Caring For Your Antique Furniture

Posted on 28th March 2020

 Caring for your precious items can be difficult especially if they’ve been handed down from generation to generation in which the translation of caring for these can be lost.

It’s difficult in the current market what products to use due to the different types of finishes that have been applied at the point of manufacturing. With this in mind we at Alexander Christian have decided to share a little bit of base knowledge in how to care and maintain those precious items that have been passed down from generation to generation very much like our skills today.

First of all do not mistaken the modern day finishes and techniques for your precious items as many of the modern day polishes can often distort the clarity of a well-kept item. In addition to this the homes have changed over the years with central heating and larger expanse of glass being used in construction which adds an extra feature into the depreciation of your loving antiques.

 Many of the finishes today have a tough synthetic varnish applied to them and are different to the common finish used in the 16th and 17th century such as oils and beeswax polishes. In the 18th century French polishing was introduced in the early 1820s involving a method of applying shellac that achieved a high gloss finish with less effort.

 Understanding the difference is paramount in being able to keep and maintain these products. Firstly these products are less durable and prone to chipping in comparison to the synthetic finishes applied with modern day furniture.

 Veneered furniture is particularly vulnerable to dry or damp conditions especially if water or polish seats with between the surface skin and causes the veneer to buckle, lift or split.

 Furniture in direct sunlight can often fade and combined with the central heating that is in modern day homes if the items are too close they can cause too much dryness causing boeing and lifting of the veneer.

 With this in mind it is difficult how to maintain our loving items especially with the amount of different options and new products on the market.

 Tried and tested ways have been there for years and a combination of these methods can keep your precious items remaining in a fabulous condition as intended when they were first  lovingly made.

 Lots of time and effort goes into producing these precious items so why would you compromise the condition of your product not using methods that have stood the test of time.

Many of the spray silicon sprays and wax sprays on the market can have an effect on your item. Most items that have been lovingly cared for previously have been waxed over the years in which you should only need to buff the item with a chamois leather or duster and then using a wax once every few months. Solvents used in furniture polish especially the spray polishes can leave a white bloom on some of the surfaces and gradually dissolving the finish.

Using a microcrystalline wax  is a method that was developed by the British Museum in the 1950s to replace the potential unsustainable natural waxes that were previously used such as beeswax and carnauba which are still used today.

Carefully dusting you take down a process of using this wax in small segments at the time and gently buffing afterwards not only bring life back to your antique and reserve it for many years to come. Carefully not applying too much wax is essential in which this can be applied either with a very fine wire wool or linen cloth and gently buffed away after applying.   Fine wire wool has been generally used as it prevents over application of the wax to the product and a gentle linen cloth afterwards to remove the excess is a tried and tested way of maintaining your precious items.

This process is generally used once or twice a year and should not exceed this,  daily or weekly care for the furniture and can easily be maintained with a slightly damp cloth to wipe away and a similarly dry cloth to clean as any residue is all that it is necessary to care for  your antique. 

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