Antique furniture restoration is not only an interesting and exciting topic, it can also be a rather controversial one.
Many ask this question - some reply never, some don't even ask it, they just do it and unfortunately sometimes badly.
Every restorer will give you a different answer.
The way I see it, is that it is simply a matter of taste. Yes - restoring an original chippendale table would be risking your investment turning into a bad buy.
But - just think - many pieces of antique furniture have been restored at some stage in their lives. One often sees early furniture that has had changes over its life - often to fit in with the surroundings and fashions of the time.
If a new one couldn't be afforded then the furniture that was there was re-polished, painted or even worse - legs shortened, drawers changed to doors etc.
The apron on country Biedermeier tables(German 1820) is often cut off so people can use more modern chairs to sit upon without their legs getting squashed by the curved apron. The original chairs were lower and mostly without upholstery.
Many pieces of antique furniture are stripped and re-polished when it isn't necessary.
So - before you jump right in and start stripping and sanding - please read my instructions for cleaning antique furniture first.
If you are looking for something that looks pristine - then perhaps you shouldn't be buying antique furniture in the first place. sorry, just had to spit that out!
Those scratches and dents, the darkening polish etc are called PATINA.
Patina builds up over the years and in a restoration is very difficult to replace - I should say almost impossible.
When restoring your antique furniture think reversible...
whatever you do should be easily reversible- think ahead, one day you may have to fix the piece again.
The topics below will be covered as I have time to put the information together - so again - please keep an eye out for new content.
It is important to plan your furniture restoration, here are some -
Which glue - Animal or Hide glue, other glues.
Veneer repairs and more extensive techniques.
Using traditional stains and a few old recipes.
Finishes - French polish, Oil, Wax and other traditional finishes.
Filling cracks, or grain filling.