One glance at antique furniture
will show that these special pieces differ from contemporary
furniture in many important ways. Made decades, in some
cases even centuries ago, antique furniture exhibits construction
techniques, styles and materials that require unique expertise
to re-upholster without risk of damage. Passed from generation
to generation within families, antique furniture holds memories
and special meaning, in addition to the particular re-upholstery
requirements. Without consulting a specialist for the re-upholstery
job, antique furniture owners could end up with a compromised
piece and heartache. The following tips offer important
points to keep in mind when seeking re-upholstery help with
Compared to the furniture of today, antique furniture was
made with different construction techniques and specific
types of padding, both important points to be considered
when making the decision to reupholster. Consider the springs,
for instance, where antique furniture contains hourglass-style
springs instead of modern furniture’s zigzag or mesh
springs. In comparison to the springs of contemporary furniture,
antique furniture springs provide outstanding comfort, but
they must be fitted with care and tied-in correctly so that
they maintain position and continue to provide excellent
support. The re-upholstery service must consider the special
nature of antique furniture springs in order to avoid damaging
the quality of a beloved piece.
In addition to differences with springs, antique furniture
is known for padding that uses older items such as horsehair
and cotton felt, not the foam common to modern pieces. Foam
destroys the integrity of antique items and makes them look
awkward, not to mention feel less comfortable, which makes
it essential for any re-upholstery service to keep this
difference in mind.
While it may seem that no modern elements should ever be
used in antique furniture, there are some cases of contemporary
articles that prove more effective in older pieces. For
example, the traditional tacks in antique furniture represent
an exception that proves inferior to more modern solutions
like staples. In contrast to staples, traditional tacks
make larger holes in the wood frame and become more likely
to cause the wood to split, especially when antique wood,
which dries out with age, combines with the severity of
modern heating systems. Remember, antique furniture was
designed for the years before high-tech heating and cooling
systems. Take note that an antique furniture re-upholster
understands these differences in historical time, and offers
staples in addition to traditional tacks.
Obviously, the re-upholstery of antique furniture requires
special skills and knowledge, and not all upholstery services
are equipped to offer this level of expertise. The job requires
sympathy to the different construction and materials, not
to mention the patience to work through a time-consuming
task, where antique furniture re-upholstery work cannot
be rushed at the expense of the pieces’ integrity.
Be sure to research any re-upholstery service and read testimonials.
Better yet, ask friends and family members for their opinions
and valuable word of mouth, and always request to see examples
of re-upholstery work. The expense may be greater in the
short run for this kind of re-upholstery, but the long-term
investment in antique furniture brings a satisfaction that
proves priceless over generations.
It is a specialist skill, and most upholsterers are equipped
to deal with antique style furniture in a sympathetic way.
Unfortunately there are some upholsterers who are clearly
out of their depth and can too often ruin antique furniture
by stuffing the seats with rags!!
Antique upholstery is time consuming, and a rushed job quickly
becomes apparent, when the seat area becomes bumpy or sinks.
There are many antique re-upholstery specialists throughout
the country, who will sympathetically restore your antique
furniture so that it will become your heirlooms of the future.
Whilst the cost of such work is inevitably higher than for
modern furniture, with right upholsterer with and attention
to detail, the finished product will be an investment for
years to come.