the finest grade and anything else will seriously damage your finish. After applying the wax lightly with your "0000" steel wool, you should then wait for it to dry and remove with a soft cloth. You will probably not need to do this often, if ever. Normally wiping your furniture down with a dry soft cloth will be fine with the occasional polish using a household furniture polish. We recommend trying to use a polish that does not contain silicone, as over a period of time this will build up and muddy your finish. If this happens, you will need to wire wool your furniture as mentioned above.
To us, our hardware is jewelry for furniture. Hardware is often an afterthought… make a piece of furniture and then once it is made decide what hardware to put on it. At Jonathan Charles we design the hardware at the same time as we design the furniture. Because we have our own foundry where we make ALL of our own hardware, we have the flexibility to design hardware that is unique to one particular item. It can be made to match or complement a carved detail in the wood leg, or the veneer inlay within a drawer front or top. The hardware to us is what brings all of the other details together. Our hardware is made from bronze with our own unique combination of copper, zinc and tin. Plus secret ingredients to make the metal look as if it is hundreds of years old. Bronze, if left polished and untreated will naturally oxidize and change colour over time. What we try to do with our hardware is make it look like it has been oxidizing naturally for 150 years or so. Just as the original antique would.
The best way to clean your hardware is to wipe it with a damp or dry cloth. If you open and close a handle regularly, the abrasion from your hand will change the colour of the hardware. This is normal and very natural. It all helps make your piece of furniture unique and look just like an original antique.
We pride ourselves on how old our leather looks. We use genuine cows leather, buy it untreated and do all of the coloring process ourselves. The finish we use has been developed to make the leather look as old and antique as possible. Similar to wood, every piece of leather is different as well. As it gets older and more used, it will look even more and more like an antique. You can feed it with a leather cream once a year if you feel it needs it. But simply wiping it down with a damp (not soaking wet) cloth and then drying it with a dry cloth is all that is truly required.
Eglomisé is a very old technique dating back to the Pre-Roman era. It's name is derived from a 18th Century French decorator, Jean Baptise Glomy (1711 - 1786) who was responsible for it's re-popularization. The materials and technique we use are exactly the same as Jean Baptise Glomy had developed. The process is very, very delicate, but we protect the back to avoid any scratching or damage from behind. The end result of the eglomisé process is to make the piece look old, it is not a mass produced automated process, so it will vary in clarity and character. The front of the Eglomisé is simply glass. Clean it with glass cleaner as you would a mirror or glass table top.