“Cherishing our Heritage”

618-524-7590  |   donjsnodgrass@gmail.com  |  http://k4qky.com/

Over time, antiques and collectibles typically become dull, chipped or damaged resulting in a loss of their aesthetic appearance, functionality, and value. Restoration can potentially reverse this phenomenon but requires great care and knowledge.  Restoration is the process of returning items to their original functionality and improving their appearance. 

At Final Touch Antiques, etc., our basic approach to the restoration process includes:

  1. Conducting a restoration suitability analysis before purchase.  Ideally, we prefer to procure items that are in a relatively poor condition with the potential for restoration to improve their appearance, functionality, and value.  As such, most of the items purchased are all or partially of wood.  We avoid acquiring anything finished in paint or polyurethane for health concerns.

  2. Performing a more thorough evaluation.  Once an item has been purchased and brought back to our shop, we first take several initial (before) photos of the piece.  Next, we determine what repairs are necessary.  Typical repairs include cleaning and lubricating clock movements, re-gluing loose furniture joints, etc.  We also look for markings which provide a clue as to value and conduct online research to further determine the history and value.
      
  3. Formulation of a restoration plan.  Most true antiques require little attention beyond light cleaning to enhance cosmetic appearance and repairs to improve their functionality. Our goal is to maintain an antique piece's structural integrity and outer appearance to retain its value.   Vintage pieces are often more appropriate candidates for restoration.  This means either restoring the original finish or complete refinishing.  Restoring a finish retains the original finish while refinishing consists of removing the original finish and applying a fresh coat of new finish.   More about this process below.

  4. Disassembly.  We prefer to disassemble vintage pieces that will be refinished.   When possible, this includes carefully cataloging parts to ensure that they will correctly be reassembled.
     
  5. Basic restoration (revitalization).  Light cleaning and functionality may be all that's necessary.  In some cases, we resort to the use of products such as "Restor-A-Finish", a unique finish-penetrating formula that restores wood finishes while blending out minor scratches, blemishes, and abrasions.  More about this product at https://www.howardproducts.com/product/restor-a-finish/.

  6. Complete refinishing (stripping).   We hardly ever strip furniture!  It is a far too difficult and unsafe process.   More importantly, stripping and sanding typically diminish the wood's overall patena.    As such, we avoid pieces that are painted or polyurethaned. 


  7. Complete refinishing ( without stripping).  We always prefer to restore the original finish without stripping!   This process works well for gently removing varnish, shellac, or lacquer finishes. With the use of 000-grade steel wool, the old finish is dissolved and removed without taking color from wood or raising veneers. The only product we have found best for this product is "Formby's Furniture Refinisher" which we purchase at Lowes or Home Depot.  More about this product at https://www.formbys.com/products/refinisher/.

  8. Reassembly.  Typically we put the piece back together in reverse order of how it was originally disassembled. 

  9. Application of a protective coating.  Understandably, this important stage is a matter of personal preference.   Over the years we have used a variety of methods and have developed a preference for penetrating finishes.  Penetrating finishes are easier to apply and leave a more natural look. Surface finishes such as tung oil may be more durable but don't look as natural whereas penetrating finishes are easier to apply and leave a more natural look.  Penetrating finishes are easier to apply and leave a more natural look.  More importantly,  they can be reapplied without the necessity for removing the existing finish.   We wipe on several coats of  "Watco Danish Oil"  to protect the wood from within by penetration deep into the wood.  More about this great product at https://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/watco/danish-oil.

  10. Final inspection and photographs