Frequently Asked Questions

 

 
 

 
 
 
Q: Why should you restore your old furniture?
A: It helps save the environment, provides for better quality furniture, preserves family history, and saves jobs in the United States.
 
Q: Do all pieces require stripping?
A: No. Furniture finishes of certain types such as lacquer and shellac can be restored without stripping. The condition of the existing finish determines if the finish can be restored.
 
Q: What is the difference between restoration and refinishing?
A: Lacquer is a manufactured finish developed after WWI. Usually applied by a spray gun, lacquer is widely used on all new furniture since the 1940s. Lacquer is also widely used in most refinishing shops today.

Shellac is an organic natural finish created by the lac bug found in the Indo-China area in places like India. Shellac is removed from the trees where the lac bug nests and then dissolved and purified to different levels depending on its end use. Shellac is more flexible than lacquer and will not crack. Shellac is used in many industries as electric motor winding, pharmaceutical, and candy coating, as well as an antique furniture restoration tool.

Since shellac was the prominent finish used in the 18th and 19th centuries, shellac is the historically correct finish to use in such restoration work. Additionally, shellac is the only FDA-approved finish for children's toys. Shellac can be brushed, padded with cheesecloth for French polishing, and sprayed.

Furthermore, shellac is much more environmentally friendly in manufacture and use. The only solvent used is denatured alcohol, which is much less harmful to the environment than solvents used in lacquers.
 
Q: What is French Polishing?
French Polishing is a method of applying shellac using fine cheesecloth which is folded into a tight pad. The process of French Polishing consists of several steps starting with "loading"? the wood with shellac, cutting back this finish with fine sandpaper, further loading and filling of the wood grain with shellac, and additional cutting back and additional polishing with a thinner cut of shellac.
 
Q: What is veneer?
A: Many people have loosely applied the term "Antique"?. The standard definition requires an age of at least 100 years. True antique collectors consider pre-1860"™s furniture as antiques. This is due to the advent of the machine age whereby furniture was beginning to be mass-produced starting about 1860. This is not to say that pieces of furniture were not being hand or "bench-made"? after this time and that many fine pieces of furniture were produced after 1860.
 
Q: What constitutes an antique?
A: Many people have loosely applied the term "Antique"?. The standard definition requires an age of at least 100 years. True antique collectors consider pre-1860"™s furniture as antiques. This is due to the advent of the machine age whereby furniture was beginning to be mass-produced starting about 1860. This is not to say that pieces of furniture were not being hand or "bench-made"? after this time and that many fine pieces of furniture were produced after 1860.
 
Q: What type of glue do we use?
A: Animal hide glue is our preferred choice on antiques and early 20th century furniture since this was the type of glue originally used. Hide glue is not only very strong, it is also repairable and reversible and historically correct when repairing antiques.

Repairable means we can tighten a loose glue joint originally glued with hide glue by softening the hide glue with warm water and clamp. Sometimes we add a little bit of new hide glue and then clamp till hardened. Reversible means we can remove the hide glue with warm water.

This is not possible with yellow and white glues. When yellow or white glue dry out and your chair or other furniture comes loose, we must dismantle and scrape all the old glue off to bare wood prior to re-gluing. When re-gluing a chair originally glued with hide glue, dismantling is necessary when several or all of the joints are loose, but is not necessary to scrape the old glue off. The new hide glue will meld into the old to form a strong bond.

In fact, yellow and white glues will shrink and the joint will come loose in a relatively short time whereas hide glue will last for many years if used properly.
 
Q: Why should you restore your old furniture?
  • Help Save the Environment
  • Better Quality Furniture
  • Preserve Family History
  • Save Jobs in the U.S.
 
Contact us today and discover a wide range of furniture restoration services.