Monday, August 4, 2008

Anitques: Not Just Used Furniture

When my sister lived in Europe, she told me that many folks there considered antiques to be just "used furniture". Not so here in the USA. We like out antiques although we do have our share of used furniture. Shabby particle board comes to mind there!

So why do we have such a different view of antique pieces? It probably has a lot to do with the relative young age of our country compared to our European cousins. We also have strong feelings for our immigrant roots, while Europe is where, well, where we emigrated from.

Restore and Refinish Your Antiques

What can you do to preserve the value of your pieces? Refinish your antique furniture, that's what! There are a few important considerations. Most importantly, you must use authentic period materials.

For example, in almost all cases, you'll have to use hide glue if gluing is required. Got surface crazing? You're going to want to leave that.

To Use It, or Not to Use It; That is the Question

There's always that question and it depends on the individual. I have a fondness for vintage fountain pens (an obsession actually; just ask my long-suffering wife). The same question arises in the pen world. Use them or put them in display cases?

I use all of mine. Right now I've got my Parker Vacumatic (plunger filler) in rotation; having just set aside my Eversharp Skyline. But I digress. I favor using antique furniture too. It will still be around when I'm reduced to dust, and I could care less if anyone faults me for using it.

Should you use yours or showcase it? That's your decision. But whatever you decide, take the time to bring it back to life. It's likely made from better materials than you'll find in new furniture.

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