How do I care for my Ercol furniture?

In 1920 a young designer called Lucian Ercolani started his own business in High Wycombe, the chairmaking capital of England. Here he perfected the technique of steam-bending wood in large quantities to form the famous Windsor Bow, and discovered how to ‘tame’ elm; a beautifully grained hardwood other furniture makers considered impossible to work with.

Design and people were the cornerstones of his company. This remains true of the family owned private company that continues his beliefs in the 21st century.

The passion for innovation in design and manufacturing is as strong today as it was then. The Ercol factory combines the very latest technology with time-honoured craftsmanship to create a range of unique pieces. The Gina recliner was the first piece of domestic furniture to be awarded the FIRA ergonomics excellence award – a testimony to the comfort of the design.

The Ercol Factory at Princes Risborough is a design icon in its own right. The 160,000 square foot factory, opened in 2002, is situated in the heart of the traditional Chilterns furniture-making area. This stunning facility has won a number of awards for its architectural design and its environmental features. It includes a showroom which features a comprehensive selection of Ercol furniture.

Ercol craftsmanship and quality of finish is second to none. There is a choice of wood finishes for most items. Covers are removable for dry cleaning or replacement. The Bergère & Renaissance ranges include a Petite easy chair with a more compact seat.

Your Ercol furniture is made to last. Even after sustaining damage, it can be restored to its full, timeless beauty.

Ercol furniture will endure most temperatures in the home but it is best to avoid placing your furniture next to a heat source or in direct sunlight. Leave a gap of 20-30cm between the furniture and a radiator. Extremes of heat or sunlight will cause excessive movement in timber and will also fade colours and weaken the fibres of fabric.

HOW DO I CARE FOR ERCOL SOFA FABRICS?

You should avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight or next to a radiator. All fabrics will fade in the sun and, in some cases, excessive sunlight may degrade the fabric.

Plump up cushions regularly, especially cushions filled with fibre or feathers, which should be plumped after use each day to maintain their comfort. If the cushions are reversible, you should turn them at least once a week, to help them keep their shape.

Dust is abrasive and can dull colours and speed up wear and tear. Vacuum cleaning fabrics with the brush attachment, or with a soft brush kept for the purpose, will prolong their life. If the cushions are feather filled, only a soft brush should be used, as vacuum cleaning can draw feathers through the fabric.

Protective treatments will help protect against stains, but you should mop up spills as soon as possible to reduce the risk of the stain being permanent. Take care with sharp objects like belt buckles, keys and pet claws as these will snag even the toughest cloth. Ercol recommend that you should have your upholstered furniture cleaned in situ by a specialist firm.

For professional cleaning, we recommend Safeclean: www.safeclean-duchy.co.uk  (If you do not live in Cornwall, you will be given the option to select another part of the country.)

Falmouth/Helston: 01326 319704. Penzance: 01736 368003. St Austell: 01726 64560. Email: info@safeclean-duchy.co.uk

HOW DO I CARE FOR MY ERCOL WOOD?

You should avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight or next to a radiator. Even so, you must expect that timber will expand or contract with changes of room temperature and humidity, within the normal range. This is particularly noticeable with painted furniture. You will notice a change in the clearance gaps around doors and drawers and fine hairline cracks may appear on smooth, painted surfaces. These tiny cracks are unavoidable in any item of solid wood furniture but are more readily noticed in the case of a painted surface.

Different grain patterns, colours and shading will occur within the same piece of furniture. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of the wood. All timber surfaces will change colour and mellow over time, so it is likely that you will notice the difference in shade when you add a new piece of furniture in the same room as older items.

Furniture with a matt lacquered or painted surface should be dusted with a dry cloth. Spills should be wiped up as soon as possible. Occasionally wipe with a soft cloth, lightly moistened using a mild detergent solution. Dry the surface immediately using a soft, lint-free cloth.

Furniture with a wax-polished surface should be regularly dusted with a soft cloth. No more than twice a year, polish the surface using a natural beeswax polish. Spray polishes should be avoided: they often contain silicones, which may result in a smeared appearance.

Cleaning materials containing abrasive compounds, bleaches, oxidising agents, acidic or caustic agents should be avoided as they can damage the surface of the furniture. When serving food and drinks, it is best to use protective mats and coasters.

HOW CAN I DEAL WITH A SPILL ON THE FABRIC?

Although we only recommend professional cleaning, there are actions which you can take immediately, in an effort to limit the damage caused by a spill.

If the “spill” is mud, you should leave it to dry and then brush it off. Treat other stains and spills as quickly as possible. Remove any solids first and then blot up as much liquid as possible, using white paper towels or a clean white cloth. Using a wet cloth, immediately followed by a dry cloth, is sometimes helpful. Avoid over-wetting and leave the area as dry as possible, to avoid ring marks. (We cannot be held responsible for damage caused during attempted cleaning. We strongly recommend that you consult a professional cleaner.)

SOME PARTICULAR FABRIC CHARACTERISTICS

Chenille and Velvet. These raised pile fabrics are soft and inviting to the touch but will flatten in normal use. This is an inherent characteristic of such fabrics. Although it may be possible for a professional cleaner to restore the pile, it will become crushed again when used. This type of fabric shows very noticeable pressure marks on the underside of the cushion if used over a webbed seat: it is not an appropriate choice for furniture with exposed webbing, if you wish to reverse the cushion.

Slubs and Seeds. Many fabrics contain slubs (random thickening of the yarn) and cotton or linen fabrics can contain seeds. These effects are inherent in the character of fabric which is produced from natural yarns with a home-spun appearance.

Pilling. Pills are small bobbles which appear on the surface of some fabrics. Pilling does not indicate excessive wear or an inferior fabric. Sometimes the fluffing appears and then disappears after a further period of use. These bobbles, which also appear on some garments, can be removed with a pilling comb or fluff shaver, generally available from department stores and dry cleaners.

Batch variations. Every effort is made to keep colours constant between batches, but fabric and leather manufacturers cannot guarantee exact matching.

HOW CAN I CARE FOR ERCOL UPHOLSTERY LEATHER?

Leather is a natural product. It breathes, is warm and has individual characteristics, which makes each hide unique. Leather will always display traces of its origin such as brands, scars, creases and growth. These hallmarks add character to the furniture and do not affect the wearing qualities of the product. Leather is highly resilient, durable over time and develops a patina that increasingly enhances its appeal.

Always protect your furniture from direct sunlight, as this will otherwise accelerate the natural ongoing discolouration process.

Dust should be removed by vacuuming and followed by wiping with a slightly damp cloth, using a mild soap if there is any indication of grease, followed by buffing with a soft, dry cloth. Excessive wetting or rubbing are to be avoided. Do not use “Hide Food” or furniture polish on upholstery leather.

Perspiration and natural oils from the skin and hair can have a damaging effect on the finish of leather. The degree of this effect varies from person to person and can change as a result of a change of diet or medication. Cleaning is particularly recommended where hands, bare arms or heads rest on the hide and is likely to be needed a couple of times a week.

Leather Protection Cream should be applied when new and then two to four times a year.

Soft Leather Cleaner should be used prior to the protection cream and more frequently when needed. With any cleaning process, wipe the leather and do not use a rubbing action. These two products are sold together as a kit at Julian Foye.

Ink remover, on sale at Julian Foye showrooms, can be used to deal with ink marks and is generally successful if action is taken quickly. The ink penetrates more deeply over time and professional assistance is then required.

Get in touch with us today on 0172675468 or come and pay us a visit at one of our many stores throughout Cornwall.

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