10 Tips on Caring for Antique Furniture

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Caring for antique furniture is a little different from caring for your regular, more recently made furniture. It has survived many years, and it has a history. That history is not just related to who made it, and when, but also encompasses such factors as who used it and where. The history of usage also affects the condition of a piece, and by now owning that piece, you become a link in that chain. The piece that you own might have been handed down through generations in your family, or maybe you lovingly purchased it. As you look for ways to care for it, know this: applying new finishes or changing how it looks can impact its value, and storing or using it carelessly can impact how long it lasts. Take a look at some tips to help you care for your antique furniture:
  • Avoid placing in direct sunlight. While UV or ultraviolet light can damage any furniture, antique furniture is more prone to it. Sunlight can damage the wood and fabrics, and turn clear finishes to yellow or opaque. Curtains or shades may help in a room that gets too much sun.
  • Avoid placing your antique furniture in front of heating and air conditioning vents. Keep it away from other heat sources such as radiators, fireplaces or stoves to prevent shrinking that can result in loose glued joints, veneers, inlays and marquetry.
  • Avoid too much change in the level of humidity because changes in relative humidity can cause wood to expand and contract. Not only does this affect joints as much as temperature changes, changes in the moisture level can also lead to mold growth and even insect infestation. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to minimize damage.
  • Avoid storing in hot, dry areas such as an attic. The lack of moisture can damage your antique furniture.
  • Check for insect infestations which can be identified by small holes and fine sawdust under the piece of furniture. Isolate that piece and get professional help to prevent further damage and the risk of infesting other pieces.
  • Dust with a soft, lint free cloth on a regular basis. Use a slightly dampened cloth turning it frequently to prevent scratches. If your furniture has a finish that is deteriorating, consult a professional. Any cleaning or waxing can be detrimental.
  • Avoid using furniture oils or silicone based polishes since that can lead to the deterioration of the finish over time and residue from the oil may attract dust and dirt build up. If your finish is in good condition use a coat of high quality paste wax to maintain a varnished surface and provide protection from moisture and dust. A thin coat once a year or so should be sufficient.
  • Avoid stripping or removing the finish the finish on your antique furniture is as important as the furniture itself. By removing the original finish, you damage the patina and the any signs of wear which indicate a piece’s history. Once that is removed, it is gone for ever taking away from the historicity of your piece.
  • If you need to enhance the appearance of antique furniture or restore the existing finish, it is best to consult a professional restorer. This is not a job for an amateur, as you may end up doing more harm than good. On the other hand proper restoration can actually increase the value of your antique, while enhancing its appearance.
Original article posted on About.com

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How to Care for Antiques and Collectibles

As an antique appraisers we get asked many questions about caring for antiques and collectibles. The proper care is essential to maintain the value of your antiques and collectibles. Once your antiques and collectibles have any condition issues the value declines. In this article we have provided some tips on how to care for popular antiques and collectibles.

Antique and Collectible Furniture:

  • Dust antique furniture frequently. Use a soft cloth to dust and polish antique furniture.
  • Polish antique furniture only once or twice a year. Use a good beeswax based polish.  Apply the polish, leave overnight and then buff.
  • Do not use a spray polish. These polishes contain silicon, which builds up a sticky surface. This will deplete the natural oils in the wood.
  • Keep the temperature and humidity regulated. Too much or too little humidity can damage wood and veneer. Temperature changes especially from one extreme to another will damage wood.  This will occur mainly when transporting antique furniture and other wood pieces from one climate to another.
  • Monitor the amount of sunlight that reaches the furniture. Sunlight has many damaging effects on antique furniture. Here is a short list:
    • Fades the finish and any fabrics
    • Dries out the wood and other materials
    • Deteriorates the integrity of fabrics and other materials
    • Where possible, turn pieces of furniture around occasionally, to even the fading process
  • Keep curtains drawn on sunny days when rooms are not in use.
  • Inspect furnitures periodically for lifting veneer or molding. This will sound hollow if lightly tapped. Also look for loose joints, water damage or woodworm holes.
  • If required to repair damage to antique furniture choose a reputable restoration shop. Good restoration takes time and money – a careless repair won’t last and can hurt the value more than if the piece was not repaired.

