We are experienced furniture restorers who can restore the full range of furniture: from medieval oak right through to contemporary pieces. Find out more about our key services below.
When dealing with antique furniture to retain and enhance the future value of your furniture it is important to keep the finish as original as possible. It is often possible to repair areas of damaged polish without re-polishing the entire surface. This is true for French polish, oil and wax finishes.
French polishing is a finish commonly use in the finishing of high quality furniture since the 18th century. French polish is made from shellac (secretions from the Lac beetle) dissolved in alcohol. The process of applying the polish is by means of a polishing rubber and involves applying many thin coats until you achieve a flat high gloss finish with full grain.
The finish produced is one that requires careful after care as it is vulnerable to both moisture and heat.
Oil finishing has been used for finishing wood for thousands of years and remains an excellent and resilient finish. Many furniture makers historically mixed their own blend of oils passed on through family connections. The oils are derived from plant extracts and there are records of use in China dating back to 400BC. When applied carefully you can produce a high quality low lustre finish resistant to heat and moister. A wax polish can also be use to further enhance and protect your furniture.
Many pieces of antique furniture use veneer in their construction for two main reasons. Firstly it can be used to create decorative panels that cannot be produced using solid timber (book matched and quartered veneer), secondly to save costs if using a rare and expensive timber. The veneer is applied to a cheaper more common timber backing.
The glue used (animal, pearl, fish glue) can dry out and loose its adhesion over time, making the veneer vulnerable to damage. We can replace the areas that are damaged by choosing veneer of similar grain structure and colour, cutting to the shape of missing areas and using traditional glues. This is also true for inlay and marquetry repairs.
With old furniture that has locks fitted, often the keys have been lost. We can make keys using key blanks that are period to the furniture and also repair any damage caused to the lock by people trying to use various keys that don’t fit the lock.
We can also repair hinges. It is often possible and cheaper to repair an original hinge than replace with new. This keeps your furniture as original as possible. This is also true with handles: even if there are handles missing, we can copy from an existing one.
Woodturning is an important aspect to antique furniture restoration, as many items of furniture use turned wood such as handle details. It is easier and usually cheaper to turn a handle to match existing handles than to replace an entire set with inferior mass produced examples. There are many antiques that use woodturned details as embellishments, such as finials. If these are missing, we can turn matching replacements.
We can supply and fit desk leathers with a choice of colours and tooling, either gilded or blind. This is of course only if your original leather is un-restorable. There are different types of leathers available depending on the quality and look that you are after.
The treatment of woodworm is another important aspect of antique furniture restoration. The woodworm, which is actually a beetle larvae, enters the wood though joints or shakes in the grain. When you see the holes appear these are actually the exit holes. This means that it is as important to treat the seemingly unaffected timber as much as the timber where the exit holes are. This is why we tend to treat our furniture regardless of it showing signs of worm: it can live in the timber for up to two years prior to exit holes appearing.
We first started restoring antique floors when we were asked to help a large insurance company a number of years ago. One of their customers had a flood and the company they sent in to repair it had sanded off the original Georgian surface - needless to say the customers were not particularly happy.
We managed to remove the numerous dips and hollows created by their sanders and produce an original looking finish in keeping with the period of the floor.
We have been completing antique floor restoration ever since.