How to restore and conserve your antique furniture

With antique furniture we value authenticity and that's what we deliver every time. So with each job we take a sympathetic approach to restoring and conserving; ultimately bringing items back to life.


Here we answer some commonly asked questions:


Firstly, restoration or conservation?

Repairing a Charles I Press CupboardThis can be a prickly subject amongst antique furniture restorers and French polishers alike! Here at Bayleys we believe there is a line to be drawn:

We wouldn't ever want to strip away what gives an antique its unique look and feel - the character and patina it gathers over the years. But what we do value is giving our customers options, depending on how you plan to use furniture in the future.

• Conserving the original condition - You might simply want us to touch-up scratches and retain the original finish, in which case we would use conservation techniques and traditional materials. These are designed to keep your item as close to its original condition as possible for as long as possible

• Restorations fit for modern living - We appreciate you may want to restore furniture to withstand the wear and tear of modern living. What we find is that antique furniture often needs to be strengthened, repaired and refinished to cope with modern life. In doing so we would use restoration techniques designed to sensitively refinish antiques.

You may also want replacement parts and veneers, in which case we'd sympathetically select appropriate species and period timber from our stores to restore your item. We can make replacement parts if a piece of furniture is badly damaged.


Veneering table top

How can I repair my antique furniture veneers?

We use traditional hot animal glue when repairing antiques, and employ the use of a veneer hammer when repairing or relaying veneers, to ensure the glue is spread evenly and any excess glue and air pockets are squeezed out. The process itself is centuries old, possibly dating back to Egyptian times.


Where can I source period timber, veneers and replacement parts?

We have a large store of period timber and veneers that we have salvaged from broken furniture over the years, plus a large selection of wood veneers. All of which enables us to find and use the closest match possible when repairing components and veneered surfaces on period items of furniture.

The veneers we stock include flame mahogany, Brazilian mahogany, rosewood, teak, oak, walnut and beech. We can also source most other species from a South West-based veneer merchant.

If components are too badly damaged, or are even missing, we are able to reproduce accurate components. We will often use our extensive reference library to source the correct period designs or styles to those originally used.


French polished roll-top deskHow can I achieve traditional wood finishes?

We are skilled in the application of numerous traditional finishes, all of which were used prior to the invention of French polish (first introduced from the early 19th Century onwards). These include French polish, oil and wax finishes. Read more about our variety of wood finishes


Do you use French polish?

We do use the technique of French polishing by applying shellac resin to wood to revive original surfaces and sensitively refinish wood in order to enhance and restore all types
of antiques. Read a fuller description of our French polishing service


For more information

Click here to see recent examples of antique furniture restoration

Call us on 01392 876888, email:

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Bayleys Furnisture Restoration Ltd is registered in England & Wales with Company No.7464446                             Registered office: Woodbury House, Green Lane, Exton, Exeter EX3 0PW