I have decided to add this category on furniture refinishing and restoration to Buying and Selling Antiques because so many people have questions about how to refinish or restore antiques and when should you do this. There are also many questions on the best way to care for antiques. Many of these questions come about because of the Antiques Roadshow. They hear one of the experts say that this antique furniture piece is worth a certain amount, but if it hadn’t been restored, it would be worth this.
Let me say this information is based on my personal opinion and experiences in furniture refinishing and restoration, others may disagree. But we owned our own refinishing business along with our antiques store for over twenty-five years. So I do have a lot of experience in furniture refinishing and restoration. We had people working for us, but I spent many hours a day back in the refinishing shop. So the most often question we had was something like this, “Will getting this piece refinished reduce the value of it?” There is not one, simple answer to this question that will hold true for every piece. But my general response was that if a piece was mass produced, it will not generally reduce the value of the piece. So if your mother gave you the American oak round table from 1910 that belonged to your grandmother, I would say to get the table refinished and bring it back to its original glory. Part of this is personal preference. Some people like the “antique” look with the imperfections that come with age. Others want a piece that looks like it was made yesterday. There is no right or wrong answer. But since this is the most often asked and misunderstood question about furniture refinishing and restoration, I thought I would get it out of the way first.
There will be many more posts in this category on how and why to restore and take care of your antiques. We also got many questions on how to clean and care for their furniture pieces after they purchased it from us. So I will talk about the specific products we used and why we used them. I also will tell you products that we feel you definitely should not use and why.
Tips on Furniture Refinishing and Restoration
For those of you, whether an individual or someone in the antiques business, who wants to refinish and restore antiques, I will talk about the kind of products and tools I recommend in “How To” articles. It can be a very satisfying experience to take a piece of furniture in terrible condition and restore it to its original condition. But having the right tools and products can make the job a whole lot easier. I will try to show how to do it if you just want to restore only one or two pieces compared to someone who wants to do it regularly. Maybe I can save you from making the same mistakes we did in the beginning.
I must give credit to my best friend for doing this category. After looking at this site, he said I should write some articles on restoration and care because we did it for so many years. Hopefully you will be able to pick up some helpful tips on furniture refinishing and restoration.