Why Repair and Re-finish or not.
When a notable antique furniture piece is restored, it often loses most value. This is a very hard concept for many people to grasp. As our current generation adds or subtracts from the original work from a master, this is like painting a Hitler mustache onto the Mona Lisa painting that Leonardo da Vinci created. Our current finishes may be fashionable, but it would change the work of a Master.
Most antique furniture pieces were created over a 100 years ago. The wood was taken from very old growth trees " many extinct " and will show a different grain pattern than our quick-growth varieties today. Furniture finishes were created through different processes " many lethal " than our high tech varieties on the market place today. As an example, when a real fruit finish is removed from an 1830’s table, it can never be replaced. A new finish will always be a Hitler mustache where the old patina of an aged finish should be.
Refinishing Antique Furniture
The art and science of restoration includes consideration towards the act of preservation. Everything that we do to a priceless piece of antique / Designer wood furniture today should be easy for a future generation to maintain or replace. Refinishing wood is not an act of restoration or preservation; this is a permanent change being made to a some times valuable antique. Refinished wood pieces have their place in an active office space, and this process is fine to attempt on wood furniture that is not designated as an investment or heirloom to treasure.