Whether you have a house full of antiques or just one treasured piece, it’s important to keep antiques in tip-top shape. Old items require special care. Because they were created in a different era, our modern-day cleaning and repair techniques don’t always work the same.
Conserving paper products can be a tedious process, but well worth it if your document, book or map can be restored for display or use. Paper tends to discolor with age and sometimes can not be returned to its original white. Bleaches can be too harsh to use. However, a simple, gentle cleaning often removes many of the stains. Documents and maps can tear easily, so one fix is to attach the original to a linen or Japanese paper backing. Old books may require rebinding to be usable. For example, getting a family bible rebinding Buffalo NY will enable you to continue adding many generations of births and deaths for decades to come.
The first step to restoring antique wood is to clean it really well. Using either an oil-based or a solution of water and liquid detergent, gently clean a small out of the way area with a soft cloth. If this takes away enough grime to leave a shine, then your job is complete. If the wood still looks dull, a process of reamalgamation, stripping, and refinishing may be necessary. Make sure you know what kind of finish the piece has (shellac, lacquer or varnish) before you strip it in order to restore it to its original glory.
Antique glass repair is a process best left to experts. A small chip could probably be ground down and repolished, but larger cracks and breaks may need to be replaced entirely. Glue doesn’t generally do an adequate job. In some cases, a mold will need to be made and the broken piece completely recast and replaced.
When deciding to restore or repair an older artifact, consider whether it will be valued by future generations. If the answer is yes, then by all means, start the process.