It’s unfortunate for the clients to come home and find their house filled with water damaging their precious contents of their house . Often they are not shore if their period furniture can be saved and restored back to its former glory . Sometimes the furniture will have more sentimental value to them , more than just a chest of draws or a peace of furniture, as it was past down through the family from generations.
So when I come in and start to go through each peace with them and discuss the restoration needed to bring back the furniture to it former glory and give the family some peace of mind there furniture can be saved . Often the furniture will be required to dry out naturally with any doors and draws open , to allow the air to circle late around. This allows for any wood to swell and shrink of its own accord . Doing this and not using dehumidifier allows the wood to move of its own accord and helps to prevent any wood splitting.
Below is some period furniture restored after being through a house flood and the restoration needed to bring them back to there former glory and looking back to there period condition .
Mahogany Victorian cheval mirror
The mirror was damaged through water running down the frame and splashing the base , causing the polish to lift of and flake of In places and some of veneer repairs had come loose and fell of as water got underneath the veneers . In places were the veneers had blistered, I had to use warm water injected under neath the veneers to remove any dirt and old glue out before fresh scotch glue was used to lay the venee back down again. In places some old restoration had come loose , these repairs were carried out again before the mirror was ready for being cleaned and ready for French polishing
Once all cleaning was done, to remove the old polish and traces of water from the surfaces , I began to French polish the mirror over a period of time. This was done over a period of days as the polish would soke into ward before being rubbed down and more polish built up until I was happy with the finish. Once all the polishing was done the mirror was then waxed down to remove the high shine fro the fresh polish and leave it looking like it was never involved in a flood.
Georgain mahogany straight fronted chest of draws
The chest of draws come in for restoration with splashing on the top and running down the sides and front. This left white marks on the top and down the draw fronts. The water had caused the boxwood line around the draw fronts and top to come loose in places and full of . The chest had some veneer repires required before the flood and the draw runners needed some attention to allow the draws to run smoothly with out damage the draws or the carcass .
The chest of draws had the runners repaired and new boxwood line replaced , the damage veneers to the carcass and top were repaired using period venersto match as best of colour and grain , before the chest was cleaned to remove the old dirt and polish from the surface. This would remove the marks of water ,without loosing the faded colour of the mahogany to much. The chest of draws was again French polished and waxed upon completion. The later brass plate handles were cleaned before being put back on .
French rosewood bombe bureau
This peace of furniture was one of the worst damaged in the flood, the bureau was veneered in rosewood veneers with marquertry panels to the sides,top and front. Not only had water covered the bureau ,but this caused the veneers to lift in places and the marquertry panel veneers to curl up. After being left for a period of time I could begin to restore the bureau ,in places the veneers were badly damaged veneers from the water, veneers cracking, old repairs and filler being used. I decided to replace the veneers in these places as it would give a much better look to the bureau after restoration.
The marquertry had fresh scotch glue put under neath the loose marquertry panels and then relayed or ironed down later on to flatten the veneers. Once all veneers were replaced to the carcass and draws the bureau was ready for sanding lightly to level all new repairs. I could then begin to clean the furniture and was now ready for French polishing. Once this is done the furniture was waxed afterwards and all brassware was cleaned and put back on.
Georgian 11ft dining room table
The top and legs were damaged from the water causing the polish to turn white in places . The table had faded over years of usage and left some of the extra leaves to remain much darker that the table itself . This peace of furniture had the table tops stripped to make all the leaves and top match once again . The under frame was cleaned and would only require to be polished to match the table tops. Because the timber was original Georgian timber the table tops wouldn’t require any stain and was French polished nearly natural. The brass casters were cleaned and oiled up after restoration
Most furniture can be restored brought back from this type of condition,a little patience and experience with bring back the former glory. Not only restoring the damage caused by the water but also doing any other necessary repairs to draw runners,broken mouldings,etc.below are some more pictures showing what can be achieved during restoration