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Know the Difference Between Antique Refinishing and Restoration

Aug 19, 2008
Just like any other material, antique furniture pieces may deteriorate over time. When such happens, the owner is faced with the question of whether he should refinish or restore the antique piece. In choosing which process should be undertaken, it is vital for the antique owner to have a complete understanding of the difference between the two.

What is the difference between Antique Restoration and Antique Refinishing?

As the name implies, Antique Restoration process refers to the step by step procedures to "restore" the antique piece. Basically, the process ensures that the antique object will not lose its value or worth. Antique restoration may refer to light cleaning, antique refinishing, or conservation.

Antique refinishing is a method of antique restoration. In this restoration technique, the restorer usually prioritizes the upholding of the functionalities of the antique furniture.

For example, if the antique furniture is a table, the restorer would have to make sure that the legs of the table are in good shape and condition to hold some weight on the flat surface where food can be displayed. As such, aside from light cleaning or the process of removing dirt and stain from the item, reassembling and repainting should also be considered. However, the restorer should make sure that regardless of whatever he does, the antique furniture should be able to retain, if not totally increase its value.

The factors that should be considered

In deciding whether an antique piece should undergo refinishing, the restorer or the owner of the piece should consider the following factors:

The peculiarity of the furniture's design: Consider if the furniture piece has a unique design from the old or medieval years. If the furniture looks like a classic example of art from another century or decade, it would be preferable to do some light cleaning only to ultimately conserve the furniture piece instead of altering it and diminish its value.

The craftsman or the manufacturer of the furniture: There are some cases when the value of the furniture is based on who crafted such. Thus, the furniture is considered valuable and notable regardless of its age and functionality. In such cases, light cleaning is recommended as refinishing will ultimately make the item an ordinary furniture piece.

The basis of value: There are some instances where the restorer would have to choose what to prioritize- the age or the functionality of the antique furniture piece. In the case of tables, chairs, beds, closets, doors, and other huge furniture pieces that are not ideal for mere display, it is best and more practical to focus on the preservation of the antique's functionality. However, in the case of display items such as paintings, jars, lamps, and other small antique objects which can be displayed and used solely as a decorative art, some light cleaning or conservation will be the best way to go.

The cost of the restoration process: Budget is a prime consideration when restoring antique furniture pieces. The restorer would have to note that there are some furniture pieces that would need highly expensive materials in order to restore or refinish them. As such, in cases where antique furniture will be used only for home purposes, the more cost-effective restoration process should be considered.
About the Author
Driscolls Antiques is a leading supplier of quality antiques and antique furniture. Benedict Yossarian is a freelance Internet Marketing Consultant that can help maximize your exposure online.
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