When it comes to the restoration of furniture, whether this is antique or modern, our studio experts provide the highest level of care and attention to detail. For many, this is a lifelong passion which means that every piece is treated with the same consideration and enthusiasm as the last.
In our Carlisle studio we have a professional furniture restoration team, including Dean who practices traditional techniques and treatments. Dean works with as much authenticity as possible, with a desire for the finished restoration to be in-keeping with historic accuracy and design – this means he also uses the same glues, materials and techniques which have been in practice for centuries. Where a piece is missing or requires a replacement, Dean is able to salvage a matching part which is as close to the original era and style as possible.
Above: our furniture expert Dean applying traditional wax to a piece of antique furniture
We spoke to Dean as he worked on an antique desk which required new herringbone veneer details. He carefully matched the width, grain, and pattern against the original period pieces as we asked him about his restoration work.
How long have you been working with furniture?
35 years. My step dad owned an antique shop where I helped out and learned about the different types of wood and eras of furniture, that really sparked my interest in it as a career. I also picked up the skill of finishing wooden surfaces with handmade French polish, a specialist technique which is popular for a lot of the Victorian furniture I come across.
Above: Dean working on a small table in our studio which required new stringing details
I joined a youth training scheme and completed a City and Guilds furniture course in Shrewsbury. I have my own workshop and I have freelanced before coming to Fine Art Restoration Company. Over the years I have seen the full spectrum of the furniture industry, as I have also been a lumberjack at a saw mill – knowing the source of the wood and the techniques used to cut and treat it really helps me in the restoration process.
What has been your favourite restoration project?
I enjoy working with anything which is a good quality period piece, my favourite at Fine Art Restoration Company has been the mahogany extender table which dates to William IV – this is a precise era in history which has a very specific neoclassical style to the legs. I really enjoyed the French polish treatment on this table, as the shine was brilliant and smooth, I also used shellac to return the original finish to the legs.
Above: the William IV extender table in our studio – before and after restoration work and french polish application by Dean
My favourite treatment is always the veneer work, this takes a long time because it is so precise when you’re matching the woodgrain and angles. The end result feels like a great achievement, as you have put real craftsmanship and care into bringing back the original design.
Above: Dean creating and applying new herringbone veneer details in our studio
What has been your best restoration discovery?
I worked on restoring a 17th century cabinet, it had multiple drawers and a great hidden compartment. I love it when I find a hidden drawer which hasn’t been opened by anyone for hundreds of years – you get to find out what’s inside. I often find old newspapers and bills. I hope one day I’ll find something amazing like gold doubloons.
Above: the restoration of a broken corner veneer completed by Dean in our studio, including the colour-matching of traditional varnish
What is the best thing about your job?
The completed project, nothing makes me happier than seeing the full before and after pictures after hours of hard work. I really love the precise woodwork which goes into the veneer restoration and the use of traditional materials. I’ve used the same pot for my bone hide glue for 10 years, you can really see the years of use on it. Making that glue really connects me with history because it has been used as far back as ancient Egypt and I am continuing a traditional way of craftsmanship and restoration.
Above: a selection of the specialist tools used by Dean during traditional furniture restoration
Get in touch with our team
If you have damaged furniture in need of repair and traditional restoration, please contact our helpful team for advice. Dean would love to work on your wooden antiques to achieve a historically accurate and expert finish.
To make contact please email us via [email protected] or call 0207 112 7576