The problem is with amateur restorers that many antiques and militaria are ruined and lost forever. Okay, so lots of antiques do look a bit tatty but very often that’s part of the charm. Restoring some antiques can not only ruin the piece but also wipe off a big chunk of the value in one fell swoop and that’s not good for anybody.
So, to restore or not to restore antiques – that is the question.
Before starting any antiques and militaria restoration projects you’ve got to do your homework. Research the individual antiques, do a thorough inspection and see if you can find any marks or labels which can identify them and help you to know just a little bit about the origin of the pieces. I found some great advice here for restoring militaria, check it out.
If a piece is extremely rare and valuable don’t touch it! If any restoration work is going to be needed for some antiques it is definitely best left to the professionals – someone with the necessary experience in antique restoration. They may advise you to leave well alone or some small amount of restoration work to bring it back to its former glory.
If it turns out that your particular family heirloom isn’t very rare or valuable – just incredibly tatty – then you still might consider paying a professional to deal with any restoration, either that or definitely walk the path of the least resistance.
If your dirty old dresser is still pretty much in one piece just dust it and clean it – that might be all that’s needed to give it a new lease of life without interfering with the “nuts and bolts” of the piece. Remember that the word “restore” means to return the piece to its original state and not to alter the piece adding in little bits and pieces in a haphazard fashion.
Many amateur antiques restorers get a great deal of satisfaction and maybe even make a little cash restoring antique furniture but it’s always worth doing your homework first. Check out UK militaria for some great restoration advice.