Restorations/Repairs/Refinish

Featured Project Cost $85

Clarification of a Myth

The TV show "Antique Roadshow" on PBS has instilled the myth that repairing, refinishing and/or restoring a piece of antique furniture diminishes the value. So let's take a closer look at this myth

  • There is a HUGE difference between have "just someone/anybody" refinish a piece of antique furniture with a brush and polyurethane, and having a professional craftsman properly restore and/or refinish a piece of furniture.
  • The highest valued pieces are those that are in absolute pristine condition, no one in their right mind will do anything with these pieces
  • Very few antiques have significant cultural or historic elements that will be lost in the proper restoration and/or Refinishing process
  • Anyone that has ever considered a restoration or refinish on an antique piece has already acknowledged there is an issue with that piece of furniture.
  • In my personal opinion this one is the MOST IMPORTANT: The primary purpose of any finish is to protect and beautify the wood beneath it, that is what the original maker of the furniture intended. Once the integrity of the finish has deteriorated through chemical deterioration, dings and scratches from normal use and/or abuse, or it has gone dark through the aging process, that original purpose of the finish is no longer being met.

Overview

Obviously each of our Restorations, Repairs and/or Refinishes are specific to each individual piece. When asking for a quote you will need to specify exactly what process you would like done. Due to the uniqueness of each restoration, repair and/or refinish it is impossible to give you an exact quote, we work on each of these specialties on a material cost plus our hourly rate. However with over 20 years of experience, we can give you a fairly close range of what it should cost you.

Definitions

When it comes to antiques there are many things that need to be considered before you have them repaired, finish restoration, refinished or fully restored. First let's define the difference of each of these;

  • Repair: Physical structural replacement or reinforcement of parts of the original piece. May involve addition of new materials altered to appear aged or the application of antique materials to improve appearance of repair and preserve as much value as possible.
  • Finish Restoration: Finish restoration is the process of bringing an existing finish back to life. This involves re-emulsifying the original finish, either shellac or varnish. By using the original solvents to liquefy the solids, their ability to adhere to and penetrate the piece returns. The process also removes the dirt and grime accumulated over years of use. If the finish is very thin, additional layers of the same finish may be applied to bolster the restored finish and ensure longevity.
  • Refinishing:  Removing a finish and applying a new finish in its place. 
  • Restorations: Bringing a piece back to close to its original condition including structural and finish repairs.
  • Dip Stripping: LaRue Woodworking does not use or recommend this process. Please avoid dip stripping antiques at any cost. Dip stripping in its true sense involves dipping the piece in a chemical bath that will remove finish, patina, and in some cases the glue holding the piece together. Veneering may peel, joints will swell or break apart, the moisture in the wood will be drawn out making it extremely brittle, and the piece usually has to be completely rebuilt, usually at a cost greater than the piece is worth.

Things to consider before Repairing, Refinishing and/or Restoring

  • Is the integrity or beauty of the wood of the antique compromised from a worn-off, cracked or completely missing finish?
  • Will a cultural or historic element be lost if your antique is repaired, refinished or properly restored?
  • How far do you want to take the Refinish or Complete Restoration? Just enough to protect the antique or all the way to a museum quality piece?
  • What monetary or sentimental value do you have with your antique? These processes are NOT cheap, but on the other hand you if you are attached to your piece because of sentimental reasons (which is priceless), or just simply love the piece but you don't like looking at a worn, banged-up, abused or broken antique, what are you willing to spend to make it exactly what you want in your home or place of business?
  • Do you want to change the color?
  • Do you want to have the original type finish put back on it or upgrade to a modern finish? Modern finishes are much better suited to modern day polishes, chemical cleaners, and life styles than old finishes were.

Contact us today for your Restoration, Repair and Refinishing needs!