polishWood is the most popular construction material for coffee tables but a wooden coffee table does require a certain amount of care that a glass coffee table may not.
Firstly, wood marks easily. Therefore it is imperative that you always use a drinks coaster to prevent heat or water rings on the surface of your table. Similarly, if you plan to dine on your table be sure to use a mat that protects it from heat and any grease spillages. It can be extremely difficult to remove grease from unsealed wood.

When choosing where to place your new coffee table not only should you take into account where it will look best, but you should also bear in mind that wood can change color when exposed to sunlight. Some woods bleach, whereas others can actually become darker when exposed to sunlight. Therefore you need to pick a spot where the table will not be in direct sunlight for any extended period of time. If due to available space this is unavoidable the table should either be placed where the light will fall on it evenly, or it should be regularly rotated so that it does not fade or darken on any one particular area. Items placed upon a table in direct sunlight should be moved around regularly so that permanent marks are not left on the table surface.

coasterExposure to sunlight can also cause other problems as the wood can expand and contract in the heat which could potentially result in the wood splitting. This problem also applies to humidity. Therefore your coffee table should not be placed anywhere where there are regular changes in humidity or temperature such as near a radiator, air conditioner, cooker, tumble dryer or other similar appliance.
Areas where humidity is too low can also be a problem for some kinds of wood treated with lacquer. If your furniture is in a particularly dry spot place a bowl of water nearby to humidify the air and prevent cracking.

Wooden coffee tables can also be damaged by pests. Whilst new pieces should be free of infestation check very carefully when buying second hand or antique coffee tables for any signs of pest damage. Woodworm, termites, rot; the list of potential problems is extensive. If pests are found in wooden furniture the piece should be isolated and treated to prevent the problem spreading to other wood within your home.

Wooden furniture polishes are made with lemon peel and beeswax, orange peel and beeswax, canuba wax or silicone. Different finishes require different types of polish. Having worked out what the finish on your coffee table is use the correct polish for it to avoid damage.
Varnish requires the use of a silicone free polish whereas shellac requires either silicone free polish or beeswax. Veneers also need a silicone free polish which should be applied with a very soft cloth.

By caring for your furniture appropriately you can avoid much of the damage and wear and tear that every day life can inflict upon coffee tables. Doing so will prolong your tables life and allow you to enjoy it for years to come.