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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Caring for Antique Furniture and Wooden Collectibles

While we all know how to dust furniture, caring for antique furniture and wooden collectibles requires a bit more effort.  First of all, it is best to keep antique wooden items out of direct sunlight or, if placed near a window, to occasionally move pieces around so that different spots are in the sun at different times.  In addition, it is a good idea to keep wooden pieces away from radiators.  Heating systems can cause wood to dry out too much.  Also, storing antique wooden items in the hot attic is not a good idea.  Use common sense and  place items on tabletops on coasters or placemats to protect the table surface.

When you buy a new wooden antique, you should inspect the piece for furniture beetles so you don't bring the insects into your home.  Wood worms leave wormholes and fresh sawdust near the holes is a sign of an infestation.  Check under the piece and near crevices where the beetles may hide.  If you find beetles, you can purchase an insecticide from your local hardware store to brush onto the wood or spray into the worm holes.

Wood is porous and can absorb dirt and grease.  Protective finishes can be marked by water, other liquids and heat.  You can remove white marks or rings with a mildly abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth.  Be careful not to rub so much that you take off the protective finish.

Check fittings such as hinges or castors and, if too worn, have them replaced before damage is done to the wood near the fittings.

Repair and restoration of wooden antiques is best done by an experienced professional.  If you want to try this on your own, consult with a professional first.  You can also pick up one of many books that walk you through the processes of removing or filling scratches, repairing holes, raising dents, stripping the wood to be refinished, replacing the finish, repairing veneers, and repairing or replacing decorative edges or inlays.  One book I have is Care and Repair of Antiques & Collectibles, by Albert Jackson & David Day.  I find a better selection of books about antiques online than in book stores.

If you take good care of your antique furniture and wooden collectibles, they should last for generations to come.

Kind regards,

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