There is hardly anything as charming and attractive in the world as a stately piece of antique furniture. Older wooden pieces develop a warmth and beauty that can’t be found in a new piece of furniture. It’s called ‘patina’ and comes with care and the slow progression of time, in some types of wood patina can take centuries to perfect.
Even if the wooden furniture gets scuffed and scratched the marks only add character to the antique. But, if not treated properly, the wooden furniture can be damaged too badly for successful repair work. If you are fortunate enough to get your hands on a lovely piece of antique furniture, you will want to avoid mistreating it at all costs. Following are some essential tips to get you started.
Wax it Often
To create a patina that will encourage praise and admiration you will need to cultivate and nurture the wooden furniture with care and regular maintenance. The most important task will be regular waxing. Find a natural beeswax which will nourish the wood bring out its full grain colour while protecting the surface. The protection provided by this type of wax is far superior to modern aerosol furniture waxes that can actually damage antique furniture.
Waxing is simple enough; just apply a small amount of wax to a dry lint-free dusting cloth and rub vigorously in the direction of the grain until the wood shines. If your furniture is especially dry the wax may be absorbed very quickly, just add another coat until the shiny appeal stays. Waxing must be done every few months but dust daily or weekly as this will help develop a thick layer of protective wax.
Think About Positioning
Most people would rather display their lovely antique furniture in the home where its beauty can be enjoyed by all. But, locations are a critical consideration when looking to preserve the longevity of your antique. For example, right beside the window seems like the best spot for a lovely rocking chair. But wait – the UV rays of the sun can begin to alter the colours and compositions of the furniture they strike. This can lead to unpleasant reactions in the wood and connections too as the heat and warmth of the sun dries out wood and impacts connecting points.
Central heating is also something that will dry out wooden furniture leading to cracks and other deformation. The best place for your antique furniture will be in a room with stable temperatures and moisture levels. Don’t forget to keep it away from sunlight.
Moving and Handling
Statistically, your antique furniture has the greatest opportunity to be damaged when it is being transported from one place to another. Furniture can be scratched and knocked about while being carried down narrow alleys or crowded into a cramped moving van. So, antique furniture should receive some special treatment when being hauled from one place to another.
Carrying antiques is always a two-person job to ensure and equal lift and maximum control during tricky manoeuvres and avoid dragging the priceless item. Be careful to never place pressure where pressure is not due on these antiques as they can be damaged easily if misused. Finally, remove all drawers and removable parts from the furniture before moving and always lift from the lowest point you can. This may sound like extreme tenderness, but that’s the only thing that can keep the love alive –– and caring for a fine antique takes a lot of love.
Despite our best efforts to keep antiques in perfect conditions, accidents happen. But this does not mean that all is lost and your antique is ruined. There are specialists who can restore these pieces to their original splendour and make damage and repair work virtually undetectable. As you may imagine, such high-caliber skills, equipment and professional work takes a lot of time to develop, so don’t try to handle any repairs yourself. Be sure to contact your local professionals in antique care and maintenance for more information – furniture restorers in London, Manchester, and every city in the UK can help with restoring damaged antiques.