Antique Clocks:

  • Keep antique clocks running.
  • Wind carefully, using the correct size key.
  • Be careful when winding antique clocks, spring-driven bracket and mantle clocks need to be held steady when winding. When winding a weight-driven regulator, longcase or grandfather clocks open the door to enable you to see that the weights do not hit the case or pendulum.
  • Do not use Windex or any other ammonia based glass cleaner on the clock face, dial, gilding, painted or gilded glass.

Antique and Collectible Porcelain and Pottery:

  • Hold the item by the main part of the body. Never hold or lift an item by the handle. The handle of an item is the weakest point. Many time there is damage to a handle that can not be seen, holding or lifting the item by the handle can cause further damage or may destroy the item altogether.
  • Do not use abrasive or harsh cleaners.
  • If the porcelain or Pottery item is very dirty, use a soft sponge to gently wipe clean.
  • Do not use any kind of tape on lids or main body of the piece – peeling it off may remove enamel or gilding.
  • Keep antique porcelain and pottery pieces behind glass.

Antique Silver:

  • Wash silver in hot soapy water. Make sure to rinse the silver piece in hot water, dry thoroughly and buff with a soft cloth.
  • Remove tarnish with one of the many commercial products available in the market. Silver polishes are abrasive. Use these polishes to a minimum, they can damage the silver if over used.
  • To preserve the polish on domestic silver. Wrap the silver piece in dry, acid-free tissue paper and store the silver piece in a plastic bag.

Antique and Collectible Jewelry:

  • Apply hairspray and perfume before putting on your jewelry. Allow these substances to dry. Spray and other substances  can stain gold or silver and damage pearls.
  • Do not use jewelry cleaners, these chemical cleaners can damage antique jewelry. Soap, water and toothbrush will clean most antique jewelry. A little toothpaste and a toothbrush is a great way to clean diamonds.
Remember to test any methods of cleaning on an unseen area first. Every antique is different if you have any concerns consult a specialist before cleaning or repairing your antiques. The methods above may not be suitable for all antiques. Original article posted on Antique HQ

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3 Useful Antique Store Finds

When you think of an antique store do you picture a store filled with dusty shelves of broken, old things that remind you that you are glad we have modern conveniences? Or do you picture a store full of useful treasures that are just waiting to be dug out? Many things produced many years ago were of much better quality that you have find today. Here are a few treasures that you can find to start your collection: Antique-Linens

1. Linens and Clothing

This one might be a surprise because generally we think of antique clothing as something thread bare and not worth much. You can often find some modest, yet stylish skirts and dresses. Linens are another great buy at antique stores in Santa Barbara. If you are looking for some you can find beautifully hand sewn linens that were probably used only once or twice and very carefully preserved by the keeper of the home. These can make for very pretty and unique table decor.   Antique-Bowls

2. Kitchen Dishware

Antique dishes can tend to be somewhat thinner than what is on the market today but some larger dishware like pryex and crock style bowls can be mroe durable than their modern day counterparts. Nothing beats an excellent stoneware bowl that will probably last through your lifetime for only $15! You can also look for heirloom glassware to collect like Fostoria Crystal.   Antique-Games

3. Random Things!

Sometimes you can find old games that are fun additions to your overall game collection. Other things you can find include tools to use outside that you just can’t buy anymore, great old canning supplies like jars and strainers, and even fabric to sew with. You just never know what you might come across that can be useful in your daily life! You can almost always find something you can use for less than what you could buy the modern counterpart for at the store. Not to mention it’s a fun experience looking through all the treasures of days gone by! Original article posted on Little House Living

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4 Tips to Start Your Antique Collection

If you are learning how to collect antiques, start with a narrow focus. Choose one or two categories that interest you. Learn everything you can about the items, the time period, and current auction prices. Whether you choose to collect antique toys or firearms, furniture or china, start small. You learn about the market more effectively and avoid the risk of buying too much if you know what you are looking for and have researched prices.

