Posts Tagged ‘Antiques Santa Barbara’

Preserving and Restoring Antique Furniture Coatings

Antique Furniture Restoration Santa Barbara

Coatings accomplish several functions when used in conjunction with wooden objects. First, and probably foremost in terms of the fabricator’s intent, is that coatings alter the appearance of the surface. That is, coatings serve some aesthetic purpose. Second, coatings offer protection to the object’s surface (spills, abrasion, etc.) and structure (relative humidity [RH] shifts and ensuing dimensional-change-caused deterioration). Finally coatings provide scholars, including conservators and historians, information regarding the practices and technologies of the past.

As with other considerations when evaluating historic artifacts of all kinds, these factors must be integrated with the precept that all materials which exist as part of an object contribute to the integrity and uniqueness of that object. Both historic and contemporary fabricators of wooden objects generally consider(ed) coatings, particularly “non decorative,” to be a potentially sacrificial element of the whole. However, for the reasons enumerated above, conservators do not consider any portion of an object to be routinely expendable, including finishes and coatings.

Contrary to the “strip and dip” approach to dealing with coatings so prevalent in many commercial refinishing and restoration shops, conservators and sensible restorers attempt to preserve the coating on the object whenever possible. This is not to suggest that coatings are never altered or replaced in the course of conducting a conservation treatment on an object. In many cases this intrusion must take place, but the ideal is to intercede minimally and to leave the surface as undisturbed as possible while assuring stability for, and preservation of the artifact. Preserving finishes and treating degraded coatings requires a broad base of knowledge and diverse skills, including the knowledge of coating materials and their deterioration, as well as craft skills necessary to manipulate the films, whether in preserving existing films or applying new coatings.

The manifestation of coating deterioration depends entirely on the kind of film forming materials used, additives used to modify that material, and the various environment conditions to which the coating has been subjected. A beginning point in the treating and preserving of coatings is the most specific description of the coating system possible. Coating systems can range from simple single component applications to sophisticated preparations applied in an exacting and complex procedure.

This will be an overview of the field of coatings and their preservation as a whole. Any of the areas of discussion here, coating materials and techniques, coating deterioration, and treatment of degraded coatings, could and have filled volumes. In addition to existing literature, dozens of conservators and other scholars are continuing to prepare articles, monographs and books on the subject of furniture coatings. With that in mind the reader is reminded of the superficial nature of the information presented here (in general), with particular emphasis on the temporal pertinence of the treatment section. The conservation treatment of damaged furniture finishes is a relatively new discipline, and it is likely that much of the framework discussed for such treatments will be superceded by new techniques and approaches in relatively short order.

Coating Materials

The scope of materials used to form finishes on furniture and wooden objects is a broad one encompassing ingredients from several categories. The most general distinction delineating coatings is whether they are transparent (varnishes), opaque (paint or polychromy) or metallic (leaf). Among these are waxes, gums, and oils, plus natural and synthetic resins, all of which can be used as transparent coatings. By the addition of dyes or pigments to transparent materials, paints are formulated. Paints are also formed by the addition of colorants to liquids which are not usually employed as transparent coatings, such as casein or “milk paint.” There are also coatings of applied metal sheet, such as gold and silver leaf, which are adhered to a wood or mineral substrate with protein or resinous binders. Finally, there are film formers which do not fit neatly into any of the aforementioned categories, such as urushiol, or Oriental lacquer, which is a reactive latex with vague similarities to both oils and resins, and which can be used as a transparent or opaque coating. Within the organization of this document urushiol is included with natural resins.

A second broad category of definition for coating materials involves the drying mechanism of the film, which in turn may reveal chemical and physical properties such as solubility, thermoplasticity, rheology, and others. Drying mechanisms are separated into two broad categories; solvent release and polymerization. In solvent release or “spirit varnish” systems the coating film is a residue remaining after the evaporation of the volatile solvent from a solution containing the solvent and the involatile film former. Polymerizing or “reactive varnish” systems harden rather than dry. This is accomplished by the polymerization of the mono or oligomeric constituents of the formulation. In most cases the exact chemical reaction process of the polymerization is relatively unimportant for either the creating craftsman or the conservator/restorer.

In addition to film forming materials, coating formulations frequently contain additional materials to enhance certain properties of the coating. These additives can alter working characteristics of a liquid coating during application, or visual or physical properties of the dried films. Common additives to coating systems are solvents, plasticizers, gloss suppressants, retarders, colorants, and chemical degradation inhibitors.

There are several ways of organizing reviews of materials. Here, the information about the coatings is loosely grouped according to the respective material’s functionality as a coating on wood. It must also be noted that many, if not most formulations of coatings for wooden objects contain components from several of the groupings. Reviews of coating materials by chemical constituency can be found in several of the references listed after the conclusion.

