Caring for Your Antiques

13-07-2010

We are often asked about the best way to care for your antique furniture and here are our top tips.

On a weekly basis dusting with a soft, dry cloth will be sufficient. Go with the grain of the wood, not in circles and avoid using spray polishes which contain silicates; these can cause a sticky and smeary surface to build up. Once a year apply a natural beeswax polish which can be purchased from any good hardware store. Apply the beeswax polish in a thin film going with the grain and leave to harden for a few hours before buffing up.

Regular dusting with a soft cloth will help maintain and improve an antique's surface and patina as seen on this Chippendale tripod

Things to avoid:

A lack of humidity.

Antiques are made from naturally seasoned wood unlike modern furniture which is made with kiln dried wood. Modern central heating can sometimes lead to dry airless rooms in which antique furniture will split and crack. An inexpensive humidifier, bowl of water or vase of flowers can help overcome this problem.

Placement too close to a heat source.

This can also lead to splitting and cracking and we recommend keeping antique furniture at least two feet way from any heat source.

Things to have to hand:

Brown or Black Beeswax Polish.

This is excellent for reviving slightly sun faded pieces or getting out shallow scratches. As before apply the wax in a thin film following the grain, leave for a few hours and then buff up. You may need to do this two or three times.

Some may wish to avoid the effects of sunlight but it can result in an attractive faded colour as seen on this Regency cabinet.

Wood Glue.

Buy a proper wood glue, not super glue. This is invaluable for replacing bits of loose veneer or can be dribbled into a loose joint.

Masking Tape.

This is perfect for holding loose pieces in place and will not leave a mark on a polished surface when removed unlike sellotape.

If there is a problem you can not fix.

Reindeer Antiques will be more than happy to recommend a restorer alternatively contact BAFRA the trade body of Antique Furniture Restorers.

Author: Peter Alexander