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Antique Restoration is Both an Art and a Science
Antique furniture refers to those interior furnishings that are of significant age. Generally, these furnishings function as human support fixtures such as beds, tables, and chairs; or storage equipment such as cabinets, drawers, shelves, and the like.
Apart from playing functional roles in the daily existence of men, antique furniture also function as decorations and designs in one’s home. Antiques can also be in the form of religious or cultural symbols.
Basically, antique furniture can be made from various materials such as wood, metal, glass, or plastic. The value and price of an antique is basically based on its age, condition, and its peculiarity or uncommonness.
In the quest to preserve the value and price of such precious tools, people have tried various processes to “restore” antique furniture. Such art and science that was developed, is referred to as Antique Restoration.
Factors to Be Considered In Antique Restoration
The main purpose of antique restoration is to maintain the value and worth of the piece. As such, the usual main basis for the antique’s worth is its age or its functionality. In restoring antique furniture, it is often necessary to first examine whether the age or the functionality of the item should be emphasized or prioritized.
Note that there are some antique furniture collectors who value the “patina” of the item. As such, they make it a point to examine if the appearance of the item still reflects its age and aesthetic value. In such cases where the age of the furniture should be reflected by its appearance, light cleaning should be made.
Light cleaning refers to the form of restoration that involves the process of removing the disfiguring dirt, grime, stain, or any other foreign materials that the furniture acquired through the years. However, careful consideration to maintain the “old” appearance of the furniture should be made. This type of antique restoration is usually applicable for paintings, jars, pots, goblets, and other small furniture.
On the other hand, there are some cases when the antique furniture is valued only when they seem useful or functional. This is usually the case of antique cabinets, chairs, tables, drawers and other storage furniture. As such, light cleaning will no longer be sufficient. Refinishing, stripping, and repairing should also be made. Such processes may entail the replacement of some parts of the antique furniture. Polishing and repainting can also be considered. However, regardless of the process that will be applied, it is important to note that the value of the antique should be retained or increased after the restoration process.
Another form of antique restoration is conservation. Unlike other restoration processes that aim to retain the object’s functionality or appealing form, conservation is mainly concerned with the preservation of the remaining material. Note that in such cases, the value and worth of the antique solely depend on the fact that it is old.
Basically, conservation is highly applicable for an antique furniture piece that is only displayed. In the conservation process, the task of the antique restorer is to not to make the object seem new. Instead, he needs to stop or slow down the deterioration process of the antique material.
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