Furniture made during the Georgian and Victorian periods was built to last! Joints were constructed and glued – not stapled or nailed together like modern pieces. Timber was properly seasoned, so is less likely to warp; and the finish applied, designed to resist marks, hardens over time. With a little care and thought, caring for your antique furniture is easy!
There are two main factors that will affect the care of antique furniture within the home – one is heat, the other humidity. Where possible, position furniture away from direct sunlight, which can not only fade furniture but may also cause a polished surface to blister within a short space of time. Similarly, radiators can be a problem if furniture is placed directly in front of one – allow as much space as possible.
Low humidity can have a damaging effect on antique furniture – it was not constructed with today’s centrally or underfloor heated homes in mind! Wood is a flexible medium, and if allowed to dry out too much, may shrink and crack. Fortunately, ambient humidity is very easy to check with a small, cheap electronic gadget called a ‘hygrometer’. Humidity of round about 45% is ideal, with a minimum of 35%; the easiest way to achieve this without trouble is to place a couple of bowls of water about under pieces of furniture. Surprisingly, humidity is often lower during the winter than the summer.
Most pieces will only need waxing every 3 to 4 months, depending on how much wear the piece gets. Waxing too often will give a sticky finish which attracts dirt! Apply a thin layer of any good quality bees-wax based polish with a cloth, then buff up really hard with a soft cloth or brush; this will help to maintain a lovely patina.
Contact Thakeham Furniture for more info about caring antiques and antique furniture.