Original article posted on Smithsonian Institute

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Antiques: Where Do You Find All This Stuff?

It might seem like a silly question: where do you find all this stuff? But there’s not an antique dealer out there who ever set up at a show or opened a shop that hasn’t had this query from novice shoppers. They wander into a booth mesmerized by the treasures within, and can’t help but wonder how you put together such an impressive collection of items for sale. The answer most dealers will give you? Everywhere. So if you’re thinking you might want to start a part-time antiques business or develop a sideline selling collectibles to supplement your retirement income, be prepared to work hard finding quality merchandise to sell at prices reasonable enough to keep the business going. These are some of the venues where you’ll compete with others to find the goods required to turn a profit and replenish your inventory:

Estate Sales

The estate sales holding the most potential are those run by family members as opposed to estate-liquidation companies. For one thing, these companies know a lot more about the merchandise they’re selling than the average family does. In fact, they tend to price the merchandise higher than most dealers would in a traditional shop. That said, prices do tend to fall as the sale drags on. Although making the effort to stand in line on the first day the sale will ensure that you get first look at that goods, you’ll tend to get better deals on the second and third days.
Check your local newspaper’s estate sale list in the classified advertising section each Thursday and Friday to locate the sales in your town and consult online listings as well. Better yet, if the operators of the estate sales you attend offer notices of upcoming sales, whether through email or snail mail, sign up to receive them. That way, you’ll learn about local sales even before they’re announced in the newspaper or through online ads.

Garage Sales

It’s gotten really hard to find older things at random garage sales anymore, but you may have more luck at neighborhood sales where several households stage garage sales on the same day. To that end, try to get a sense of which neighborhoods in your area are more upscale; that way, you increase your chances of finding nice things you might be able to resell even if they aren’t extremely old.

Flea Markets

Many flea markets these days are actually outlets for new and imported goods, which means that finding antiques can be challenging—but it’s not impossible. One of the best ways to find out about flea markets (not to mention antiques shows, crafts fairs and the like) in your area that sell mainly antiques is to check online event calendars provided by sites like this one along with other antiques publications. Don’t forget to check the calendar when you travel, too, to find out which markets to hit while you’re away.

Live Auctions

General auctions used to hold more potential for resellers than they do now, at least in many areas. But you can still hit a good one every now and then, especially when they’re estate auctions. The trick is to arrive early to inspect the goods you might be interested in bidding on to make sure the pieces are authentic (nothing stings like buying a reproduction at an auction) and in good condition. Take notes of lot numbers, and determine how much you can reasonably pay for a piece and still turn a decent profit. Use your list to make sure you don’t get caught up in the action and pay way more than an item’s worth. Also refrain from bidding on pieces you didn’t get to inspect if they are selling low. This rarely works in your favor since auctioneers tend to embellish items and don’t always describe flaws accurately. To locate auctions in your area, check your local newspaper or consult a service like liveauctioneers.com. You’ll not only learn where upcoming auctions are taking place, but you can sign up to bid online there as well.

Thirft Stores

Some people have great luck shopping at thrift stores for antiques and collectibles. Those who swear by them say to find out the day of the week they stock new merchandise and hit them then. It may also pay off to establish a rapport with the employees at your local thrift stores. Be extra friendly when you drop in, and make sure they have some idea of the types of pieces you’re looking to find. Then, leave your card with them so they can call you in the event items that might interest you are stocked.

Online Auctions

In many instances now online auctions provide a wholesale marketplace for more average antiques, and the rarities are snapped up by eager collectors who will pay top dollar. But sometimes you’ll find a great sleeper if you shop diligently. In fact, in her book Killer Stuff and Tons of Money, author Maureen Stanton writes of one seller she knows who makes a living finding undervalued and misidentified wares on eBay.com and then turning around and selling them in the same venue. You can even search on eBay using misspelled words to find things other buyers won’t tend to notice. Be aware, however, that this is a time-consuming proposition and you really need to be well-versed in the genres of antiques you’re “working” to make any money. But if you have the background, time and inclination, you can indeed score some great finds this way. Original article posted on About Home

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5 Budget Friendly Antiques Under $10

Start scouring flea markets, online auctions, and yard sales for these wallet-friendly scores—from miniature busts to rubber stamps.
Mass-produced by a handful of outfits during the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, these diminutive statuettes served as popular gifts from piano teacher to student. Herco Industries, the accessories division of Hershman Brothers Musical Instrument Company, cast the four-inch-tall chalkware maestros below (from left, Paderewski, Mozart, and Mendelssohn). We snagged the trio for $9.

