Abbey Group

People are talking!

When our oak dining table was damaged during our move we didn’t for a minute think that anyone would be able to restore it to its former state. The table was a wedding present, and so we are thrilled that you have not only repaired the damage so well that we can’t even tell where it was, but the table looks better than it has in years. I’m sure we’ll be back in future, and will be recommending your restoration services to our friends

James and Vanessa McNiven, Toft, Cambs

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Fire and flood

We have extensive experience of providing restoration and repair from fire, flood and accidental damage.

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Bespoke furniture

Our craftsmen create bespoke furniture to meet your exact needs.

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Antique Furniture Restoration

We have extensive experience of providing restoration and repair from fire.

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Insurance

We work with insurers to ensure a seamless service with one point of contact.

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When only the professional touch will do

6th January 2015

 

Whether you are a professional furniture restorer or a collector/buyer, you will share the common desire to see a piece of antique furniture that is broken, damaged or simply uncared for restored to its former glory. Where a former owner saw a table, a chair or a bookcase that was old, unfashionable or ‘in the way’, you will see endless opportunities for an item of beauty to be given fresh life. 

But all too often well-intentioned amateur restorers end up falling short of their ambitions, not through any malicious intention or carelessness but through a lack of knowledge or technical ability. A mahogany chest of drawers is stripped of its gleaming lustre; a chair that has stood the test of time but has a slight wobble is ‘fixed’ with a nail or a screw instead of being repaired properly. This is where the importance of a professional approach is so important. The British Antique Furniture Restorers’ Association (BAFRA) was created in 1979 to bridge the gap between qualified conservator-restorers and those whose love of antique furniture requires the highest standards of restoration and conservation.

The aim of BAFRA is to ensure that restoration and conservation work in the UK is carried out to the highest standards, and that owners and buyers of antique furniture have a trusted source of knowledge and advice. It also aims to educate its members on all matters of restoration and conservation, and offers a full range of courses, mentoring and qualifications.

Full membership of BAFRA requires a craftsman or woman to have at least five years as a conservation-restoration professional and to have passed exacting assessments on areas such as skills, technical know-how and business acumen. The organisation has a number of levels of membership to reflect different levels of expertise within the sector, from students to those with more than 20 years’ experience. For people who love the history of fine furniture and antiques there is a Friends section, where members will offer help, advice and information on any aspect of furniture restoration and conservation. 

The organisation also runs a number of training days and workshops designed to help people learn new skills and hone the knowledge they already have.

BAFRA was conceived as an antidote to the proliferation of unqualified and unskilled furniture restorers that sprung up in the 1980s. Thirty years later and furniture restoration remains as hit and miss as ever. While bodies such as BAFRA, the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers (BAPCR) and the Institute of Conservation (Icon) work hard to ensure that their members are fully qualified in the latest technology and have bought into the principles of conservation and restoration, namely: understanding the ethical basis of the profession and the responsibility for the care of cultural and historic heritage, there is also a plethora of well-meaning amateurs who do more damage than good.

We will all have seen the piece of furniture that has been painted, stripped, stained or varnished with disastrous effect. This work has not just destroyed the beauty of the piece, it has also wiped out its creator's intentions and its monetary value. By getting the help and advice of a furniture restorer who has the necessary qualifications, technical knowledge and experience, you will have played your part in restoring an item of beauty while acknowledging that our heritage and culture is something to treasure and be proud of.

 

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