Today I’m sharing an expert guest post about antiques and, in particular, the ways that you can help to preserve their value – and what not to clean them with..!It can sometimes be difficult to know exactly what qualifies as an antique. After all, just because it has been passed down from your parents doesn’t mean something is old enough to qualify as an antique. In general an object is considered to be an antique when it is at least 100 years old. Of course there are exceptions to the rule and the term is often swapped with vintage; although something is generally considered vintage when it is related to a fashion that was popular in a specific timeframe.Discovering you have an antique can be quite exciting and you may feel the desire to spruce up your antique; making it looks its best so that you can sell it or even just keep it in your home. However, there are certain things you should do and some you shouldn’t if you wish to preserve the nature and value of your antique.
USE A PROFESSIONAL
If you want your antique restored then a professional French polishing service is an excellent idea. Choose a reputable firm and have them lovingly restore the finish off your antique. It’s important to choose a professional as they will use authentic materials and techniques when restoring the item. This will ensure it remains original and preserve the value for years to come.
DON’T USE MODERN CHEMICALS
There are plenty of modern options for removing the top coat of your furniture. This will allow you to repair it and then recoat it. Unfortunately this will also ruin the value of your antique. Modern chemicals can do far more damage than they first appear to and they will ruin the authenticity of the item.
Providing the item is not suffering from wood rot then you can simply do nothing except dust it and give it a wash with some warm water. This won’t restore it but it will maintain it and help it to retain its value. However, it is worth noting that there comes a point when the antique’s condition can become poor enough to adversely affect the value. This is when you will need to look at a full restoration.
A full restoration, carried out by professionals will, if necessary, remove part of the structure and replace it. A professional will ensure the wood is matched properly and the original style of joints is reused. The aim behind this is to keep the antique as close to original as possible; this will help it to retain its value.
BE CAREFUL WITH POLISHING
Modern polishes are generally much harsher than the older versions. While your intention may be to keep your antique looking its best, using the wrong polish could have the opposite effect. The harshness of the polish can actually strip the top layer off the antique and ruin it. To compound this you may think that wood oil is a good way of preserving the wood. However, this will soak in and stain the wood, and you’ll never be able to remove the stain.
WAXING IS GOOD
To finish it is important to note that most antique dealers will apply a coat of solid wax to the antique. This will protect it and can be easily removed if necessary.
Thanks to Glen Sheldon for sharing these handy (and, in the long-run, money-saving!) tips for taking care of your antiques. Let me know if you’ve got any antiques that you treasure and how you take care of them in the comments below.