To Refinish Furniture or Not?
Why the Double Standard?
Why is it a sin to remove the old damaged finish from a chair yet not the old paint from a rusted car?
Why do reupholstered car seats add value but reupholstered chair seats destroy value?
Why is it okay to replace the tires on a car but not the rockers on a rocker?
So why is it that furniture is being valued differently?
Why is there a double standard when it comes to furniture?
As refinishers, we do have a voice in this issue and we need to use it. We need to educate the public through our customers that there should be no double standard when it comes to valuing antiques--that what’s good for the Model A should be just as good for the pie safe. We need to turn the current trend back to the way it used to be, when restoration added value to antique furniture!
For clarification, we are not talking about a specific truely museum-quality antique furniture item that has been protected in its pristine condition and has become highly valuable and collectible. We are talking about fine old furniture items that are probably family keepsakes.
A 1930 Model a Ford has just been discovered in a little old lady’s garage. Its tires are flat and won’t hold air; its battery is dead and won’t take a charge; its leather seats are dried, cracked and break when touched; its paint is dull and worn through on the tops of the fenders; and its running boards are rusty. Basically, this old Model A is in original condition, but it has little value.
Same car three years later and totally restored: It’s now in showroom condition, just as it came from the factory. The car was disassembled, its upholstery gutted, paint stripped, rust sandblasted, engine overhauled, brakes rebuilt; it was newly painted, newly upholstered and was given new tires, new wiring, a new battery--you name it. The only thing still original about this car is the steel from which it was made. The value now skyrockets.
Now take the same model, same year, same style of car found in a similar state of originality: this owner elects to disassemble, strip and gut it and then toss the fenders and hood, chop the top, lower the body, put in on a newer car fame, replace the engine with a full-blown, super-charged Shelby Ford, replace the tires with 16-inch drag slicks and paint the car bright yellow with red flames decorating the sides. He also adds air conditioning, power windows stereo and automatic transmission and, because the door handles have been removed, remote door openers. One touch of the key fob and the door opens. Push another button and red neons light up the underneath of the car as if it is glowing on flames. Wow! What a change! In the hot-rod market, its value can be even greater than that of the fully restored car.
This scenario can be applied to almost any antique. Paintings can be cleaned and restored. Boats can be rebuilt, aircraft restored, buildings abated of their original lead paint and restored--all with one thing in common: The value is increased through refinishing and restoration.
Our thanks to David White of Restorco in Vincennes, whose letter to the editor was published in the April 2001 issue of Professional Refinishing magazine.
The entire website/s of www.TheWoodWorksInc.com and www.TheWWs.com and www.TheMovingClaims.com are copyrighted and should not be used by others in the trade in any form without explicit written permission.