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How to Start Your Furniture Repair or Restoration Enquiry

 

If you have a piece of furniture you wish to be restored or repaired then an email to a.c.sprowell.furniture@gmail.com with some photos and a brief explanation of the level of restoration work required is a good starting point. From this I can give you an idea of basic costings and a rough guide price for the work. If you are happy to proceed after this then once I have the piece of furniture in my workshop I will produce a more detailed estimate for the job. This will include what is required to get your piece of furniture back to looking its best and a subsequent breakdown of the work I intend to carry out. You are not obliged at any point to go through with the work if you are not entirely happy. You are welcome to decline the work at any time in the process up until this point. Once work has begun, anything that is carried out to your piece of furniture up to and including the completion of the restoration will require payment. 

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How Estimates Work

Estimates are just that, estimates. Over the years I have worked on and restored a number of items which gives me a fairly good idea of how long different repairs and restorations will take. When producing an estimate I examine a piece of furniture closely and work out roughly how long I think each aspect of the job may take. This gives me an idea of the labour charge, I then add on any additional costings that are required such as materials, fittings, delivery/carriage etc. From this I arrive at a final total for the estimate. Each estimate will include a description and breakdown of the work I intend to carry out, 

The Terms and Conditions Bit

Estimates can go up or down. I'm sure you would much rather they go down than up, however if whilst working on your piece of furniture, I realise I am going to go over the estimated hourly cost by more than a couple of hours I will contact you prior to carrying out any further work. I may go over the estimated hours simply because I underestimated how long certain aspects of the job would take or it may be due to finding something I didn't expect that needs attention. In all circumstances you can rest assured you will receive honest estimates and communications with me throughout the process. Once work has begun, anything that is carried out to your piece of furniture up to, and including, the completion of the restoration will require payment. 

If however you do not wish to have an estimate produced and are happy to proceed with the work regardless then I am happy to do this as well. I understand that some customers are happy with a simple "ball park" figure and do not require a full estimate and breakdown. 

Antique Furniture Restoration

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

Antique Furniture Restoration covers a large scope of different skills and processes that are required, in order to restore a piece of furniture. A Furniture Restorer is a Cabinet-Maker with many additional skills that are needed in order to undertake restoration work with the careful consideration it requires. Structural repairs; relaying loose veneers and replacing missing ones; coaxing old, worn mechanisms back into working order; cleaning hundreds of years of dirt and grime from surfaces; colour blending and re-polishing surfaces are just some of the things that I am able to help with in order to restore your loved pieces of antique furniture. 

My Approach to Antique Restoration

In my training I was made to be very conscious about the conservation of a piece, and I proudly carry this forward into my own restoration work. I carefully consider the ethics towards restoring a piece of antique furniture, and although my main objective is to restore, I will always work to conserve as much of the original material as I can along the way. Replacing a leg, because its quicker, as opposed to repairing a damaged one is, for me, not an acceptable approach. I will always use glues and finishes that are appropriate and in keeping with what would have been used at the time of manufacture. 

Structural repairs might include broken chair legs or the folding mechanism of a drop leaf table that may have seized, or incurred a broken rule joint. Drawers on antique furniture are often in need of some love and attention. They are fitted with wooden runners which over years of use will get worn down causing the drawer to no longer run smoothly. When carrying out any structural repairs, my aim is always to restore the piece so that it is sound and functions as it was intended.

Veneers were extensively used on antique furniture in order to make hard woods go that bit further. Also used for decorative effect, in symmetrical parquetry or arabesque marquetry, veneers can quite easily become loose or damaged. I am able to replace and repair veneers and blend in any colouring that is required. Damaged or loose veneers, in any form, can be repaired, re-laid and missing pieces replaced.

Missing pieces can usually be replaced, whether its a broken drawer pull that has rolled away out of sight or a caster wheel that has somehow vanished from its leg. Missing brass fittings can be accurately copied or replica parts sourced. I understand that even if I have carried out a beautiful leg splice you probably don't want that lovely, clean, new piece of wood and the join line to become a focal point. I will use a variety of cosmetic techniques and processes to ensure that any new piece of wood blends naturally into its new surroundings.

Cleaning antique furniture can be a bit of a delicate subject, especially when talking about the 'patination' of a piece. Whilst the aesthetics of a piece of antique furniture has acquired over years of oxidization and careful handling, should be cleaned and polished with care in order to preserve the 'patination,' I advocate a slightly more exuberant approach to cleaning and re-polishing. Especially when hundreds of years of dirt and grime are disguising the fact that, hiding underneath, is some beautiful, vibrant grain. I will use a slightly scientific approach to determine the make-up of a finish before undertaking the required cleaning strategy.

Antique Furniture is very often 'French Polished,' and whilst this is very lovely finish it won't thank you if you happen to spill your gin and tonic on it. It is also very susceptible to white water marks. These water marks can usually be removed without too much difficulty, as can black ink or iron staining. I will apply traditional shellacs and wax polishes by hand, all of which are mixed in my workshop to traditional recipes

Restoration in action

At my Shilstone based workshop I have the privilege of working next door to Mannix Crowdy, an Upholster with over 40 years of experience. Originaly from London Mannix has honed his craft to an exceptional level and is able to offer a wide range of services. He is able to bring new life to tired and worn out upholstery, sourcing the best quality materials and fabrics to produce the finest level of finish. We often work together on jobs, this offers both of our customers the opportunity to receive the best, most complete and comprehensive job possible, all completed under one roof.

 

Upholstery 

  • Sofas

  • Re-springing

  • Headboards

  • Leather work

  • Buttoning

  • Bespoke upholstery work 

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Upholstery services offered by Mannix:

  • Antique furniture upholstery

  • Modern furniture upholstery

  • Upholstery/fabric repairs

  • Fitted furniture

  • Cushions

  • Chairs 

Contact 

Tel: 07981292861

Email: mannixcrowdy020@gmail.com

Instagram: @upholsterybympj

Alternatively you can use the contact section of this website to get in touch about any upholstery inquires. 

Upholstery Gallery 

Scroll through the pictures above to see the entire upholstery process on this Armchair from start to finish. 

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Restoration Gallery

Restoration and Repairs Gallery

 

A selection of pictures from a range of repair and restoration jobs.