Garden Thefts – One Every Eight Minutes

Garden items ranging from power tools to turf are stolen in the UK approximately every eight minutes, police figures suggest.

Figures compiled from 38 police forces suggest there were more than 60,000 thefts from gardens last year, the study by insurer LV= based on freedom of information requests found.

Crime Scene Image

One Theft From Gardens Every 8 Minutes

Bicycles and power tools are the most commonly stolen items, as well as garden furniture, ornaments and plants.

But more obscure thefts reported last year included a window, turf, fireworks, gold bullion and a headstone.

Security equipment, padlocks and other anti-theft items were also reported as stolen.

The highest number of thefts took place in May and June, with culprits apparently taking advantage of the longer hours of daylight after the clocks go back at the end of March.

LV= home insurance managing director Selwyn Fernandes said: “As the weather warms up Brits spend more time in their gardens and often leave property in the garden that might usually be locked up.

“These figures from the police serve as a timely reminder to homeowners to check that they have a home insurance policy that covers their garden and belongings left outside, just in case.”

LV= issued a freedom of information request to all 45 UK police forces in March, with 38 responding by the point of compilation.

Restoring Teak Wood

Restoring Teak Furniture; The Do’s and Don’ts

Restoration is a practical as well as an emotional process, you don’t just restore your grandfather’s wall clock so that it works properly but you do it because the clock reminds you of him, it still smells like him conjuring up for you all the sweet and wondrous memories.

Restoring your furniture is no different, you do it to lengthen its life and also because you may have some memories attached with it. However, if the furniture in question is teak wood then you actually don’t even have to spend a lot of time maintaining it.

Tectona Grandis or teak wood is widely known for the abundance of natural oils and silica in its grain. These oils and silica make teak one of the most durable and rot resistant wood out of all the other types of woods. This is the reason why teak is the favorite choice in patio and other garden furniture.

And while maintaining and restoring teak doesn’t take up as much time as other wood types do, it still requires a little time and effort.

The Colour of Teak Wood

Counted among the specialties of teak wood is the fact that it changes colour naturally, from being golden brown when it’s new and then fading into a steel grey colour when it is exposed to normal weather conditions.

The thing that a home-owner has to decide then is; what colour they want their teak wood furniture to be? because restoring both the colours involves a different process for each.

Let’s look at both these restoration processes separately, shall we?

Restoring the Natural Golden Brown Colour

To keep the natural colour of the teak it is a good idea to either seal or stain your teak wood, the process is really simple all you need is a sealer or stain along with sandpaper and a paint brush.

The stained teak look varies from the sealed look, and both have different properties. Stained teak furniture is better protected and is hence more durable than sealed wood. However, when you seal the teak it gives off a more natural look.

If you ever think of oiling your teak furniture to maintain its colour – Don’t!

Oiling teak furniture is only a good idea if you are planning to keep the furniture indoors, because if you oil furniture and then keep it outside the oil can seep into the wood causing it to become black because of mildew.

What to do with your Silver Grey Teak

If you leave your teak wood furniture outside and don’t put any sealant on it, then you’ll see that in a span of around 6 – 8 months it will naturally weather to a grey colour. How long the graying process takes depends on the amount of sun and rain that your furniture is exposed to.

Image of old teak bench

Weathered Teak Bench

During the weathering process, you’ll notice that the wood grain will start to roughen and crack, however, this is not a structural problem but in fact is a completely natural process- the wood naturally expands and contracts in response to the climatic conditions that it’s exposed to. The discolouration spots eventually even out into a silver grey colour.

If you don’t like the silver grey colour, don’t fret it because you can easily restore it back to its golden brown colour all you need for this is mild soapy water and a soft bristle brush, if you can grab a teak cleaner do so because with that by your side you don’t have to do any heavy scrubbing or cleaning.

