Cracking & Checking In Natural Wood Furniture

Designer Talk
November 21, 2021
Wilfrid Chan

Natural Wood Disclaimer 

The appearance of cracking and checking in natural wood furniture can be alarming at first, but rest assured that it's a natural part of timber's lifecycle. This is true not only for furniture but for buildings, utensils, instruments, and ships. If you're concerned you've received a defective product and that the cracks you see are a sign of damage, we can attest that this is not a sign of deterioration but a natural reaction to climate.

Why Does Wood Split and Crack?

 ·  Cracking and checking occur when the grain of timber reacts to the moisture level in the air.

·   Wood adapts itself to the environment's moisture, temperature, and exposure to sunlight.

·   This is known as equilibrium, where natural wood will shift with the climate around it.


This can be startling to those who have never owned organic or reclaimed wood products before, as they fear the item is of lesser quality, but it's simply nature's way of making itself at home. We have a particular affinity for natural wood products. Many of our artisans favour solid wood to craft their pieces, allowing us to appreciate their unique marking and shift over time. This closely links with the wabi-sabi lifestyle, finding charm in the natural ebb and flow of life.


Should I Be Worried About Structural Integrity?

Not at all, unless the functionality of your furniture is affected by cracks, there are no issues associated with the natural cracking of wood. If anything, checks and cracks are actually helpful in reinforcing structural integrity as it helps to release the tensions and pressure of shrinking or expanding wood. You can witness these changes throughout the seasons, as if your furniture is a living, breathing being.


Can I Prevent Timber Cracking?

Because this is a natural process, it cannot be stopped only slowed. Our craftsmen use chemical free, organic finishings that help to keep the woods natural integrity, embracing its virgin qualities. Therefore, cracking may occur throughout its lifespan, particularly with reclaimed wood.

However, if you are looking for ways to decelerate this process, we can recommend keeping your household at around 50% humidity by using a humidifier or dehumidifier. You can also avoid rooms that are excessively hot, dry, damp or that have direct sunlight throughout the day. These conditions help to prevent the possibility of natural wood cracking.


We cannot recommend any wax, polishes, or finishes at this time as we have never tested such chemicals on our homeware. We do urge you to enjoy the organic beauty of your wood furniture, however, if you choose to use such preventative methods, try solutions sparingly at first to ensure it has the desired effect you are looking for.


Should you have any further enquiries about wood cracking or checking, our customer service team would be more than happy to answer your questions: