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

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

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Caring for your antique wooden furniture

26th February 2018


There is something very special about an antique piece of furniture. When you care for it properly, wood can glow with a warmth and surety that’s very special. And if it’s a piece you’ve inherited, it may bring back many fond memories as well. So naturally, you want to make sure it’s taken care of properly. Above all, the main aim of caring for your antique wooden furniture is to preserve the patina. If you’re not sure what a patina is, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to describe, but it’s essentially the thing that gives your wooden furniture it’s unique character. So how do you protect the patina and care for your antique wooden furniture properly?

What is a Patina?

Put simply, the patina is the surface formed by a combination of the ageing process, rubbing, dusting and waxing, along with the oxidisation of the wood and the effect of the sun’s rays. The dirt and dust that clings to the edges creates a highlight for the paler surfaces. Even the natural grease from your fingers plays its part to darken the areas around the handle. All of those things come together to create the unique ‘look’ of your wooden furniture. The flat yellow colour of walnut becomes a golden, honey coloured deep finish. Oaks richen from a dull grey to a deep, dark brown, and mahogany loses its reddish hue and softens to a lovely brown, gold and grey mix. Every patina is unique, and it can’t be reproduced or created artificially. It has to be created over years of use, dings, love and scratches. That’s what makes it so unique. It also adds to the intrinsic value of the piece. Without its patina, antique wooden furniture would just be, well, wooden furniture.

How Do I Care for My Antique Wooden Furniture?

A patina takes years to build up, and when cared for it can last a lifetime. But it can also be destroyed in seconds simply by using the wrong products. So to help you preserve your patina, we have a few tips for you:

DON’T – use Pledge, or any other spray furniture cleaning products. While they are fine for newer or cheaper furniture, they leave an oily residue that can cause excess shine and damage the patina.

DO – use a good quality beeswax to polish your furniture. This will bring out the colour and grain of the wood and provide the best protection. Apply a little at a time, rubbing softly and following the grain of the wood, building up a deep, layered finish. You should do this at least once a year, if not more.

DON’T – use any kind of rough cloth or tool to clean your furniture, as it will scratch the surface. This also means steering clear of feather duster too – broken feathers are like little scratchy sticks that will damage the piece.

DO – make sure you take the dust off the piece completely. This sounds silly, but often if an object has wax on it you just end up moving the dust around. So when you’re dusting (with a soft cloth), make sure all of the dust is actually removed.

DON’T – polish any metal ornamentation or hardware, like handles, knobs or keyholes. Using mental cleaning products. This risks damaging the wood underneath.

DO – remove metal fixtures if they are tarnished and require cleaning. Removing them ensures the restoration of the metal won’t damage the wood.

DON’T – try to clean up and fix damage from spills, stains or serious scratches yourself. Avoid using home-made remedies or shop bought solutions.

DO – take your piece of furniture to a professional restorer if it becomes damaged. They will be able to repair the damage and preserve the patina.

At Abbey Group, we specialise in the care and restoration of antique furniture. From wooden side units to chairs, upholstery, clocks, art and even flooring, we have decades of experience in restoring your treasured possessions. We offer a few, no-obligation written conservation report and quotation, and can even provide valuations of your pieces before we start. For more information, or to get a quote for your own restoration project, just get in touch with us today.

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