Step One

After you have chosen your subject and done your research, it’s time to go shopping. Great places to start are garage sales and flea markets. Estate sales can be wonderful sources of antiques. If you are collecting rare or old items, however, you will likely have more success at an antique or collector show. Either way, be prepared with cash. Many sellers do not accept credit cards or checks.

Step Two

Visit the local antique stores in your area. Get to know the dealers and talk to them about your collection. Antique dealers are typically part of a small, closely-knit community. Once you get to know them, they will be happy to assist you in finding the items you are searching for.

Step Three

When you buy an item, it may be necessary to clean or repair it. Learn how to safely clean your collectible without causing further damage. Some types of antiques should not be cleaned at all. Coins should not be cleaned because cleaning lowers the value. Other items may call for special handling or professional restorers. Antique furniture may require special conditioners to restore the wood’s beauty, as is often the case if the piece has been stored improperly. When in doubt, consult your collector’s books, research online, or talk to someone in your antiques community.

Step Four

Properly store or display your item. If you will be taking your antiques to shows, invest in sufficient packing material and packaging to transport them safely.   Original article posted on Hobby Helper

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The Collector’s Guide to Jadeite Antiques

In 1933, with the Great Depression at its height, consumers were on the hunt for affordable kitchen and dishwares. Pennsylvania's McKee Glass Company added green scrap glass to its opaque formula, producing an inexpensive product with a novel color that satisfied that demand. Following suit, Jeannette Glass began producing what they coined "Jadite." In 1942, Anchor Hocking copied the look with their Fire-King line of "Jade-ite." Benefitting from a post-World War II economic boom, the line sold more than 25 million pieces over the next decade. Today, these prized picks are still popular with collectors.

The Beginner’s Guide

In 1933, with the Great Depression at its height, consumers were on the hunt for affordable kitchen and dishwares. Pennsylvania’s McKee Glass Company added green scrap glass to its opaque formula, producing an inexpensive product with a novel color that satisfied that demand. Following suit, Jeannette Glass began producing what they coined “Jadite.” In 1942, Anchor Hocking copied the look with their Fire-King line of “Jade-ite.” Benefitting from a post-World War II economic boom, the line sold more than 25 million pieces over the next decade. Today, these prized picks are still popular with collectors.  
1. Ball jug: Sold in limited quantities in the 1940s by Anchor Hocking, these pitchers are now the most coveted single pieces of Jadeite. Even damaged specimens (they're prone to stress cracks around the neck and handle) go for $150. Value: $400.
2. Ginger jar: This 3-inch canister by Jeannette Glass was part of a four-spice set that retailed for $4.25. Value: $145.
3. Water dispenser: This 1940s water chiller has a chrome spout that twists down to dispense water. The missing glass cover knocks $10 off its worth.Value: $90.
4. "New" platter: Displaying a 1960s Fire-King sticker, this unused piece is called "new old stock" in collector's parlance. Value: $80.
5. D-Handle coffee mug: These 9-ounce Fire-King mugs are valued for their notable grip. Value: $30 each.

Jugs, Mugs, and Jars

1. Ball jug: Sold in limited quantities in the 1940s by Anchor Hocking, these pitchers are now the most coveted single pieces of Jadeite. Even damaged specimens (they’re prone to stress cracks around the neck and handle) go for $150. Value: $400. 2. Ginger jar: This 3-inch canister by Jeannette Glass was part of a four-spice set that retailed for $4.25. Value: $145. 3. Water dispenser: This 1940s water chiller has a chrome spout that twists down to dispense water. The missing glass cover knocks $10 off its worth.Value:$90. 4. “New” platter: Displaying a 1960s Fire-King sticker, this unused piece is called “new old stock” in collector’s parlance.Value: $80. 5. D-Handle coffee mug: These 9-ounce Fire-King mugs are valued for their notable grip. Value: $30 each.
1. Beaded mixing bowls: The thin, rounded edge of this 1950s four-piece group was only produced for a short time, making a complete set a rare find. (For comparison, the set of four bowls in the upper left-hand corner of the next slide goes for about $140). Value: $550 for the set.
2. Batter bowl: This spouted number is one of the most frequently reproduced pieces of Jadeite. A telltale sign it's an authentic 1950s Fire-King batter bowl? The height. Vintage versions like the one shown here measure in at 4 inches, while contemporary imitations are 2 to 4 inches taller. Value: $40.
3. Canisters: Dating to the 1930s, these 48-ounce McKee canisters—the largest the company ever made—were designed to store kitchen staples of coffee, tea, and flour. While a single canister commands a respectable $200, a set with matching green tones is a prize indeed. Value: $750.
4. Butter dish: In the 1930s, butter was commonly sold in whopping 1-pound blocks. Made the same decade, this McKee lidded dish would have accommodated the spread in style. Value: $125.
5. Range set: McKee sold small shakers called range sets, which were designed to be kept in easy reach of the stove for a quick sprinkle of flour, sugar, salt, or pepper. This set's desirable black Art Deco lettering ups its estimate. Value: $200.