1. Composer Busts

Mass-produced by a handful of outfits during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, these diminutive statuettes served as popular gifts from piano teacher to student. Herco Industries, the accessories division of Hershman Brothers Musical Instrument Company, cast the four-inch-tall chalkware maestros below (from left, Paderewski, Mozart, and Mendelssohn). We snagged the trio for $9.    
The combo bottle-and-can opener debuted shortly after Prohibition—when brewers first started marketing canned beer—and remained prevalent until the pull tab's release in 1962. Often given away with the purchase of a six-pack, the simple tools are in plentiful supply today. Snap them up for as little as $1 each.

2. Bottle Openers

The combo bottle-and-can opener debuted shortly after Prohibition—when brewers first started marketing canned beer—and remained prevalent until the pull tab’s release in 1962. Often given away with the purchase of a six-pack, the simple tools are in plentiful supply today. Snap them up for as little as $1 each.
Beginning in the early 20th century, tailors, haberdasheries, dry cleaners, and even banks imprinted their logos, slogans, and other information on these wooden freebies—a publicity tactic that endured through the 1970s. The examples here, all under $5 a pop, hail from between the 1930s and the 1960s.

3. Advertising Hangers

Beginning in the early 20th century, tailors, haberdasheries, dry cleaners, and even banks imprinted their logos, slogans, and other information on these wooden freebies—a publicity tactic that endured through the 1970s. The examples here, all under $5 a pop, hail from between the 1930s and the 1960s.  
To create this two-headed horse, the developer flipped the negative and exposed the print a second time; but there's no telling if that move was intentional or merely a darkroom mistake. We unearthed these circa-1915 prints in a box of discarded proofs, priced at under a buck each—evidence that it's worth digging for special effects or gaffes (double exposures, light leaks, awkward cropping) that add extra interest to otherwise ordinary works.

4. Photographers’ Proofs

To create this two-headed horse, the developer flipped the negative and exposed the print a second time; but there’s no telling if that move was intentional or merely a darkroom mistake. We unearthed these circa-1915 prints in a box of discarded proofs, priced at under a buck each—evidence that it’s worth digging for special effects or gaffes (double exposures, light leaks, awkward cropping) that add extra interest to otherwise ordinary works.  
The first rubber stamp was introduced in the late 1860s. Businesses adopted the efficient labels over the next few decades, and the technology remained predominant for more than a century. The post-1930 devices at right recorded dates, payments, approvals, employee attendance on time sheets, and quality-control inspections. (Check out the workers' names—Topsy! Shirley! Dessie!) Now the throwbacks can be sourced for as little as $3 per stamp.

5. Rubber Stamps

The first rubber stamp was introduced in the late 1860s. Businesses adopted the efficient labels over the next few decades, and the technology remained predominant for more than a century. The post-1930 devices at right recorded dates, payments, approvals, employee attendance on time sheets, and quality-control inspections. (Check out the workers’ names—Topsy! Shirley! Dessie!) Now the throwbacks can be sourced for as little as $3 per stamp.   Original article posted on Country Living

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3 Antique Stoves Every Collector Should Know About

Sure, they’re expensive, but they don’t make these built-to-last beauties like they used to. Sturdy and striking, these antique stoves cook up some serious style. gallery-1426194670-antique-stoves-western-holly-0415

#1 – 1953 Western Holly

This green number features a gas-powered range, as well as a rotisserie cooker and an electric light and fan (both novel at the time). At 46 inches, it’s wide—even by 1950s standards. Value: $8,900
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#2 – 1952 Chambers

Built-in cabinets with standardized sizes for stoves first appeared in kitchens during the 1950s. At 37.5 inches wide, this 1952 Chambers is more representative of this shift in size.Value: $7,400

gallery-1426194725-antique-stoves-okeefe-0415

1949 O’Keefe and Merritt

After World War II, vibrant colors and shiny chrome came into vogue. Thanks to flashy features—a griddle for pancakes, a “grillevator” that lowered food close to flames for indoor barbecuing, and built-in salt and pepper shakers—this brand still has a cult following. Value: $8,900
  All prices in this story reflect refurbished, functional models (sourced from antiqueappliances.com in Clayton, GA). Original article posted on CountryLiving.com

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Top 10 Irish Items to Collect for St. Patrick’s Day

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Originally a religious holiday commemorating the death of Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick’s Day has transformed into an international celebration of Irish tradition and culture. While many festivities tend to focus on green beer, shamrocks and corny t-shirts, the Irish have an incredibly rich history, all of which deserves to be celebrated at least once a year. The unique culture of Ireland presents numerous rare and meaningful opportunities for those who wish to hold onto a piece of Éire. In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, here are the top ten Irish items to add to your collection:

Claddagh Rings

irish memorabilia

A traditional representation of love, loyalty and friendship, the Claddagh ring is an emblem of Irish identity. Made in Ireland since at least 1700, the origin of the Claddagh ring is clothed in mystery and myth. The legend is that Richard Joyce, a silversmith, was captured and sold to a Moorish goldsmith who taught him the craft. Fourteen years later, Joyce was returned to Ireland – where he gave his ring to his sweetheart. His initials are even engraved into the earliest surviving Claddagh ring. Today, women wear the rings to “announce” their relationship status to the world: If worn with the heart pointed toward the fingers, the girl is single; if the heart points toward the wrist, she’s in a relationship. Whether it’s a collection of rings, one with sentimental value, or a valuable, rare ring from the 1800s, Claddagh rings are likely to be found in any Irish person’s Trov.