After you’ve used a teak cleaner, you can then apply teak sealer on your furniture to help maintain the original colour. You then need to apply teak sealer after regular intervals of time to maintain your furniture, once a year is usually enough.

Cleaning Teak Wood

You can easily clean your teak wood furniture by using a damp cloth and a soft bristle brush. To clean the crevasses and corners of your furniture you can use a garden hose with a pressure hose, be careful while pressure cleaning though- make sure you’re not causing any harm to your outdoor furnishings.

If you find the furniture has stubborn stains on it, it is a good idea to either use a soft bristle brush or for the most persistent stains you can use sandpaper lightly. Ensure that you use the sandpaper with the wood grain and not against it. After you’ve sanded the wood, you can apply a bit of oil or sealer on it to restore the glossy look.

Oily foods, drinks and ketchup can easily stain your teak wood furniture; you can apply a clear coating on your furniture to protect it from such stains. Even though, teak wood has natural water resistance, still you should make sure that there are no water deposits where you are keeping your furniture.

If you want to remove rings or water marks from your teak furniture all you’ll need to do is rub non-gel toothpaste into the wood grain with the help of a soft cloth, then just wipe it dry. If you have tough stains that just won’t go away it’s a good idea to use teak cleaning products.

Some home-owners choose to cover their teak furniture with a cloth during rainy weather, if you decide to do this make sure that the cover that you’re using is breathable because a plastic cover will simply trap the moisture in and will cause mould growth.

Isn’t taking care of teak wood furniture an easy task!

Wicker Vs Rattan

Among some of the misconceptions in the furniture world, one of the most common one is confusing wicker with rattan. The following paragraphs are going to clarify this confusion once and for all.

What is Rattan?

Rattan is a vine which mainly grows in South East Asia, India, China and Indonesia. There are several different species of rattan which can grow up to 180 meters in length. Although, rattan technically belongs to the palm family, it looks more like a vine (similar to a bamboo).

The vine is used readily all over the world which is why in recent years because of forest destruction and conversion, the natural habitat of rattan has depleted rapidly. Owing to this fact, the Forest Department of Indonesia has established a safeguarded rattan cultivation program. The commercial cultivation of the rattan plant is a viable venture however and offers bright possibility of future supply.

Photo of Rattan Baskets

Rattan Made Baskets

Rattan is mainly used for furniture making, the outer sheath of the vine or its skin is removed and cut into thin strips when rattan is being processed, these strips are used as weaving material for the furniture. The inner part of the rattan is molded into different kinds of furniture.

Furniture companies that specialize in rattan furniture, mostly have their processing plants in the Philippines or other areas where rattan grows naturally, the wood is treated and processed in these plants before it is shipped off to where it is needed.

Rattan is considered by many as one of the strongest woods to make furniture out of, because the plant’s grain grows vertically instead of forming rings as is true with other kinds of hard woods such as mahogany and oak, the material can be manipulated and molded into any kind of shape and design that you would like using specialized shapers.

Rattan is shaped in a wetted condition and once it is dry it maintains the shape forever. Though, highly versatile there are some issues with having rattan furniture as an outdoor option. While it does give your home that very nice Caribbean and tiki look, the material can’t really withstand the unpredictable weather, too much rain or sun can easily damage your furniture.

The furniture can become cracked and can also fade fairly easily. One could simply move the furniture in bad weather, as rattan furniture is particularly light weight but really nobody wants to do that much work.

Man, however, has formulated and easy enough solution for this, which is man-made or synthetic rattan.  Synthetic rattan is manufactured from a food grade plastic material called polyethylene. The rattan Furniture supplied by Lloyds Garden Furniture is synthetic.

This material is a big hit with homeowners as it requires minimal maintenance and is highly resistant to UV rays and humidity. Which means you can leave your furniture out for as long as you want and it won’t get cracked or faded.

What is Wicker?