Bowls and Dishes

1. Beaded mixing bowls: The thin, rounded edge of this 1950s four-piece group was only produced for a short time, making a complete set a rare find. (For comparison, the set of four bowls in the upper left-hand corner of the next slide goes for about $140). Value: $550 for the set. 2. Batter bowl: This spouted number is one of the most frequently reproduced pieces of Jadeite. A telltale sign it’s an authentic 1950s Fire-King batter bowl? The height. Vintage versions like the one shown here measure in at 4 inches, while contemporary imitations are 2 to 4 inches taller. Value: $40. 3. Canisters: Dating to the 1930s, these 48-ounce McKee canisters—the largest the company ever made—were designed to store kitchen staples of coffee, tea, and flour. While a single canister commands a respectable $200, a set with matching green tones is a prize indeed. Value: $750. 4. Butter dish: In the 1930s, butter was commonly sold in whopping 1-pound blocks. Made the same decade, this McKee lidded dish would have accommodated the spread in style. Value: $125. 5. Range set: McKee sold small shakers called range sets, which were designed to be kept in easy reach of the stove for a quick sprinkle of flour, sugar, salt, or pepper. This set’s desirable black Art Deco lettering ups its estimate. Value: $200.
These striking designs are six of the most iconic Jadeite styles.
1. Sheaves of wheat: Available from 1957 to 1959, this delicate design is a rare find. Value: dinner plate, $100.
2. Restaurant ware: From the 1940s through the 1960s, this sturdy, no-fuss style was a staple for churches, hospitals, and its namesake, restaurants. With its sleek lines, it's now the most collected pattern. Value: salad plate, $18.
3. Jane Ray: This ribbed pattern had a long run from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s. Its ample availability keeps current prices down. Value: saucer, $5; dinner plate, $10.
4. Alice: Cups and saucers in this floral pattern were given away inside boxes of oatmeal from 1945 to 1949. Dinner plates are more rare. Value: dinner plate, $45; saucer, $6.
5. Charm: The mod, square shape on this 1950s plate has many current-day fans, making it one of the hardest styles to track down. Value: dinner plate, $27.
6. Shell: The last dishware pattern debuted in 1965 and was produced for 10 years. Value: dinner plate, $8.

RELATED: The Collector's Guide to Vintage Bakeware

Pick a Pattern

These striking designs are six of the most iconic Jadeite styles. 1. Sheaves of wheat: Available from 1957 to 1959, this delicate design is a rare find. Value: dinner plate, $100. 2. Restaurant ware: From the 1940s through the 1960s, this sturdy, no-fuss style was a staple for churches, hospitals, and its namesake, restaurants. With its sleek lines, it’s now the most collected pattern. Value: salad plate, $18. 3. Jane Ray: This ribbed pattern had a long run from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s. Its ample availability keeps current prices down. Value: saucer, $5; dinner plate, $10. 4. Alice: Cups and saucers in this floral pattern were given away inside boxes of oatmeal from 1945 to 1949. Dinner plates are more rare. Value: dinner plate, $45; saucer, $6. 5. Charm: The mod, square shape on this 1950s plate has many current-day fans, making it one of the hardest styles to track down.Value: dinner plate, $27. 6. Shell: The last dishware pattern debuted in 1965 and was produced for 10 years. Value: dinner plate, $8. Original article posted on Country Living

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