Furniture Conservation is a distinct area of object conservation requiring specialized skills. Preservation Arts is one of only a handful of companies in the US able to provide this expertise in house for both traditional and modern furniture items.
Traditional furniture items require that the conservator must understand the many types of structural joints and construction systems such as frame and panel, as well as have skills in marquetry, inlay of various materials such as wood, ivory, bone, horn and metal, caning, turning, carving, gilding, painted and faux surfaces, upholstery and polishing.
For modern and contemporary furniture a broader knowledge of materials is required such as plastics, plywood, laminates and upholstery systems that may incorporate various types of foam, sometimes severely deteriorating.
What is the difference between conservation and restoration?
Why should I take my furniture to a conservator rather than a restorer? The difference is in the approach to the artwork. A conservator will aim to stabilize and preserve as much original material as possible to retain the integrity, value and artistic intent of the cabinet maker or designer as much as possible. Repairs are undertaken using sympathetic materials, and original varnishes are regarded as valuable and therefore resaturated or re-solubilized rather than removed. All repairs are re-treatable and most importantly the process of repair is documented and photographed to be accountable and add to the history of the artwork.
Tyrolean Cabinet, circa 17th century was one of the most beautiful furniture items to ever come into the Preservation Arts studio. This ornate cabinet, made of an Oak substrate with Yew, Elm and various fruit woods had veneered surfaces and carved elements. The cabinet was full of surprises. The two doors and top lifted up to reveal an ornate interior system of drawers and small cupboards that opened to reveal secret compartments. Luckily, it was rescued from the Napa fires in 2018 and we treated it for smoke damage as well as minor structural repairs.