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Old Antique Furniture Structural Repairs

Old Antique Furniture:
Structural Repairs

Working in old antique furniture restoration and custom furniture, I routinely find solutions to compromised old antique furniture, or newer furniture that:
Do no harm
Are reversible(as necessary)
Take into account the character, period and original construction of items in my care.

Dining tables need additional leaves, or can be raised to accommodate taller folk or higher chairs.

Old antique furniture headboards and footboards can be enlarged from queen to king size with appropriate and sensitive detailing.

18c. fr. armoires can be fitted with sliding pocket door hardware to house large screen t.v.’s etc.

Period desks can be equipped with keyboard trays

Period antique furniture from Asia or Europe esp. walnut pieces are sometimes riddled with long gone wood worm. Their little tunnels hollow out legs, frames and feet just beneath the finish and emerge as multiple tiny holes. Damaged areas are carefully fitted with closely matched wood to the least extent necessary and colored to suit.

I turn new finials to replace losses on bed posts and clocks.

Chairs can be fragile or delicate as old antique furniture was originally designed for decorative intent, this we call inherent vice and often requires repair. Regluing with new dowels or tenons can be a fast and necessary repair. Proper clamping with shaped and softened glue blocks are the key, but do ask uncle john not to tip back on your dining room chair at thanksgiving!

Chair seats often require recanting or rush replacement. I use hot hide glue on anything older than 1930, as that was the staple furniture adhesive (along with fish glue) from antiquity on. It remelts and bonds beautifully with centuries old glue on furniture joins.

Sometimes rueful clients need puppy damaged sofa and chair feet repaired, cats can reduce balusters to thin shadows of their original profile over time. Crestfallen owners arrive with broken chairs in shopping bags, courtesy of fed ex forklifts.

I enjoy their look of delight at seeing the damage made good.

Antique furniture drawers are stuck, the dovetails broken or locked with the keys missing. Old antique furniture arrives lacking legs, locks, drawers, doors or pulls. Table leaves,
carved losses, finials & crests can be custom made to suit. If nothing is available to copy, a little research usually provides models or examples to follow.