Wicker as opposed to rattan is actually not a furniture making material at all but is an ancient technique which is used to manufacture items from natural materials such as rattan and willow etc. The willow and rattan are first dampened so that they can easily be woven into different kinds of furniture using the wicker technique.

So, rattan is a product while wicker is merely a process; a process of weaving the wood such as rattan or other materials into a finished furniture piece or any other accessory.

Photo of Wicker Chair

Traditional Wicker Chair

To create a piece of wicker furniture various techniques can be used, the wicker weaves are made up of spokes, weavers and vertical supports which are the horizontal strands. To help shape up the reeds of the material such as rattan, the material is first soaked in warm water to make it more malleable. The thickness of the material is what decrees how long the material is going to be soaked in the water.

Because there are so many craftsmen doing the wicker technique, there is a lot of variation found among the wicker style. The most standard and common wicker technique is going over one spoke and under the next and then going on like this. This kind of weave is transformed into a kind of braid intertwining around two to four pieces at a time.

Wicker patterns are extremely intricate, some patterns are so delicate that actual images can be created from them.

Next time you hear a salesman confuse the two terms, feel free to correct and inform him.

Repairing Rattan Furniture

Repairing Rattan Furniture – Tips and Tricks

Rattan furniture is highly flexible and versatile; this is what makes it such a common choice of home-owners all over the world. However, the trouble with rattan is that it needs just the right kind of setting to ensure its longevity. The furniture needs absolute moderate conditions if it is to be used as outdoor furniture (which is what most home owners go for), the conditions can’t be too humid or even too dry or else the furniture suffers.

If you do manage to keep your rattan furniture in a suitable environment and keep on maintaining and cleaning it at regular intervals it can last you a very long time. You do have to remember however that the furniture should not be kept somewhere that’s:

Too Dry

Your rattan furniture is essentially a dried plant so if you tend to leave it in a place that’s too dry and has a lot of sun well then the material gets even drier and starts to get brittle and finally cracks. If you are using rattan furniture in the patio, be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight- place it under a shade somewhere.
And if you’ve kept your furniture inside, it would be better if you keep it as far away from heating ducts and open fireplaces as you can. If the air inside your home is too dry, you can think of using a humidifier to keep the furniture from drying and cracking.

Too Damp

As mentioned above as well, neither too dry nor too damp conditions are good for the life of your rattan furniture. If you place your furniture in a place where there’s a lot of humidity in the air and not enough natural light, mould or mildew will form on your furniture, giving it a blackened look and a bad odour.

If your furniture is kept outside in the rain, it will become damaged very quickly and quite easily. It is best to move your rattan furniture inside if you sense that there’s rain coming. As an alternative Lloyds Garden Furniture offers all weather PE Rattan furniture which can be left outsid all year round.

Rattan Care

So, it’s understood that you need to keep your rattan furniture in just the right place with just the environment, but what also needs to be mentioned here is the fact that if you want your rattan furniture to last you a long time, you need to properly maintain it.

The good news is that rattan furniture maintenance is actually not that hard. Just make sure that you dust and clean your furniture at regular intervals. Making a cleaning schedule will help a lot.

You can either dust your furniture gently using a feather duster or if you see some persistent stains on it, you can use liquid detergent mixed in with water, take a soft brush or a sponge to clean off the stains.

Just remember that if you have dampened your rattan furniture in the cleaning process, you need to dry it off properly and immediately. You can do this by either using a dry towel, a hair dryer or even a fan.

If you’re looking to give your furniture a brand new look, you can apply lacquer on it after you’ve cleaned it. And if you’re bored with the same old traditional rattan colour, you can even stain the furniture into whatever colour you want. One of the best qualities of rattan furniture is that it can easily be stained and painted.

While all this is good and fine, you have to be wary of the fact that your rattan furniture can be damaged, because of the intricate wicker work on this type of furniture there’s a chance that some of the reeds will get loose over time. If this situation comes you have to look into repairing your rattan furniture, which you can either get done by a professional or you can go for the DIY option.

