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Antique Furniture Restoration

   
 

Antique furniture restoration is a meticulous process in which valuable and sentimental pieces of furniture are carefully preserved so that future generations can enjoy domestic artwork of past craftsmen. Depending on the type and condition of the furniture being restored, this procedure requires a variety of tools, stains, solvents and knowledge concerning the wood and fabric used for that particular piece of furniture. However, before restoring antique furniture, check with an antique dealer to see just how valuable it is. Certain kind of antiques may decrease in value if refinished or restored.

Steps in the Restorative Process
Thoroughly cleaning antique furniture before starting the restoration process is advised so that any coloring stains applied later will not streak or appear uneven. To clean, you may need:

an excellent wood cleaner or dewaxer
soft cloths especially used with wood cleaners
toothbrushes
liquid soap and water to remove grime
phosphate-free liquid TSP for hard-to-remove dirt
denatured alcohol
paintbrushes
Wood furniture that is gritty may be cleaned using very fine steel wool and denatured alcohol. Make sure you wipe away the displaced grime with a paper towel before it dries. If more cleaning is needed, try an application of lacquer thinner using steel wool, followed by some denatured alcohol. Repeating this procedure generally results in establishing a smooth and lustrous finish to the antique.
Advice Regarding Antique Furniture Restoration
don't strip antique wood furniture unless it has been painted
bleaching wood strips wood of moisture, oils and resins
denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner helps protect and retain the finish of old wood
the value of antiques may decrease when polyurethane is used. Don't use this chemical if you care about the resale value of the furniture
concentrate on small areas at a time to ensure thorough cleaning is being done
keep furniture pieces stored in an area where temperatures don't fluctuate during the restoration process
dramatically bright light may cause discoloration of furniture being restored. Keep pieces in an area with reduced illumination
Structural Repair of Antique Furniture
Included in the restoration process is the problem of structural repairs on damaged antique furniture. Should you replace that sofa foot or chair leg that wobbles or has severe cracks and chips? Can it be salvaged? If you know that the antique is worth a decent amount of money, you might want to think about taking it to a professional restorer who can advise you on what should be done. The fundamental purpose of antique furniture restoration is to reconstruct the piece to its originally condition as faithfully as possible. Remember that repairing and restoring means entirely different processes when referring to antique furniture. Professionally restoring classic furniture is more of an art than a remodeling task.

As an extremely specialized and precise undertaking, antique furniture restoration requires patience, knowledge of waxes, cleaners and, of course, antique furniture. If you are unsure about the nature of the wood or other materials of which the item is made, consult a professional restorer first in order to avoid irreparable damage.
 
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