' Introduction to our furniture restoration guides & FAQ – British Originals
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Introduction to our furniture restoration guides & FAQ

Antique furniture care maintenance Antiques FAQ Restoration Vintage furniture

How to.....all our guides listed, terms explained and tips on common problems.


Here at British Originals we are all about bringing new ideas and new people to old, antique, vintage and classic household furniture & items. Whatever you are doing, or looking at, the key is to use it and enjoy it, just like our motto - Restored, Adored

Do you really like the look of old items but have some questions? Look no further. We've created some simple guides to get you started.

Browse the list or see our FAQ below
A library of questions answered, How to...guides, Antique terms explained & more 

Antique & Vintage furniture guides from BritishOriginals

| Guide: Looking after old furniture - Cleaning & Maintenance |

| Glossary:  Common terms explained  - Antique & Vintage Furniture |

| Guide: Identifying different types of furniture wood |

| Guide: Cleaning.......Wicker, Cane, Rush & Bergere | 

| Guide: Cleaning.......Upholstered furniture | 

| Guide: Cleaning.......Oil paintings | 

| Guide: How to clean dull & dirty antique furniture |

| Guide: How to identify which finish I have on wooden furniture |

Guide: How to wax and polish wooden furniture

Guide: How to remove minor scratches on wooden furniture |

Guide: What colour finish on my antique or vintage furniture |

| Guide: Buying Antiques |  

    Really want to take a restoration project of your own on ? See our favorite external links to more advanced resources on how to french polish or re-wax an item. If that scares you see our | Restoration Service  |


    Do I have to specially look after old stuff ? 

    No more than new stuff, but here's some basic tips.

    | Maintenance Guide |

    Confused by specialist terms in Antiques adverts?



    Think 'Burr Walnut' might be a homeopathic remedy? 

    Suspect 'Bergere' may be a French Man's name ?

    Use our Illustrated Glossary of terms to help guide you through

    | Glossary of Antiques terms |

    What does this WOOD  *insert name* look like?


    Oak, Mahogany, Walnut, Rosewood......See our picture and descriptions 

     | Wood type identification guide |

    Not sure what to ask about when buying ?


    Here's a list of things we look for or ask about when buying antiques

     | Buying Guide

    Help I've got a problem ! 


    What's Wrong ? 

    What to do


    Work out what finish is on the piece. This makes a big difference as to what to do or what can be done. Not sure ? See our guide to help

    | Guide: How to identify which finish I have on Wooden Furniture |

    My piece of furniture is really dirty, How do I clean it ? 

    | Guide: How to clean dull & dirty Antique furniture |

    I've got a scratch on my item

    Fixing scratches is dependent on what finish is on your furniture and how deep it is. 
    • If French Polish aka, Shellac
    • If Wax
    • If Varnish  
      • It can't be patched up. There's nothing to be done but refinish the item. Varnish is only removable with paint stripper andlots of elbow grease. We can help here
    • If Lacquer 

    My item is flaking and patchy

    We'd guess this is a lacquer or varnish finish. It happens over time as the finish ages ( hence the reason we don't use it )

    Typically the finish needs to be completely removed & redone as it's almost impossible to patch old varnishes or lacquers. Want to get us to fix it ? See our | Restoration service

    The surface is dull and dark

    If this is an old piece the chances are it's been in smoke filled rooms ( either tobacco or coal fired ) This can get clogged in the wax on the item and leave it looking very unloved, hiding the wonderful colour & texture of the wood.

    If it's very bad it will need to be repolished, but a deep clean & wax polish can work wonders

    | Guide: Cleaning up your old items

    Loose joint or pieces have fallen off 

    Old furniture was often made from animal glues & these dissolve if they get wet or degrade over time. It's a clean, reset, glue and clamp job. Our restoration service can help. 

    The top is curly, split or warped

    Wood grows & shrinks according to temperature & moisture. This can change the shape of the planks or flat areas over time. Fixing it requires steaming, bending or clamping it back to its original shape & is usually a workshop job. See if our restoration service can help

    The chair seat has gone saggy 

    Traditional upholstery is done by building up a framework of webbing strips to give the strength to seats & backs. If your item is sagging it means the webbing has come loose or become very stretched over time. Unfortunately there is no way to replace the webbing without taking off all the covering layers so you'll need it reupholstered, get in touch for details. 

    There is so much to know about antiques & vintage items we'll never get them all on one site let alone one page. We learn something new everyday like; how something was made, where it was made, what it was made for, or a special term used to describe it. Still got a question ? Browse the full list of guides below or contact us and we'll try to help 

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