Should I strip and refinish my antique furniture?

We are  refinish and repair professionals.  We enjoy and appreciate fine furniture.

We are frequently asked if the value of furniture will be diminished if I elect to refinish?  This question often comes from segments seen in Antiques Roadshow’s programming.

You should keep in mind that the Antiques Roadshow is entertainment. The appraisers and moderators are extremely knowledgeable. Their focus is primarily on those unique museum quality collector pieces which have survived the decades free of sun bleaching, humidity variation and damage caused by normal use. These pieces are extremely rare. We recommend that our customers get an appraisal from a certified appraiser if they have any inkling they may own one of these rarities.

Most of the furniture brought to us has broken joints or pieces and a marginal finish. A worn finish that acquires a contaminant or even the oil from your hand can devalue the piece significantly more than refinishing.

Please understand the primary reason for a finish is to protect and beautify the wood. Once this finish has deteriorated, the primary objective cannot be met. We find that many of the old pieces have finishes harmed by today’s cleaners and polishes.


Patina? How is it possible that we see modern furniture advertised as having that rich patina finish?

To most connoisseurs patina means that aging look, created by the environment and years of applications of waxes, oils, TLC and non-TLC.

Do the years worth of wax buildup and soiling count as patina? Do the yellow sunbleached top and cracks caused by the sun grace a piece with patina? The consensus among antique officiandos is that there is no consensus. The jury is still out.

A finish can be applied which resembles the darkened, mellow shade of brown which replicates that ‘patina’ look. When applied professionally it is virtually impossible to distinguish from that truly aged piece.

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