We love our antiques. Not only do they provide beauty and functionality, they infuse a nostalgia to any living space. But caring for antique furniture takes a little time and effort. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Wooden furniture is sensitive to humidity. More specifically, it’s sensitive to changes in humidity. While you don’t want it too wet (encouraging mold and dry-rot) or too dry (causing it to become brittle), forcing it to endure fluctuations in humidity can stress the joints as the wood expands and contracts. Place your furniture so that it can remain as stable as possible.
2. Wooden furniture does not need to be oiled. Oil does not keep the wood from drying out. Lack of proper humidity causes dry wood. While oils and finishes may temporarily make your antique look better, the build-up can actually damage the finish. Silicone-based polishes can damage the finish and impede restoration or repair attempts should those become necessary.
3. Proper care for wood finishes means wax. Applying a coat of furniture wax paste once a year will provide protection from moisture and dust while not permanently adhering to the finish. Dust with a damp, soft cloth, taking care not to allow the furniture to become wet.
4. Brass and copper hardware are supposed to tarnish. Over time, brass and copper hardware acquire what’s called a patina. Some people find the patina unattractive. Polishing off this patina can devalue your antique so think carefully before you do this. On a valuable antique, the original finish and patina should remain on all hardware.
Sturbridge Yankee Workshop offers a selection of eco-friendly wax for use in caring for your antiques and for those precious pieces that will become tomorrow’s family heirlooms. Take this opportunity to care for your antiques.