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Furniture

Furniture is a fine investment and well cared for furniture even more so. I recommend that at a very minimum you use a good quality wax polish to keep your furniture in top quality condition. A good patina is a valuable asset to any piece of antique furniture and much care should be taken to preserve this.

Cleaning

- Clean any intricate areas with a soft brush (not a hard brush which may scratch or damage patina).

- Treat wood with a good quality wax (beeswax) polish at least once every 6 months (for metal or upholstery care see other sections but if applying metal cleaners ensure they do not get onto any wood surface).

- For poorly polished pieces apply the polish and leave for 12 hours to allow the polish to nourish the wood.

- Select a polish appropriate for the colour of wood to be treated.

- Generally apply polish sparingly with a soft cloth and then buff off with lint free cloth.

- Do not use silicone based spays as they will leave a film which may become difficult to remove.

- No oil based polishes as they tend to darken the surface.

- During cleaning always take particular care not to scratch surfaces.

Repair

- Only attempt minor repairs yourself.  All major repairs should only be undertaken by a qualified restorer.

- Small surface scratches can be covered using either a natural or synthetic product making sure to match colours accurately. Do not attempt to repair long or deep scratches which should be dealt with via a qualified restorer. Polish over after completing repair.

- Make any re-attachments using animal based rather than synthetic glue.  Use only a small amount and take care that any glue does not seep beyond the join.  Leave 24 hours then polish after repair.

- Spillages or rings left by wine glasses can be treated with a damp cloth soaked in a weak solution of vinegar (but only use on well polished surfaces).  After cleaning wipe again with water and dry thoroughly. Do not polish wet surfaces.

- Damage from wood beatle should be treated by a qualified restorer.

  Display

- Avoid extremes in temperature and humidity particularly very dry conditions which can make wood shrink, since it is an organic material.

- The ideal humidity for any piece of furniture is between 50% - 55%. Outside of this range consider the use of humidifies or dehumidifiers to best preserve your pieces.

- Avoid direct sunlight which may effect finish and fade colours.

- Keep well away from strong heat sources such as central heating radiators which may warp veneers.

- Check regularly for signs of insect infestation particularly wood beatle.  If any signs of wood beatle are present treat immediately.

Handling

- As always lift and handle any furniture with care making note of any part that might become easily detached.

- Remove drawers and lock any doors. Always open drawers using the two handles.

- Preferably lift all furniture well down the structure using white cotton gloves.

- Take particularly care with any special finish such as gilding.

- Use covers and padding to protect from scratches or "percussion" damage.

Storage

- Always adequately protect any furniture going to store. If possible use a specialist "fine art" packer/shipper.

- Store in a properly ventilated and temperature controlled warehouse and inspect pieces at least every three months for any signs of "storage" damage.

References

- Roger Heath-Bullock, www.heath-bullocks.com

- LAPADA - www.lapada.co.uk/care/furniture.html

- RICS Antiques and Fine Arts Faculty

The Trusted Experts on the site will advice you about restoration and many other matters related to what we hope will be a very enjoyable and at times profitably hobby and past time.

Information compiled by Roger Heath-Bullock

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