Long Live Your Map
There’s no special care required for your map -- it should look great for many years to come.
It starts with the back
Wood is an organic material, and like all living things, it changes over time. A few years ago when your map was a part of a living tree, it was about 60% water by weight; now, it’s less than 10% water. In the process of kiln drying lumber, it expands and contracts causing internal stresses to develop.
Depending on the size, topography, and wood species, carving a map can cause these stresses to go out of balance, leading to warping of the map with seasonal or geographic changes in moisture. To prevent that, some maps are carved both on the side you see and on the back side. The back side carving is then covered up with a thin piece of hardwood plywood to leave a clean surface for mounting and engraving your personalized message.
This process takes a bit of extra work, but it helps to equalize the stresses in the wood and ensure your map will stay flat and stable for years to come.
If needed, you can dust your map using a soft paintbrush or clean, compressed air (from a compressor or canned air).
Some wood species may change color over time if placed in a location where they are exposed to direct sunlight: walnut will lighten, and cherry will darken.
Your map is made from kiln-dried hardwood, carefully milled and seasoned to remain as stable as possible. Wood is a natural material that is sensitive to moisture, so changes in humidity (in transit to you, or between winter and summer) can cause some small changes over time.
If your map is made from multiple pieces, it has been designed to have a small gap between each piece to allow for expansion and contraction seasonally. The gap will be largest in dry climates or periods.