Abbey Group

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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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Insurance

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How To Take Care Of Your Antiques

7th August 2019

 

If you’re lucky enough to own some genuine antiques – whether they be furniture or some fine silver spoons – you want to make sure they look good and stay that way. With a little loving attention and the right know-how, a good piece should easily last a century or two, giving the same pleasure to generations to come. But first, you need to know how to take care of your antiques properly, which is what we’re here to talk about today.

Put It In The Right Place

First things first, the place you put your antique furniture in your home will impact how long it lasts. Antique furniture should never be placed close to any heating vents, radiators or any source of direct heat or sunlight. The reason for this is simple, it can cause the veneers to lift and the joints to dry out. It also creates a dry environment for the wood, which over time can cause the wood to shrink and split along the grain. A good rule of thumb is to keep them at least 2 feet from any heat source at all times. If you can, invest in a good humidifier for the room as well, to keep the wood in tip-top condition.

Clean With Care

A lot of people we speak to are nervous about cleaning their antiques, or worried that they will use the wrong thing to clean them, ending up damaging them. The reality is that keeping antiques, and particularly antique furniture, clean isn’t a complicated thing. Make sure you dust it regularly with a soft cotton cloth or feather duster. Try to avoid using spray dusters, as these contain silicone, which will damage any wax finishes you may have. If there are spillages or marks, clean first with a soft cloth and warm water. If that doesn’t work, try using a cleaning product designed for that kind of antique – not a generic cleaner.

Don’t Overpolish

You probably take a lot of pride in your antiques, which means you want to make sure they are shiny and beautiful at all times. However, overpolishing and waxing your antiques so they shine can actually be bad for them. Too much wax or polish can cause the antique to become sticky, and can actually wear away at the finish, or else create a nasty layer of built-up wax that will discolour over time. For most furniture, polishing once a year should be plenty, though a dining table in daily use should perhaps be waxed slightly more often. To polish your furniture, use a good quality paste wax, and not a commercial spray or wax. Follow the instructions on the can to apply. A great trick is to use some cheesecloth or an old cotton t-shirt to create a polishing ‘pad’ by placing one or two tablespoons of wax inside a few layers and then kneading it through the cloth. This stops you using too much polish and gives you an even distribution.

Care For Patina

Most antique pieces of furniture, silver, jewellery or anything else using metal or wood will eventually develop a natural patina. This is caused by the builds up over many years of wear, polishing, oxidisation and light. While that might sound bad, a patina is actually a very precious thing, and can add significant value to a piece. Patina is a sign of ageing that distinguishes poor craftsmanship from the best, and should never be removed. Unless the surface is incredibly badly damaged and the finish no longer protects the wood properly, you should never consider having the surface of an antique stripped and re-polished.

General Care

And finally, some general care. Try to use natural cleaners where you can – a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water is a good option for pieces that get greasy or sticky, as it cuts through the grease without damaging the finish. If you’re struggling with drawers that stick or don’t run well, you could try rubbing pieces of candle wax along runners and sides. Try to avoid setting drinks glasses, vases of flowers or any hot or cold containers on surfaces without protection, a these could cause marks and permanent damage. And finally, if a piece of inlay or veneer comes off when dusting or just during use, don’t throw it away. Keep it safe, and when you next take the piece in for repairs, bring it with you. This will save hours of your restorer’s time – and your money.

At Abbey Group, we are passionate about antiques. We love discovering all of the wonderful pieces you have out there, and helping restore them to their former glory. We work with pieces that are damaged, need repairs or just need a little TLC to bring out the best in them. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch with us today.

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