London Joiners Ltd. conserve or restore antique furniture and objects of art, carvings, veneer, bone and pearl inlays, gold leaf frames, musical instruments, paintings, and traditional and oriental finishes.
There is a distinction between the techniques of conservation and restoration, often a very important judgment call when assessing damages. The word and techniques of “restoration” may apply if, in the case of a tarsia incastro inlayed desk, new “old” wood is used to replace that which is missing. On the other hand, “conservation” may be best understood in the following two examples: If the original finish on an antique of virtue responds to careful cleaning and a building of worn areas using the same finish, then it is conserved, that is, saved. Only in cases where enormous damage to the finish is irreversible, is the option to “restore” decided on. Another example of “conservation” is in the approach to a missing element in, for example, a 14th century Italian carved and painted wooden statue of the Virgin. If a missing section of a crown on such were of concern to a museum or private collector, London Joiners Ltd. would suggest that a replacement for the missing piece be made from clear acrylic, a representative solution, rather than an irreversible intrusion on the original work.
There are however many instances in which restoration and/or the making of missing pieces is justified. There are countless instances of thieves taking the silver, drawers and all, from dining room sideboards and commodes. London Joiners Ltd. has made several such drawers, of old wood in period techniques, to replace that which was missing. Regarding table surfaces, it is not uncommon for dining tables or other similar surfaces to be French Polished every other generation, due to candle or heat related damage from soup tureens or other objects. The important consideration is to restore and/or re-polish in such a manner as to keep the original patina. Other considerations are discussed in the various sections of this website, or you may contact us directly.