We have been very busy recently with our restoration of furniture around the Guildford area with many interesting items of furniture coming into our workshops for repair and restoration.
A good example of what we are working on now is the intricately inlaid, Dutch desk that you can see in the photograph below. This wonderful piece has secret drawers and some very fine detail. However, it has suffered badly and the front of the desk collapsed when we opened it, almost certainly due to the desk having been left to dry out too much. This is a common problem nowadays, as almost every house has central heating and almost all homes are kept at much higher temperatures than in the past.
Of course, wooden furniture needs to be kept carefully in the right environment and this is particularly true for fine furniture – and furniture that is veneered. Needless to say, wet conditions can badly affect furniture and in modern homes this can occur when a house (usually those that are double glazed with insufficient fresh drafts of air) suffer from undue condensation. However, too dry an atmosphere can also be just as bad and end up drying glues, so that they lose their adhesion.
A classic error is to place fine furniture, even in chilly Surrey, too close to a radiator or where it will receive direct sunshine. The latter can cause discolouring of surface wood and also heat up a piece of furniture far more than you might think given the ambient temperatures outside.
In fact, a good deal of our furniture restoration from the Guildford area is due to easily avoidable damage, so do look at your finest pieces of furniture and position them not just where they look spectacular but also where they are well protected..
As I have said before, almost everything can be restored, one way or another, but prevention is better than ‘cure’ (and cheaper!).
Incidentally, the desk that you can see is also being restored. However, it has an exasperating problem for any owner of furniture with doors –the lock has broken and he owner cannot find any keys (the two things may be connected!). This is a common problem that we face, virtually on a week by week basis with the annoyance for the owner being that doors (unless locked) tend to swing open. Fortunately, we have a large range of locks and keys in our workshops and,one way or another, we rarely fail to replace both locks and keys to match those damaged or absent!