The natural look of log furniture is one of the reasons it is becoming a more popular home décor not only for the log home market, but other home styles as well. We are frequently asked this question. I want to keep my log furniture looking as natural as possible, should I have it finished? The answer to this is in our opinion is yes. Finishing can change the appearance somewhat depending on the type of wood or finish, but the rewards are well worth it in the long run.
The oils in our hands are easily absorbed by unfinished wood. Of course our hands are never perfectly clean and the dirt is also absorbed right into the wood with the oil leaving soiled areas where your hands frequently touch the furniture. On a bed this is usually either the headboard or the footboard. One will reach out and grasp the bed to steady themself while taking off shoes or socks. Right there on that post will be a big dark stain. The headboard sure makes a good handle for getting out of bed in the morning too! Another stain. On dressers, of course the drawer pulls and the edge around the top gets the most handling. If an item is finished, washing is easy. It's another story on bare wood. Some folks have taken the furniture out to the shop and sand it down again, but most people don't like the bother. It's easier to just have it finished. Finished log furniture will pass the test of time in keeping your furniture looking good for many years.
To keep log furniture looking as natural as possible, most manufactures use a clear finish. There are many types of finishes available on the market. Many retail stores use the term "poly" to describe their finish when in reality it might not be polyurethane at all. Polyurethane in its purest state is a very hard durable finish but doesn't adhere well to products. For this reason most "Poly" finishes are usually a combination of Polyurethane and Acrylic. Other types of finishes consist of Varnishes, Lacquers, etc. Some finishes are hazardous to your health not to mention bad for the environment. It makes no sense to buy a product that is natural and environmentally friendly like log furniture and then apply a hazardous chemical over the top. This is the reason we use a non-toxic water base Acrylic. It is very durable, will not yellow with time, and even fingernail polish remover doesn't touch it!
Most types of wood will darken only slightly with the application of a finish. The exception to this is White Cedar. The finish on White Cedar will actually change this wood from a very light uniform color, to a very beautiful noticeable color variation between the sapwood and the heartwood. The heartwood will become somewhat darker giving it a very unique character.
Once again we strongly recommend having your log furniture finished. Whether you have us do it, do it yourself or have a friend do it, we think you will be happier in the end. It is our ultimate goal for you to be happy with your purchase of any product at Great Lakes Rustics LLC.