Bookends are often made from familiar materials, such as different metals, wood, stone, marble, glass and porcelain, either completely or in combinations of these materials. With the proper care, they will remain as beautiful as their first day on display.
One reason bookends are frequently made from metal is that metal tends to be heavy, keeping bookends stable and enabling them to support large, heavy books. Metal on a wooden base is a common combination for bookends. While creating the bookends, craftsmen must deal with the metals' tendency to oxidize upon exposure to air, producing tarnish. Brass is particularly susceptible to tarnish. Metal bookends are finished with a clear lacquer coating, often combined with a gold, silver, bronze, or Verdigris finish to preserve the bookends and inhibit tarnish. For lacquered brass, bronze or pewter bookends in good condition, wash them quickly in warm soapy water, rinse well and dry thoroughly. Never wash bookends with wooden bases.
Cleaning and Preserving Wooden Bookends|
Bookends can be crafted from a number of gorgeous, traditional hardwoods, including cherry, mahogany, maple or oak. Wooden surface might have multicolored or brushed finishes. Dusting wooden bookends on a regular basis will remove grime and grit that can cause the wood's protective finish to weaken. Dust them with a clean, soft, slightly damp (never wet) cotton cloth. Over time, certain silicone-based polishes can damage the finish or the wood, so use great caution with polishes. Keeping wooden bookends out of direct sunlight and avoiding extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity will also prolong their life and beauty.
Caring for Porcelain
Porcelain bookends are almost always fired, in either bisque or with a high-gloss glaze finish. As long as the porcelain has been fired, it is quite stable. Clean porcelain bookends with an all-purpose type cleaner or glass cleaner, using a cotton-tipped swab to reach deep crevices.
Cleaning Marble or Stone
Marble or stone bookends are naturally lustrous. To keep the bookends clean, simply rinse in clean, warm water and dry well with clean cloths. Do not use polishes as these might cause yellowing over time.
Polishing Glass Bookends
Glass bookends can be dramatic and glorious. Glass cleaner works well on the glass surfaces; just be sure to use lint-free cloths as lint will collect on the glass and make it look dusty.
Quality bookends are created with attention to detail and longevity. With the correct maintenance, bookends can retain their impressive beauty for generations.