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Furniture Knowledge

Chinese Antique Furniture Restoration


Learn how the antique chinese furniture are restored / refurnished to improve the finish available so that you can select the right chinese antique furniture pieces.

Because the refinishing process is done with meticulous care, and with the goal of bringing out the object's inherent character, the craftsmanship and restoration brings you the best quality possible. In short, it is a very complicated way to ensure the best possible restoration and refinishing of Ming and Qing special Chinese antique furniture. 

According to the appearance of the antique furniture, there are three kinds of restoration methods: Ancientness maintenance; Bark maintenance; Renovation. The examining standard and schedule are very strict during the restoration; the quality control is throughout the whole process. 

Ancientness Maintenance
The antique Chinese furniture restoration means: After repaired by carpenter, the parts with white surface can be scarped and polished; but the other original lacquer and decoration must be kept. 

Operation flow: Furniture selection -- Removal — Replacement material — Boards joint -- Test for makeup -- Assembly 

- Furniture selection: 
Observe how mildewed and rotten the furniture is to see if it can be repaired on the basis of the Ancientness maintenance. 

- Removal:
The craftsmen in the restoration workshop will take each piece apart, this is a very impoRTAnt procedure. The quality of the restoration depends on it. 

Remove it after watching its structure, when removed, the order that is contrary to the original makeup order should be adopted. The damage of the original lacquer should be lowered to the least. The scraper cannot be used. 

Take off all hardware and metalwork and keep them. 

- Replacement material: 
The worker will firstly use sandpaper and special tools to make each piece smooth but Max. keep the old laqure , painting and carving to keep the chacraters of the old piece. 

Watch the antique furniture’s original texture, the damage degree and parts to see if it really need material replaced, if so, the same texture, color and grain are in need. Generally, the light colors are preferred. Refinish the surface with several layer of laquer (With several times of polish ).

In such a way it can get the pieces max keep the charater (Color , Surface Defect of Long Time Using etc.) of old item. It look much like old piece.

The next step is to repair and clean the bronze and other metalwork according to the your request and replace them back on the Chinese furniture.

- Boards joint: 
The joined board should be made an angle of 30 degrees with the sideboard. The joint with paste powder should be operated under certain pressure and temperature; the operation method is to clip the boards for 4-8 hours firstly, then take out and place it for 24-48 hours. The requirement after joined is to keep the boards straight; no gap; no paste print, no crack

- Test for make-up: 
The requirement is the same as the following renovation. 

- Assembly: 
According to the original structure, when assembling, the tongue—groove structure should be tight, the frame is flat and straight, the surface is smooth, no paste print. 

- The requirement of the cabinet style is: 
1, to keep the gap between the door and door, the door and the frame homogeneous, generally within 5mm.

2, to keep it easy to open and close the drawer; the gap around it is within 3mm;the vertical stays and bracket arms should be added in the back or the bottom to keep the antique furniture in a long use. 

- The requirement of the chair style is to join the tongue—groove structure well, according to the damage degree.

- The requirement of the table style is to keep the joint of the rim and the cap tight; the bracket arm should be used in 


Operation flow: Removal -- Material selection -- Replacement material -- Polish — Boards joint -- Test for makeup -- Assembly 

- Removal: 
Remove carefully after observing the structure, and then take effort to keep the Chinese furniture’s structure complete. 

- Material selection: 
The same wood from the other antique furniture is in need. But sometimes it is hard to find in special condition, In this case, similar grain, texture will be in use. 

- Replacement parts: 
According to the processing requirement and the weight bearing on the different parts of the Chinese furniture, the proper material should be selected. The requirement is no crack, no scar, and no rotten place.

- Polish: 
The antique furniture lacquer surface can be polished directly: The surface of the thick tung oil lacquer furniture need be polished after it is melted by the blowlamp; the thin lacquer surface can be transferred to the polishing workshop to scarp with scarper. 

The polish requirement is: 1) Every part should be polished to be white, even one corner cannot be forgotten; 2) No old paint print, no oil spay on the surface; 3) The same color hue. Click here to view more about "Refinishing Antique Furniture"

- Boards joint:
1) Clear the border of the complete board with steel brush; 2) Smear paste on it; 3) Join them. The curved board need be straightened firstly, then brush water around it, and bake the raised side by fire; After baked dry by fire completely, it should be put on the adjusting straight shelf with the concaved side down, one end is fixed, the other end was pressed by a wooden stick. After a while, it will be straight. (Don’t bake the board until it is burnt, or press too strongly or it will break) the joined board needs to be clipped to fasten for 4-8 hours in the normal atmospheric temperature condition. 

- Test for makeup: 
All parts should be tried to make up after restoration. In order to avoid the addition of the new material, shortening the frame size according to the sizes of the door and the sideboard is permitted. The requirement is to keep the original parts and the frames tight and in order. 

- Assembly: 
According to the original structure, the tongue-groove structure should be tight; The diagonal of the frame furniture should be symmetrical; Special paste powder should be used; But no paste powder should be used on the whole antique furniture’s surface after assembling. 

Bark Maintenance
The antique furniture restoration means: On the basis of keeping the Chinese antique furniture’s color hue and texture effect, some simple operation could be made after the lacquer is taken from the Chinese furniture to the parts the texture showed. After painted, the furniture still belongs to the antique furniture. 

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