Repairs & Restorations

When I apprenticed under my father at the Heirloom Shop in New York City, a large portion of our business was restoring antique furniture. The work gave me the opportunity to observe and understand how furniture is constructed, what construction practices worked and which ones did not stand the test of time. Observing how a particular joint or other construction technique fared over time influenced my own construction techniques when I started building my own pieces.

I still enjoy doing restorations. The process usually involves removing the old finish, completing necessary repairs, replacing missing or badly damaged parts, preparing the surfaces for the new finish and then applying that finish. Restoring a well-designed piece of furniture to its original beauty is very gratifying and the results can be dramatic.

A word about restoring antiques. Some people are reluctant to alter an antique in any way for fear of diminishing its value. But that concern is only valid if, (1) the piece is a true antique (at least 100 years old), (2) the furniture is of good quality in the first place and (3) it is in excellent condition. Most furniture that is 100+ years old is not in excellent condition. In many cases, the furniture is not even being used because it’s in such bad shape. While each piece should be examined to make sure it isn’t something extremely rare, in the vast majority of cases, restoration will actually increase its value, or at least increase its worth to you, the owner.
Restoration can bring back the furniture’s original beauty and allow it to be used again as it was once intended.

A quote from the popular TV show, Antiques Roadshow states:
“Well-conceived and well-executed refinishing and restoration usually enhances the value of just about any piece of old furniture.”