Woodworkers love to build new projects. Some designs are cutting edge, while others are authentic reproductions of historical pieces. If we didn’t build stuff, would we be called woodworkers in the first place?
However, as people who have the woodworking know-how, there are some projects we are asked to turn our loving attention to. For instance, there may be that old rocking chair whose joints loosened up after decades of use. Or that dining room chair that an energetic diner may have broken after reacting to a particularly funny joke. Or the side table that the dog knocked over, breaking a stretcher. Veneer lifts. Worn out drawer runners.
This week, I want to know if you have ever had to fix an antique piece of furniture. Was it a simple repair you made with confidence, or was it more of a white-knuckle affair as you carefully replaced parts of the piece?
7 thoughts on “Quick Poll”
I have done a few really expensive pieces including a walnut Wooton secretary desk that was found in a barn, I saved every thing I could but I had to rebuild all the popular sub structure and some of the pigeon holes and we hand made most the hardware. I also had to fix some veneer on a really expensive table for the president of U.Cincy, that job was a real cheek squeezer. Now I enjoy fixing old furniture almost as much as building new.
I have done a few pieces, mostly for family and knowing the sentimental value attached to them, I’ve taken my time and did the very best work I could, to be proud of the end result.
Because if Grandma wants that piece looking good, and she is the greatest chocolate chip cookie baker on Earth, well…………
I recently repaired a very old three drawer dresser that was in my wife’s family for the better part of 100 or so years. I would call this piece a very well used antique that has not sat idle over the years but has been used each day by various family members. The joints were in falling apart and a couple of the runners were missing. With a little TLC and some sweating I made the necessary repairs so that this piece can go back into being a well used dresser. If this were a true antique that sat in a room and was meant to look good and was also meant to be an “investment” than I probably would not have attempted the repairs. Not sure if I am at that level yet.
The problem with antique furniture restoration is that if you do not know what you are doing in terms of changing the look of the piece you can lower its value significantly, as pointed out numerous times on the Antique Road Show. This is especially true of refinishing but also in the materials used for repairs. The temptation is to repair but sometimes the reality is to leave it alone as the materials we use are contemporary. I suspect the professional antique furniture repairers use techniques similar to the age and era of the piece like art restoration.
Y’all are superheroes.
The only thing I’ve ever done was an antique child’s chair that had been painted at some point. So I pretty much had carte-blanche to strip that sucker down and re-build and re-finish it from the ground up.
And, you know, it was LITTLE. 🙂
I have never tried but I’m anxious to try. Really wood workers have their own new project to do something new. I l would like to try this one.
I love to refinish antique oak furniture it really looks great when I am finally done. Instant gratification.