Is there anything more attractive than a unique, antique piece of wood? Old pieces of wood have a glow and warmth to them that is absent from new pieces of wooden furniture. The warmth is known as “patina”, and it takes several years to form and develop. With some types of wood, it can take centuries! Even if the surface is scuffed or marked, these additions can add to the character of the item. However, without the correct care and treatment of the wood, the piece can become easily damaged (sometimes even beyond repair). If you are lucky enough to own some antique wooden furniture, it is essential that you take proper care of the piece with the basic guide below. For damaged pieces we would always recommend using a professional restorer like Abbey Group.
#1: Wax The Wood Regularly
Remember that patina we spoke about? To maintain the patina, it is essential to keep the piece of antique wood waxed. The ideal wax is natural beeswax as this substance nourishes the wood, protects its surface, and brings out the colour of the wood’s grain. It can also provide protection for the furniture, unlike modern spray polishes that can damage the wood if used regularly.
Waxing as a task is a relatively simple one. To wax wood, all you need to do is place a small amount of wax on a lint-free, clean and soft cloth. Rub the wax in the direction of the grain until the surface shines. If the wood has dried over time, the wax will soak into the wood quickly; however, if it does this, you must continue to apply the wax until the shine remains. Polish the furniture every few months with regular dusting in-between polishing to protect the furniture surface.
#2: Consider The Furniture Positioning
For the majority of people, antique furniture should be displayed in the house and not hidden in a spare room; however, you should be careful regarding the room in which you feature the item. The antique rocking chair may look most attractive by the window, but this does not mean that it is the best position for the furniture. In this case, the furniture can become easily damaged because the direct sunlight can bleach the wood and make it’s surface an uneven colour. The prolonged exposure to heat can also result in cracked wood, a need for more frequent waxing, and lifting of the veneers. Many environmental factors affect antique wooden furniture, so it is crucial that you consider where you place the furniture. Ideally, you should keep the piece out of direct sunlight and in an area that is well-ventilated.
#3: Handling and Moving
Moving from one property to another is when most furniture breaks or becomes damaged. Passing items through narrow doorways and placing them in crowded vans is not ideal when transporting antique wooden furniture. All antique furniture should be treated with respect and care, moved as little and as carefully as possible. If you need to move the furniture, ensure that you have two people move the piece to avoid any chipping and dragging. Never tilt the furniture on its legs as this can damage the joints – instead you should consider furniture glides or castors. It is also recommended that you lift the furniture from the lowest part of the frame and remove any drawers when transporting units. This might be obvious, but any rough handling can result in damage of antique wooden furniture.
In some cases, despite a person’s best efforts, the furniture becomes damaged. This does not mean the piece is lost forever. It is possible to repair damaged antique furniture using a furniture restorer with unique skills. This can take time, equipment, and the restorer needs to match the style of furniture, so it is best left to professionals.