In this article we are going to discuss how to properly care for you antique wood furniture, but, in order to better understand what maintenance means, we must begin with the factors known to damage the beautiful pieces.
First and foremost, antique furniture is damaged if the owner doesn’t pay enough attention. You should never place cups, glasses or plates directly onto the surface. Use a coaster or a protective mat. Another redoubtable enemy of wood is moisture. Wood expand and contract when the humidity levels in the air change, leaving your furniture prone to cracking and decay. Last, but not least, UV radiation is also known to cause a lot of damage. Few people know this, but the light accelerates degradation of both the finish and colorants, causing permanent damage.
How to protect and prevent?
Clean. Clean. Clean.
You must make a habit out of wiping or vacuuming the dust on your furniture. Dirt builds up and will get harder and harder to be removed.
Waxing wouldn’t have been used for centuries if it wasn’t for its marvelous results. First of all, you must understand that waxing is not a finish, but a layer that helps protecting your furniture from moisture or other pollutants. Another plus would be the fact that wax also protects the wood from mild scratches. A paste wax works miracles for your pieces. You can use an electric polisher for fast results, but, if you don’t have one, a cotton rag will do the job (only it will take longer).
Tip: Save old cotton clothes you are not wearing anymore. An old shirt could prove to be a wonderful cleaning tool!
Wood refinishing is to be chosen only if there is permanent damage. Wax usually covers mild cracks and scratches, but, in some cases, the damage goes deeper than the protective layer. In this case, a refinish will come in handy. Basically, this means stripping down to bare wood and applying a whole new protective layer.
Tip: Refinishing is a very meticulous job, therefore you should make sure you hire someone with the right skills and experience for this.