Learn The Basics Of Antique Restoration

By Ava Brown, February 13, 2015

If you need to restore a family heirloom, but have little or no experience with restoration, read on. Here you’ll learn the basics of antique restoration that will arm you with helpful tips to complete your restoration project successfully.


Main purpose of antique restoration is to protect and minimize deterioration, all to keep an antique item in its original state as well as to prolong its life. The most important thing is to do a little research on the piece itself to determine its value and historical origin before you restore it. Inspect the piece for marks or labels that may indicate its origin. If not sure how to, consult a local antique shop owner before you begin with restoration work. Remember, antique shop dealers do not only buy and sell antiques. They also do appraisals, research identity and value of items and do restoration and repair.

Even though you may find the challenge of antique restoration exciting, decide how much money you want to invest in. If the piece isn’t valuable, you will need to decide how important it is to you. While some projects may just need a few simple fixes, others may end up costing you more than you’ve expected. Another important factor is safety. Make it a priority. To protect you skin from harmful chemicals wear long-sleeved clothing and use safety glasses to protect your eyes. Also, when varnishing and stripping a piece, make sure the working area is well-ventilated and wear a mask.

Before starting any sandpaper or paintbrush work, give the piece a through cleaning to remove a patina of dirt and grime. You may even be surprised with a nice finish underneath. Sometimes, all you need to breathe new life into an antique piece is a good thorough cleaning and buffing.

Next, repair or replace any broken parts. Of course, with identical ones. This may be the most challenging step of the whole process, but is a crucial one. It may take you time, but you may be able to find an identical knob or a leg at an antique shop or online. But don’t hold your hopes high. Usually, to get a perfect match, you’ll have to order a custom-made part.

Now it is time to refinish the piece. And it involves taking off the old finish and creating a new one. Just be sure that the antique piece is not a valuable one, because refinishing process can diminish value of the antique, if not done properly (in some cases, even if done right).

To complete your antique restoration project you will need some tools. Take a trip the closest specialized department store and ask for help. A qualified sales person will be able to assist you in finding everything you need to complete your antique restoration project.