Jacob cleaning an Antique Walnut Writing Table

Water Damage

Spillages and wet rings left by glasses should be dealt with as soon as possible. Always allow areas that have become wet to dry thoroughly, which may take up to a week, before applying clear wax.
If the wax is applied while the wood is still damp more will be absorbed on the damp patch than the surrounding area and will then darken, leaving the appearance of an ink stain. White rings left by glasses on polished wood can sometimes be removed with a little Brasso applied with a soft cloth. Always work on a small area first in order to be sure the process is not damaging the surface.


Candlewax can be lifted off in a slab when cold or can be warmed with a hot-water bottle wrapped in a clean cloth and then removed with a fingernail.

Antique French Mahogany Desk With Brass Ormalu




Sunlight and humidity, as well as central heating and pollutants in the air, can affect organic materials like wood, fabric and leather. Therefore it pays to give a little thought to the environment in which furniture is kept and to examine it from time to time to check for damage. 

Do not keep fine furniture in strong sunlight which will fade its colour. Roller sun blinds cut out rays of the sun without darkening a room, or curtains can be drawn during the day when a room is not in use.

Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can damage furniture, especially inlaid or veneered pieces. Central heating dries the air so the moisture needs replacing. Humidifiers can be readily bought, ranging from simple devices that clip on radiators to sophisticated electric models.

Even placing a bowl of water near the furniture can be of help. Damp rooms can also cause problems which can be avoided by using a dehumidifier. The ideal humidity level is around 50 to 55 per cent and this can be checked with humidity indicator cards, strips or a garden hygrometer.  

The room temperature should be kept as constant as possible, with central heating left on low at night. Rooms should be kept well aired. If, in spite of precautions, furniture starts to warp or split, do catch the problem early and contact a professional restorer immediately.

Woodworm holes in furniture
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