Frequently asked questions

We have collected answers to the most common questions that you, the customers, ask us.

When restoring old furniture we have to remove all dirt and possible secondary coatings so that we preserve the original surface and so that old patina remains undamaged. During restoration you should use the same glues and surface treatment materials that were used when the furniture was made. The reversibility principle of used procedures and materials must be taken into consideration. The procedure should only preserve – conserve and not change.

Sanding causes irreparable damage. Sanding ruins old patina. Sanding permanently ruins the outlook of veneer furniture. When we sand solid wood furniture we can sand off the top layer and galleries of tunnels caused by insects appear before us. With each sanding we lose part of the original.

Animal glues are mainly used for gluing old furniture. With restoration we use only animal glue that they used to use, as it is still the most appropriate glue for restoration procedures. We know various types of animal glues. Rabbit and fish glues are the most widely used, the latter is considered to be of the highest quality. Animal glue is cooked in a double kettle – Banja Marija.

Shellac polish is produced with resin secretion of lac bugs which feed on juices of leaves and branches of some East Indian trees. On the market you can buy them in form of leaves. We use 96% denatured alcohol to dissolve shellac leaves. We apply shellac polish on the wood surface with a woollen bundle covered with cotton or linen cloth. With polish we also use a float for filling the pores and oil for polishing. Shellac polish protects the wood and accentuates the beauty of the wood. The procedure itself requires a lot of practice. In Slovenia shellac polish was used in woodwork shops up until 1950s – 1960s.

Little holes on the surface of the wood, where the insects flew out, warn us of the presence of wood pests. The holes themselves do not mean that the insect – worm is still there. The presence of a woodworm is confirmed by new piles of dust arising on the surface of under the furniture. We can also hear the worm eating the wood. The holes contain dust, which can pour out during transport or moving of the furniture, but this does not mean that the worm is still there.

If a woodworm is locally present, we can destroy it by injecting insecticide in its vast surroundings. When the entire object must be protected it is recommended the object is wrapped into wrapping foil and left for a month. Then it is recommendable to air it before returning it to the house/apartment.
When working with insecticides be careful to protect your health and use them sensibly. Use them only where necessary.

The holes do not have to be puttied. Why hide insect holes in old furniture when carpenters, who make replicas of old furniture, make holes in new furniture in order to make it look older.

Old furniture was made during the period when there was no central heating. We must therefore be careful that we do not place old furniture in a space where the air is too dry, because the wood could dry out. We gently run over the surface of the furniture with a damp, soft cloth. We advise against the use of modern coatings and sprays for maintenance of old furniture. If the surface is worn or damaged, it is best that it is restored with materials which were used for surface treatment.

It is technically possible to restore even heavily damaged objects. But since restoration costs mainly depend on the preservation of the object it may happen that restoration costs exceed the value of the object. This can happen in old furniture, the value of which is not very high. From the rational standpoint such old furniture should not be restored, because we can get a similar piece of furniture on the market for a lower price. But when a heavily damaged object has a deeper value for its owner, for example it reminds them of a person or an event, this usually means that restoration of such old furniture is sensible regardless of its condition and costs.

A number of factors influence restoration costs. The most important one is preservation – condition of the surface and construction. The framework also represents a certain percentage of the final price of restoration.

In order to recognize an original it is recommended to know the evolvement of furniture and treatment technology throughout history. Veneer thickness is a very useful indicator – during Baroque period the veneer was 5 mm thick, but then it was gradually reduced to 0.5 mm. If somebody is trying to sell you Baroque furniture with thin veneer, you can be certain that it is newer. Counterfeits are usually manufactured for objects of higher value, so when you intend to buy a high value object it is sensible to seek an expert opinion.