Restoration or Not?

So, you have found a piece of mid-century furniture that you love in a junk shop, but it needs some TLC, what now? When carrying out a restore I always feel it is a valuable practice not to do more than necessary. If you imagine that every layer of varnish and patina has its own tale to tell you are, in essence, seeing history. Every bump, scratch and imperfection has a story behind it but to restore it may affect the piece.

I like to imagine what was happening in the lives of the owners at the time those blemishes were made. Especially with twentieth-century pieces. When I open a cupboard or drawer and find it lined with old paper it transports me back to my childhood. I have nostalgic memories of my Mum lining drawers and cupboards with old wrapping paper, ‘waste not want not’.

Franz Ehrlich Credenza

Franz Ehrlich Credenza

Therefore, it is important to assess the item first to see what to restore. What is the bare minimum that can be done. Improving the look of the piece without taking away its soul (yes, I am in a poetic mood today). If in doubt, check it out. By that I mean have an expert look at the item for you to asses what to restore. This may cost money although many do a first assessment for free. In the long run they may also save you from destroying a valuable piece. A long lost Franz Ehrlich credenza (approximately £2,500 if you’re interested!)

And if you do decide that  a restore is the way to go, how much should you do?

Restore the bare minimum

The bare minimum is the answer. Most mid-century modern furniture was made of teak or teak veneer which responds beautifully to the following restore process.

  • Firstly, wipe over the item with a damp cloth, this will reveal just how much dirt there is to remove, you’d be surprised.
  • A ‘0000’ fine wire wool is next with some white spirit. Rub this lightly over the item to remove any remaining dirt or paint flecks. (People rarely covered up when decorating I’ve found).
  • Once the item is dry, give it a thorough rub down. This will remove any remaining spirit and then the fun part.
  • With a soft cloth pour on some teak oil and gently rub all over the item. You will immediately see the colour pop. Leave it to dry for two days and another coat can be applied if needed.

Sit back and enjoy

 Now sit back and enjoy your gorgeous furniture and read one of our other blogs.

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