Whether you’re an avid antiquarian or a professional dealer, there’s always a thing or two to learn about caring for the most precious items in your collection. It’s easy to feel inspired by the specialist knowledge shared by experts on Antiques Roadshow, and if you’ve found your niche already, it’s important to know the tricks of the trade.
Read on to find out more about why it’s so important to cherish and preserve your antiques, as well as some specific tips for maintaining antique furniture.
Keeping the antique tradition alive
Alluring, characterful and unique, there’s nothing quite like a rare antique. From heavy oak furniture to miniature diamond pendants, antique objects possess a certain charm that newer counterparts simply couldn’t replicate. If you’re familiar with antiques, you’ll know how easy it is to become attached and eager to find your next piece. To keep your treasure looking pristine and help to appreciate its value, you need to maintain it properly.
Caring for antique furniture
It’s worth learning how to care for antique wood furniture with the right techniques. When it comes down to preserving natural materials like antique mahogany, oak and pine, the technicalities can differ slightly.
Above all, it’s essential that you:
• Check moisture levels
Overextended periods of time, fluctuations in temperature and humidity can loosen inlays, joints, and veneers in antique furniture. Using moisture meters like those sold by RS will determine the humidity levels in the room, giving you an idea of any necessary alterations. If the air is too dry, it’s easy to keep humidity constant with a humidifier.
• Handle with care
Delicate, natural materials call for careful, attentive cleaning processes. The British Antique Dealers’ Association recommends dusting your furniture with a soft cloth regularly and using an organic, beeswax-based polish twice a year, avoiding spray polishes.
• Keep it cool
Antique furniture is particularly susceptible to warping under heat, and you might be surprised to learn that these sensitivities extend to normal household central heating. Warm temperatures can cause drawers to stick and doors to change shape. If possible, keep your furniture in a room with a constant mild or cool temperature.
• Minimise natural sunlight
You should do everything possible to keep your antique furniture out of direct sunlight. It’s not always guaranteed that your furniture has been treated to keep it from fading, so try to keep it away from windows and keep curtains drawn on sunny days, if possible.
• Consult a professional where necessary
Never attempt to repair a rare piece by yourself. It’s much more sensible to use a professional restorer, and you’ll need to expect the process to take some time. However, the quality of repair should make it more than worth the wait.