For beginner collectors or those who have recently inherited an heirloom piece, taking care of antique pieces is a priority. After all, the value of these pieces hugely depends on their condition; it is better to maintain the quality of an antique piece today, to avoid major restoration work in the future.
Here are some tips culled from a guide created by The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA):
Remember that antique furniture was created in a time when central heating and air-conditioning were not available. Since artificial heating during the winter months can lower the room’s humidity, it can also dry up the air-dried wood that makes up an antique. When the timber dries up, it shrinks; this leads to the antique piece loosening up, warping, or even cracking apart.
To avoid this situation, make sure that any antique piece is placed at least two feet away from the radiator or heater. If this is not possible, install insulation or a reflective barrier to keep the heat away. Installing a humidifier is another option.
Other than being a source of heat, the sun’s rays can also cause the polish on the piece to fade unevenly. To prevent this from happening, make sure that antique furniture is placed away from direct sunlight. Blinds or curtains can also help regulate the amount of sunlight in the room.
Instead of leaving a luscious luster behind, some kinds of polish can even end up harming the antique. For example, oil-based polish can react with antique wood, turning it black. Meanwhile, the silicone in spray polishes creates a sticky buildup that attracts dust instead of repelling it.
To be on the safe side, just use beeswax polish. And don’t go overboard, either—using this polish once or twice a year is enough to preserve the surface.
While lanolin-based leather dressing is the best option for reviving leather-topped furniture, colorless shoe cream is also a good alternative. Just make sure that the leather surface doesn’t have any cracks or damage before using any dressing or cream.
Of course, for antique pieces that have suffered damage in the past, basic maintenance won’t be enough. That’s where Niki Francis Restorations come in. We provide professional antique restoration services for clients in Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester Counties in Philadelphia. To know more about what we offer, call us at 610-525-5001 for an estimate.