Send me an E-mail
(Please, no questions
 about value.)

Instructions for sending photographs of your pieces with your question.

How many years did Queen Victoria rule England?

                     To see the answer

Hints on
Household Taste

by Charles Eastlake

Primary authority on what was proper, beautiful, efficient in all aspects of mid-19th-century interior design. Originally published in 1868. Over 100 illustrations.
More Books

Have Bob speak
 on antiques to your group or organization.

More Information

Can't find what
 you're looking for?

Go to my Sitemap

Share pages of this ezine with your friends using the buttons provided with each article.

Find out what's coming in the
2018 Spring Edition

of the


Download our
Decorative Periods and Styles Chart

Have a comment about

The Antiques Almanac

Fill in our form.

Here you'll find articles about caring for your antiques and collectibles. 

LATEST ARTICLE_________________________________

Caring for Your Antique Painted Furniture
by Bob Brooke


Unlike stained wooden antique furniture, painted pieces extra special care. To preserve the wood, furniture needs to be coated with some sort of protective covering against abrasions, spills and such. In this case, itís paint.

In fact, many cabinetmakers in the17th and 18th centuries preferred to paint their pieces rather than use stains and varnishes.

Contrary to the "strip and dip" approach to dealing with coatings so prevalent in many commercial refinishing and restoration shops, conservators and restorers attempt to preserve the coating on a piece of furniture whenever possible. The idea is to intercede minimally and to leave the surface as undisturbed as possible while stablizing and preserving the original finish.

Cleaning Painted Furniture
Of all antiques, painted furniture is probably the easiest to keep clean. Each week, dust or wipe clean the piece with a cloth dampened with water. Be sure not to leave water spots on the surface, as they'll dry and could leave permanent marks.

Before washing a piece of painted furniture, wipe it with a soft lint-free cloth to remove built up dust. Mild soap and water and a soft cloth are the basic tools youíll need to clean painted furniture. Never use any type of degreaser, furniture spray or polish, or alcohol, or acidic cleaning product that may discolor or damage the finish. And avoid using wax as this may melt when it comes in contact with a hot cup or bowl or when placed in direct sunlight close to a window.

For especially dirty pieces, dip a clean cloth into a solution of one teaspoon of borax, two tablespoons of vinegar, 1/4 cup dishwashing detergent and 1Ĺ cups hot water. Wring the cloth out until itís almost dry and rub the surface using a gentle circular motion.

Special Cleaning
If your piece of painted furniture has stains on visible surfaces or nicks and scratches on it, you'll want to make whatever repairs you can. Gently sand down any mars, taking care not to damage more painted finish than you have to. Carefully glue and clamp any loose joints.

Match the paint as best you can or select a new color of paint and restore the piece to near-perfect condition. Add an oil finish for greatest protection.

Avoiding Unnecessary Damage
Clean up spills or messes immediately with a damp lint-free cloth. If you do get a water ring or scuff try buffing with a dry microfiber cloth. If a water ring is being especially difficult, deep clean it using a soft lint-free rag, with a simple homemade cleaner made with 16 ounces of water, one drop of blue original Dawn, and a tablespoon of vinegar. Collectors of antique furniture want their pieces to remain as close as possible to how they were originally, which often included a coat of paint. Over time, paint oxidizes. This fades the paint and gives it a mellow look. Even if the paint dries to the point that it begins to crack, it's better left alone. A little bit of craquelure is absolutely acceptable and gives you a feeling of comfort that it's original. Resist the temptation to "freshen" up a finish with lacquer over original paint.

< Back to Caring for Your Collections Archives                        

Antiques Q&A

Antiques and More on Google+

The Antiques Almanac on Facebook

No antiques or collectibles
are sold on this site.

How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Book: How to Recognizing and Refinishing Antiques for Pleasure and Profit
Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's new book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.

Read an Excerpt

Auction News
Get up to the minute news of antiques auctions around the country and the world.

Also see
The Auction Directory

Antiques News
Read breaking news stories from the world of antiques and collectibles.

Art Exhibitions
Search for art exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world.