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Eric Earl Hamilton Marsden Restorers: 7 tips for taking care of antique furniture

Modern home furnishings are far different from antique furniture, so the methods involved in taking care and repairing both types of furniture shouldn't be the same. It’s also evident that the ways involved in taking care of valuable and historical antique furniture have changed throughout the years and you're possibly thinking that the use of adhesives, fasteners, finishes, and polishes can help you protect and preserve each piece you have, but you’re wrong, simply because those things just affect the current and future value of your furnishings.


Do you want to preserve the value of your precious antique furniture? Eric Earl Hamilton Marsden Furniture Restorers is here to give you a hand by sharing the following tips:


Take extra care when moving a furniture


Check if there are any loose or damaged joinery when you're moving your antique furniture,you can avoid fraud deals by doing so. You must carry the chairs through their seat rails, and tables through their apron and legs. Don't drag large furniture across the floor, lifting it is far better.


It's also best to remove the doors, drawers, and shelves first before moving a furniture. You can also put blankets or any proper padding on glass doors to protect them. Carry large items on their back or top. Marble tops on furniture should be removed first before moving them and must be carried in a vertical manner along with mirrors and glass.


Avoid direct sunlight


Place your antique furniture away from direct sunlight because sunlight can degrade early finishes, wood, and fabrics. If possible, put curtains or shades around such pieces to deter contact from sunlight.


Put a humidifier or a dehumidifier in your home


The amount of moisture in the air can also affect antique furniture. The wood might expand or contract due to the changes in relative humidity. Eric Earl Hamilton Marsden Furniture Restorers recommends the use of a humidifier or a dehumidifier to help lessen the damaging effects of too much moisture (or dryness) into your valued antique furniture. These apparatus can help you maintain the relative humidity in your home.


Be wary of insects and pests


Be careful of common insects and pests that could bring pernicious effect to your antique furniture. Insects and other small pests can often be seen on fabrics, leather, wood, and upholstery materials.


Termites or powder post beetles can eat their way on the grain inside the wood until they mature. Exit holes on wood are often caused by mature insects that bore their way out. If there are any signs of active infestations, consult an exterminator or conservator right away to quickly quarantine the predicament caused by those pests. You can identify active infestations through exit holes and a frass appearing beneath a furniture.


Body oils, grease and dirt build-up on the surface of a furniture can attract cockroaches, which can damage the furniture and its existing finish. Raw wood surfaces may also have stains produced by the pest’s excrement.


Problems with small rodents shouldn’t also be ignored, so it’s better to address this issue quickly to avoid any harmful damages to your home. They are often drawn to upholstery materials found in antique furniture.


Avoid too much heat


You're probably aware that heat can cause shrinking effect which can result to loosen glue joints, marquetry, wood veneers, and wood inlays, so you must avoid placing antique furniture near fireplaces, heating vents, radiators, and stoves. 


Consider maintaining the original aged finish


You can enhance the appearance of your antique furniture without damaging the existing finish. The finish found on historic furniture is as significant as the furniture piece itself, so stripping and refinishing only damages the patina and removes the original finish coating, which couldn’t be recovered once removed.


Patterns of wear that signifies the history of use are also gone during refinishing. However, it's up to you to decide whether to follow this specific tip or not since proper and complete refinishing can increase the value of your furniture. You can consult other furniture restoration specialists for further helpful tips on taking care of your antique furniture.


Apply paste wax instead of oils


Lack of moisture is the main reason why wood dries out; and not from the lack of oil. Furniture oils can only contribute to the degradation of the finish after some time because oils leave a residue that attracts dust and dirt build up. Furniture paste wax is preferred by Eric Earl Hamilton Marsden Furniture Restorers to help you maintain a varnished finish because it is stable and long lasting, and can provide protection from too much moisture and dust.


Problems may occur with future restoration or repairs if you're going to apply silicone based polishes on the finish. Silicon oil leaves a film behind that's really difficult to remove, which affects the adhesion of spot repairs or restoration of the existing finish. Brass and copper hardware on historical and other valuable antiques shouldn't be polished just to remove the tarnished appearance - this is to retain the original finish and patinas found on the hardware.


Most of the time, antique furniture hold a significant value because of its artistic and historical worth, which weigh great importance to an individual.  If handled by professionals like Eric Earl Hamilton Marsden Furniture Restorers, your antique furniture can increase its value after proper restoration or complete refinishing and repair. Always be careful when deciding what proper course of treatment or repairs you will use on your antique furniture.