Professional Repair

Because wicker work is so delicate the restoration or repair of your rattan furniture by a professional can take days or in some cases even months. Antique wicker work charges can cost you about $60 per hour on top of tax.

Also, intricate wicker work is a lost art, so you will need to search high and low for an actual professional to get the job done.

Because the repair and restoration tends to be such an expensive option, you need to figure out if the furniture is even worth repairing or should you just go and buy some new rattan furniture.

There are some rattan furniture repair specialists located in the UK which you can look up.

The DIY Option

Image of conventional rattan weave pattern

Conventional Rattan Weave

Image of Rattan Open Weave Pattern

Open Weave Pattern

Image of Rattan Closed Weave

Rattan Closed Weave

If you can’t afford to get your rattan furniture repaired by a specialist or don’t have the funds to buy new furniture, you can always go for the third option which is the Doing It Yourself option.

First off you would need to get your hands on some pre-woven rattan, which is available in the following three styles;
You would also need water, cane splines, wood glue, a clean cloth, wood stain, a blunt edge chisel and a hammer. First off, you need to remove the damaged part of the old rattan, clean out the grove meticulously soak the pre-woven rattan in water for at least 30 minutes so you can handle it easily.

When the pre-woven rattan is good and wet, wedge it into place on the furniture, move it from back to centre adjusting the rattan into the groove. Do this first from the back end and then from the front end when the piece has fitted in properly apply the wood stain on it and allow it to dry.

Repair it Yourself

Whether you go for professional repair or decide to fix it yourself, after the repair your rattan furniture will look as good as new.

If yo are looking for synthetic rattan which can be left ourdoors in all weathers the look at http://lloydsgardenfurniture.co.uk/rattan

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All About Teak

Seeing as everyone from your old aunt Gertrude to your nuisance of a nephew Denis now owns an android phone or a tablet, it’s no surprise that the market is filled with informed buyers- buyers that do their homework before they spend their hard earned cash.

Just like you’re doing right now!

So, you’re in the market for outdoor furniture and instead of going out to just any furniture store and buying whatever the store manager suggested. You asked around and found a kind of wood repeated again and again, “Teak Wood”. Intrigued by the repetition, you took out your very own gadget and Googled “What is Teak” which brought you here thirsty for some valuable information about Teak Wood Furniture.

Congratulations!

You’ve come to the right place, by the time you’ll reach the end of this article you yourself will be well versed on everything that’s teak and your outdoor furniture problems will vanish into thin air.

What Exactly Is Teak Wood?

Teak is the popular name for the tree species Tectona Grandis, a member of the mint family, the tree reaches heights of around 150 feet. This particular tree species is characterized by having small, fragrant white flowers along with papery leaves.

Teak timber is mostly known for its high durability and water resistance making it the best type of wood used in outdoor furniture, exterior construction and furniture carvings.

Habitat

The teak tree is native to India, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar- but it can grow in other tropical habitats as long as the soil is fertile, well drained and the plant gets access to plenty of sunshine.

Tectona Grandis depends on pollination by insects. Because of its high resistance qualities (to both decay, wood rot and shipworm) the demand of teak is surpassing the supply which is why various teak plantations have been set up in a lot of tropical areas.

Uses of Teak Wood Through Time

Being native to Southeast Asia, in 7th century Thailand (then Siam) the wood was used to construct and decorate the royal residences, trade ships and religious buildings. In the Middle Ages, other cultures also made use of the wood to build ships owing to the fact that teak timber is highly durable, water resistant and buoyant.

If you are looking for proof of just how long teak wood lasts, just look at the image below

Image Of Old Teak Wood

This is a teak wood plank from the 17th Century!

Teak timber is yellowish brown in color and has good grain and texture. The presence of high oil content, high tensile strength and the tight grain makes it a highly favorable material for outdoor furniture applications. With time teak wood can turn into a silver-grey finish.

