Caring for Antiques

Part of the delight of antique furniture lies in the fact that it is passed down from one generation to the next. Because we only choose unique antique pieces of the best quality, with the right care, you can easily ensure that your antique furniture can further last for generations, providing you and your family with enjoyment.

Here are a few tips to ensure your antique furniture’s longevity:

  • Furniture should be dusted frequently to avoid dust build up. For daily cleaning, use a soft cloth that will not harm or scratch the surface of your furniture. Never use chemicals to clean your antiques; they can damage the finish. Occasionally you may apply a non-wax furniture polish (using a piece of damp cloth)  to the furniture to rejuvenate its freshness.
  • Once, twice a year, wax with a good quality paste wax that can be found in any hardware store. Proper waxing will bring up the color and grain of the wood and keep the wood from drying out. Rub a small amount on a soft cloth and apply it in circular motions to open surfaces. For detail work such as carving, a tooth brush can be used to get into nooks and crannies. Once you apply the wax, let it set for 10 to 15 minutes. A good hair shoe brush helps to work in the wax evenly across the surface. Finally, a vigorous buff with a soft cloth rag or fleece mitt burnishes the surface to a warm glow. Wax is also a very forgiving finish. It is great for "touch up" of minor surface scratches or abrasions.
  • Make sure to keep your furniture leveled as an uneven ground will create pressure points.
  • Proper protection includes where you put your antique. Is it in a place where people will knock into it frequently? Is it in direct sunlight? These situations put your antique at risk of damage. Putting your antique somewhere you can enjoy it as well as keep it away from high traffic areas is preferable.
  • Because wood is a natural product, it is sensitive to potential changes in temperature and humidity. Try to maintain the humidity in your home at a constant level.

Relocation to a drier climate than Singapore
There is no need to worry as wood is a natural product that can “live” in many climates. Antique colonial furniture from India has found its way to homes all over the world. All you have to do is to take some precautions to make sure that your furniture acclimatizes to your new home’s humidity and/or (central) heating.

What will happen is that part of the water contained in the wood will evaporate. It is important that this happens gradually, otherwise the wood might crack. The best thing would be to use humidifiers and over a period of around 4 months slowly adjust (decrease) the humidity level to the level where a humidifier is no longer needed.

Another option might be that you place a bowl (or bowls) filled with water underneath, next to or inside your antique piece. The evaporating water from these bowls will make sure that the humidity level of your furniture will decrease more gradually.

Leave your furniture thus to settle for around 4 months. In some cases you may still notice some shrinkage around the edges of the panels. It is perfectly normal for wood to contract and expand a little with temperature changes. A good polisher can then come and touch up the lines around the edge of each panel to cover the shrinkage marks. Once it has been polished out it should never occur again.