As any fan of the Antique Road Show knows, repairs often diminish the value of antique furniture. So before you even think about restorations, ask yourself—is it worth it?
If your furniture is rare, considered to be a masterpiece, or the work of a notable manufacturer or artist, it almost certainly will lose value after the restoration process. Before you begin fixing up great-grandpa’s hand-carved desk, examine it closely for identifying marks or labels that will clue you in to its origins. You should also look at the quality of craftsmanship. The money is often in the details. If there is a lot of hand-detailed work on the piece, it’s probably better to leave it alone. When it doubt, take it to a professional to determine its value.
Even if your antique does not have a high monetary value , proceed with caution. Perhaps it just needs a good cleaning to bring it back to life. In this case, simply pat it down with a damp paper towel or gently rub with a light oil-based product.
If your heirloom still doesn’t shine, then turn to the professionals to restore it to its former glory. Unless you are an experienced woodworker, antique restoration is not something you should do on your own.