 

Traditional Irish Instruments

irish tin whistle

One of the strongest aspects of Irish culture is its music. Not only are they the exporters of the greatest rock ‘n roll band in the world, traditional Irish music has more than survived subsequent innovations and globalization, it has thrived. From Ireland’s national bagpipe, the uilleann pipes, to harps, tin whistles, bodhráns and of course – the fiddle, the traditional folk music, the jigs, stepdances and the crooning ballads all evoke feelings of rolling green pastures and jam sessions in small public houses. A welcome addition to any Trov, the music of Ireland, and by extension its instruments, are an important and active aspect of Irish culture and lifestyle.

 

Guinness Memorabilia

st. patrick's day, guinness

We can’t very well talk about St. Patrick’s Day without talking about Guinness, can we? Dublin’s favorite stout since 1759 has gone through many variations over the centuries, but still remains one of the world’s most successful beer brands. Some of this success might be attributed to Guinness’ iconic marketing campaigns of the 1920s. In fact, the posters and other advertising memorabilia are now collectors items of their own right, especially since they can no longer make the medical claims that “Guinness is good for you.”

 

Vintage Beer Tap Knobs

beer tap knobs, irish collectibles

On a similar note, the Irish culture of going out to the pub is one that cannot be denied. Public houses are gathering places for the communities, friends and families – when heading out to ‘the local’ – you expect to see the smiling faces of people you know. One of the most collectible items from pubs would have to be vintage beer tap knobs – for their age, rarity and value, these colorful handles are a great way to bring some of that community pub feeling to your home.

 

Aran Sweater

aran sweater, irish collectibles

The intricate designs, tight knits and natural oils all make traditional Aran jumpers a unique and appreciated staple of any Irish wardrobe. Though most are now machine knit or made on a hand loom, it is still possible to find a hand-knit Aran sweater, far superior in quality, but which can reach quite high prices: 215 Euros (about 300 American dollars) or more for a high quality vintage item.

 

Militaria

volunteer sheet

Undeniable is the fact that Ireland’s history is one that has been clouded in war. Invaded by many, but conquered by none, there is a large wealth of militaria and memorabilia to go around, collected by historians, history buffs, and those who have a passion for a connection to the past. Items such as collar badges, weapons, archives and hand-written journals are all incredibly interesting and educational items for any collection.

 

Rosaries

eucharistic dublin

Of course, the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day is actually a religious affair – commemorating the death of Ireland’s patron saint. Despite the myth that Saint Patrick “banned the snakes from Ireland” he is in fact known for bringing Christianity to the island, and the holiday is one that is celebrated in Ireland by heading to church. As such, rosary beads are a fitting collectible with which to celebrate this national holiday. Providing a spiritual connection as well as monetary value, vintage rosary beads can vary greatly in price depending on style, material, markings, construction and condition, making them a great option for anyone wishing to start a collection.

 

Irish Art

irish art

From the Bronze Age to today, Ireland is a country that has always emphasized its art. Whether you’re looking for traditional Celtic art, works by early Irish masters, or modern, contemporary pieces – there is something for everyone. In the world of art collecting, there has recently been an increased interest in Irish art, largely due to the country’s economic expansion since the 1980s.

 

Midleton Very Rare – Irish Whiskey

midleton irish whiskey

The French have their wine, the Russians, vodka, while Ireland is renowned for its production of some of the world’s best whiskey. Blended in their distillery in the southern county of Cork, Midleton Very Rare is known as one of the highest quality whiskeys available. However, a limited number of bottles are produced each year, and each bottle is dated, numbered and signed by the chief distiller – only adding to its value. A single bottle of Midleton Very Rare will cost around $150, though prices for rare editions and exceptional vintages will be much, much higher.

 

Irish Literature

oscar wilde irish literature rare books

A nation of storytellers, Ireland has contributed a massive amount of contributions to world literature, especially given its comparatively small size. From the tales of Irish mythology and epic sagas, to the playwrights and poets of the 18th century; from James Joyce and W.B. Yeates to Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde and the Irish Literary Revival, the stories are endless, moving and inspirational. For collectors, or those who just wish to add some enlivening literature to their Trov, rare books and first editions are the perfect way to evoke the spirit of the Irish.

Original article posted on Trov.com

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