In India teak wood is used extensively to make doors and window frames, furniture, beams and columns.

In places like the UK, outdoor teak wood furniture is a very good idea. Why? Because teak is the only wood that can withstand the unpredictable UK climate. Yes, many people go with other types of woods for their patio and outdoor furniture, however, when they have to spend boatloads on the maintenance and repair of the furniture that’s when they realize that they in fact made a huge error.

Because unlike other wood types, teak wood is the only wood that withstands all sorts of temperatures.

Teak Wood Weigh In; The Pros and Cons

Eventhough, it seems that you just can’t go wrong with teak- that’s not really the case. We don’t live in a perfect world, which is why teak wood is not without its faults. So, for a final weigh in it is necessary that the pros and cons of teak are discussed side by side to see whether ot not you should go forward with teak.

The Pros

  1. Durability

Teak wood is highly durable and can easily endure heat, rain, hail and various other weather conditions. No need to bring your furniture into the house if it’s raining, teak will take care of everything.

The natural oils and rubber found in teak enable it to resist parasites, fungi and wood rot. Teak wood is famously known to last at least more than a 100 years.

  1. Natural Color and Finish

Teak wood has a beautiful natural color that ranges from a warm honey brown to a light ash color (the color changes as the wood ages). Even if you leave the wood untreated, its natural oils give it an attractive finish, this of course is a cost effective step. The wood doesn’t splinter so you don’t have to fret over the fact that you skipped the finishing process.

  1. Resistance

Teak is water resistant, making it ideal for use in bathrooms, kitchens even in saunas. Because the wood doesn’t absorb water one doesn’t have to worry about the wood rotting from water exposure.

The oils in the wood along with giving the wood a glossy look also act as a natural insect repellant, if you own outdoor teak furniture you don’t have to concern yourself over termites and other insects destroying your furniture by burrowing into it.

  1. Easy Maintenance

Teak wood furniture is very easy to maintain and clean, all you need to do is wipe the furniture with a damp piece of cloth. You don’t need to paint, varnish or oil your teak wood furniture each and every season.

The Cons

  1. Cost

Teak wood isn’t actually cheap, and because the demand is actually higher than the supply- most suppliers of teak wood do sell it at a higher rate. If you’re on a tight budget, maybe teak wood isn’t the choice for you.

  1. Excessive Weight

Teak wood furniture is extremely heavy. So, if you’re in the habit of changing your furniture arrangement from time to time, then teak may not be the wood choice for you.

It’s clear that the pros do outweigh the cons- and with this your introductory lesson on teak wood is now over; you are now a teak wood expert too.

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What Is Rattan?

Rattan comes in two basic forms, natural and man made. In this article we will discus the natural Rattan only.

Rattan is the term used for around 600 different species of palms which are native to the regions of Africa, Australasia and Asia. The feature that distinguishes rattan from other kinds of wood is its slender stems which are around 2-5 cm in diameter. As opposed to other furniture making materials, rattan is in fact not a tree at all but is vine like and can be found growing through and across various vegetation sites.

Appearance
Superficially speaking, rattan is strikingly similar to bamboo, the difference being that unlike bamboo shoots which are hollow from the inside, rattan stems or Malacca are solid and require additional structural support in order to stand.

Photo of the Rattan Plant

Natural Rattan In The Forrest
Curtesy of © WWF Laos

Almost 70% of the Rattan plant population is known to grow in Indonesia, the plant also grows in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Most Rattan is grown in whats known as secondary forests. This is where most of the trees and plant are young and the light levels on the forest floor are much higher. Growing from the forest floor Rattan is a climber or creeper plant useing other trees to climb up and hold onto. Rattan can grow up to be hundreds of meters long, with long internodes between the leaves- some rattan also have spines which serve a twofold purpose; they help the plant climb over other plants present in the vegetation and also dissuade herbivorous animals from eating the plant.

