Can I Carry Out Antique Repairs Myself or Should I Seek Professional Restoration Services?
If you are handy around the home or short on money, it can be tempting to think that you can resolve any problems with your vintage or antique furniture yourself. But if the piece has any value to you, whether it’s because it was costly to purchase or holds sentimental memories of the past for you, then it is usually inadvisable to take the chance. Sometimes, an antique repairs specialist may quote you what seems like a high price for repairs, but that masks the years of skill and artistry they can bring to the job.
What Tasks Can Antique Restoration Specialists Undertake?
One key area of work that is best left to furniture repairs experts is the rectification of structural damage. If you have antique or reproduction dining chairs that are coming adrift at the joints, a cabinet with broken drawer runners or an ornate dining table with sections of beading or a castor missing, then professional advice should be sought. It’s often a far more complex job than using a tube of glue or a few nails, if the piece is worth anything to you. The process of restoration involves ensuring that any dining chairs or cabinet repairs are in keeping with the remainder of the item so that it will stand up to scrutiny if you ever decide to sell it, for instance. It’s also likely that a craftsman will be able to do a much cleaner, neater job, so the damage will be all but invisible instead of potentially an eyesore.
Reupholstery is another skill best left to the professionals. First, the process of taking off the old material or leather may well reveal structural damage that needs undertaking. In this case, a specialist will already have all the tools and experience they need at their disposal. That might require replacement of broken springs in a sofa or fixing the frame. Then, there’s the matter of replacing the fabric. The seats or back may need re-stuffing which, in an antique piece, might involve sourcing a stuffing material that is as close to the original as possible, or cleaning and reusing what is already there. If the original fabric can’t be repaired to the required standard, the master craftsman can source a similar style and type or, on a less valuable piece or for reproduction repairs, may have an array of other colours, designs and styles for you to choose from.
Cleaning is a Delicate Operation
Finally, cleaning of tired furniture where it’s delicate through age or design is a matter best left to the professionals. While you can and should dust the item frequently, any more serious problems such as a lacklustre finish needs specialist attention. Off-the-shelf cleaning products can cause more damage to ageing surfaces; and skills like French polishing to restore the gloss and shine to wooden furniture take a long time to perfect. Likewise, don’t undertake cleaning the inside of your antique clock yourself: an expert can carry out routine cleaning and maintenance as well as any clock repairs needed to keep it ticking, without the risk of causing damage.
For expert antique repairs in Sussex, Surrey and beyond, call the team at A. E. Booth & Son. We’ll treat your precious pieces as if they were our own.