The Expansion Gap
On Frame Top and Parquetry tables the framed border does not allow for contraction and expansion of the timber, that is why we have a small gap between the frame and the central panel on the top. It is a 2mm expansion gap which allows the expansion and contraction of the central panel following changes in temperatures and humidity during the seasons.
We have found that coloured beeswax is the best medium to fill that gap as it is flexible, easy to maintain and gives the top a natural antique look. The beeswax is very slow in drying and when it dries it shrinks to about half of its volume.
At French Country we fill the gap initially, but the wax needs to be reapplied a few times over say 12 months until the gap is completely filled with fully dried wax. The beeswax will initially stay quite soft and some care must be taken at that stage. Full drying and hardening will then take a few months. This is also a good time to give the table a good wax. Depending on the type and amount of use the table has, it should be done every 4-6 months.
How to Rewax Your Table
Ensure the table is clean and dry.
- To fill the expansion gap use either your finger or a soft plastic spatula and press
- The wax firmly down into the gap so that it is filled to just below the surface.
- Wax one side at a time and when you have filled each gap, wipe off the excess with a rag ensuring the wax is just below the surface of the table.
- To apply the beeswax to the whole table, it should then be wiped lightly along the grain with a soft cloth (e.g. flannelette sheet). Only apply a thin film of wax in even strokes.
- The drying time will depend upon the weather and the wax will develop a hazy appearance when dry.
- When the wax is dry, buff off with a thick cloth (folded flannelette, about hand size and 2cm thick) again wiping along the grain.
A beautifully crafted French dining table will last generations so caring for your dinging table is an important investment of time and love.