Benefits of Harvesting Rattan
As opposed to other kinds of wood, harvesting rattan is actually economically and environmentally beneficial. The economic benefit is derived from the fact that when loggers choose to harvest rattan they leave other trees in the vicinity, also choosing to gather rattan instead of other types of wood is much easier and requires much simpler tools and transportation means as it is much lighter than the alternatives.

Once the Rattan has been harvested it then requires processing into a form suitable for making furniture and weaving. This process involves washing the Rattan to remove the Silica which coats the core and to remove any staining which may be present. After the wasing the Rattan is dried and cured, this process involves turning the pale green color of the raw rattan to the yellow that one mostly sees in furniture today. Raw rattan can be processed into numerous products that can all be used in the rattan furniture making process; rattan skin can be peeled off and used as a weaving material for the furniture items, the core of the material can be used to make the base of the furniture.
Rattan can be painted and stained like many other types of wood, so it actually can be bought in different colors.

As with other types of furniture, buying rattan furniture for your home both has its pros and cons- some of which are discussed below. Lloyds Garden Furniture offers premium high quality rattan furniture

Pros
Considered among the advantages of rattan furniture is the fact that it is very versatile i.e. you can mold into having various looks depending upon your taste. Rattan furniture is a great outdoor option as it’s quite light weight and you can easily move it inside if there is sign of bad weather.
Another pro of rattan furniture is its cost, it is one of the most economical furniture type available in the market. Have a look at http://lloydsgardenfurniture.co.uk/rattan to see some examples of quality rattan furniture.

Cons
One of the biggest cons of keeping rattan furniture outside is that it really can’t be left outdoors for longer periods of time as humidity and even a lot of sun can easily damage it. However, if rattan furniture is taken care of properly you can easily enjoy it for a lot of years. For more information on Rattan please read Rattan Facts

What Is Polywood Garden Furniture?

Put in the simplest terms Polywood® is a plastic timber and the name Polywood®1 is a registered trade mark of Poly-Wood, Inc, USA.

It is manufactured from recycled plastic bottle waste such as plastic milk bottles, detergent bottles and or other HDPE2 waste material. It has been developed to resemble and replace real wood in many outdoor applications such as furniture, signage, moulding and garden decking.

Image of Polywood Bench

Polywood Garden Bench

Polywood® is resistant to cracking, splitting, fading and is rot resistant; with these features it’s clear why it is fast becoming the standard for plastic timber products to replace real wood. It is also available with or without the wood grain effect.

Plastic timber is more environmentally friendly and requires very little maintenance when compared to wood/plastic composites or rot-resistant wood. Unlike wood/plastic composites, plastic timber is 100% recyclable after its original intended use.

Why Use Polywood®?

We have started using Polywood® as a replacement for our glass topped outdoor tables. Although we used toughened glass it was still prone to breakage used in an outdoor setting where children run and games are played. We feel the safety of your garden is the most important factor but as a bonus Polywood® actually looks and feels better outdoor.

Can Polywood® Be Painted?
It does not require painting, sealing or staining. The colour in which the item is made is the same right through and not just on the surface.

Does It Contain Any Real Wood?
No it is 100% recycled waste material which in the past would have gone into landfill sites.

Will It Blow Around My Garden On a Windy Day?
It weighs roughly the same as your average hardwood furniture so the wind should not be an issue.

How Do I Clean Polywood®?
Simply wash down with a mild soap and water. A pressure washer can be used but do not exceed 1000psi. A soft brush can be used where your furniture has creases. Small minor scratches can be gently sanded with fine sandpaper.

What Polywood® Products Do You Stock?
We are currently just replacing our glass table tops for Polywood®. We are looking and testing garden benches and tables for our summer 2014 ranges.

1. Polywood is a registered trademark of Poly-Wood, Inc
2. HDPE is High-density polyethylene