The photos below are examples of what can happen to a table with humidity changes. This is not a defect, it is the result of natural movement in wood. The photos on the bottom are of plank tops that have moved with humidity changes. The breadboards do not expand the same way as the main panel because of the opposite grain directions, therefore creating an offset between the panel and the breadboards.
Wood is a product of nature and therefore acts in ways beyond human control. All hardwood has variation in its color and grain. These wood characteristics will put their own unique touch to each piece of solid wood furniture. Even though we go through the same building process, no two pieces will be exactly the same.
Most hardwoods are open grained, causing solid wood furniture to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity, even after protective finishes have been applied. These temperature changes may cause the wood to crack or have surface checks. This is not abnormal and these are not considered as flaws, but rather nature’s “beauty marks” which make each piece manufactured a truly unique piece of furniture.
Indoor humidity should be kept in the 35-40% range to minimize these effects. Solid wood should be kept away from direct sources of heating and cooling and should not be stored in attics or basements. Direct sunlight and fluorescent fixtures that contain ultraviolet rays can cause chemical changes in wood and finish and therefore should be avoided.
When cared for properly your solid wood furniture will become a piece of timeless beauty, one that will be treasured for generations.