Rustic Furniture is the natural way to go, and taking proper care of it means dealing with log characteristics inherent in nature. Log cracking, or log checking, is one such characteristic.
Wood releases moisture over time as it becomes seasoned, and this can create slivers or cracks in the surface of the wood or even deeper. Understanding how to prevent and minimize excessive log cracking is essential to retaining the beauty and longevity of your rustic furniture.
Before you buy rustic furniture, find out what process the manufacturer used for drying the wood. Wood moisture content has to be at about 16 percent or less before it becomes workable, but a good manufacturer will use a kiln drying process to further reduce chances of unnecessary log cracking as your rustic furniture ages. Manufacturers should also stress test logs before using them in production to make sure they'll last.
A moderate amount of log cracking is a natural part of the rustic furniture experience. Log cracking can actually add a distinctive maturity and character to your furniture and home. If you did your homework and researched log characteristics before your rustic furniture purchase, any log cracking should be confined to the surface of the wood and should not affect the integrity of your furnishings.
In The Woods
Another cause of log cracking can be the type of wood or log size used in production. Cedar, for example, is a wood that loses moisture slowly, and will thus be less prone to log cracking. However, all logs have cracks or checks, and if a whole log was used in production of your rustic furniture, those will be present in the finished product.
Knowing how your rustic furniture was made will enable you to know if those surface checks are potential flaws, or just part of the natural look and character that gives rustic furniture its idiosyncratic appeal.