Below is a guide to look after your furniture correctly and I highly recommend you study this carefully to fully understand the correct conditions to preserve and protect your pieces so you can pass them down to your future generations in the best possible condition.
The patina on the surface of antique furniture builds up over many years (sometimes it takes hundreds of years) and even with old marks and damage; it is part of the character and charm, so adds to the value of a piece of furniture and should be preserved at all costs.
Fine Wax Finishing antique furniture with a good quality natural beeswax (not modern spray polishes as these can damage the surface over time), is the best way to protect the original finish as this brings out the colour and grain of the wood and provides protection.
Put a small amount of bees wax polish on a soft clean cloth and rub the piece in the direction of the grain until the wax on the surface begins to shine, without removing all the wax...
This will burnish the surface, evaporate any solvent and clean the original finish in the process. This will encourage a hard wax skin to form which enhances the patina and protect the surface further.
Brass mounts and handles should not be polished with metal cleaners as this will damage the wood that surrounds them and will also take away the character built up over years.
A light waxing using very fine wire wool (0000 grade) will gently clean if needed. Regular dusting should be enough to keep them bright but not over shiny. The gold finish on ormolu or gilded bronze, is very delicate and should not be polished too vigorously. It should be handled as little as possible, as the acid in fingertips can damage gilding, but it is best to be dusted gently a soft brush and can be cleaned using wax if done very carefully.
Environmental Conditions That Can Affect Your Antique Furniture
Many things can affect the condition of antique furniture including some things you may not think off. Sunlight and humidity as well as central heating and pollutants in the air can affect organic materials like wood, fabric and leather used in the construction of antique furniture. It essential to think about the environment in which furniture is kept and it is always best to check your pieces every few weeks to ensure it is not being damaged in any way.
Do not to keep fine antique furniture in strong sunlight as this will fade its colour (bleaching) and if sun light is only covering part of the piece it can make an uneven colour.
The heat from sunlight can also dry out the furniture and lift veneers.
Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can damage furniture also, especially on inlaid or veneered furniture.
Central heating dries the air and dries the wood, so the moisture needs replacing in a room. Humidifiers can be a solution.