Antiques (Part 1)

Restoring Value ( Part 1)

Historical, Sentimental, Monetary

By Andrea Daley

Restore, refurbish, conserve, preserve, reconstitute, mend, renovate, overhaul, reinstate, re-establish, touch up, repair, rebuild, recondition, reconstruct, revise, etc.

Can a physical item be restored; does the word restorer define what we do? Think about it! What are we restoring? It can only be the item’s value!

Once a finish has decayed or succumbed to dry rot, infestation, degradation, or physical damage, nothing can be done to restore what is gone. But………….to replace the part, or to consolidate the finish will restore its value! Within the context of the word “restore” lays confusion; again, what has deteriorated is gone forever!

Once this fact is recognized and accepted, then, and only then can restoring take on its true meaning! All that is really being performed is restoring value, not the item itself. History cannot be restored! All that can be done is to simulate, replace, or consolidate; it is impossible to restore!

To restore an item’s value can be accomplished in two ways: 1. Aesthetic Value, (appearance and stability) or 2. Preservation Value, (Conservation). Therefore, before any restoration can begin it needs to be placed in either of these two categories. The OBJECTIVE needs to be established; is it to have its aesthetic value restored or is it to have its preservation value restored?

Aesthetic Value: This is when the primary objective is to make the item in compliance with the owner’s aesthetic value of how the item is to look to the eye along with being made functional (to be able to be used). This takes into consideration, the color, the structure, coating and its sheen. It is only prudent for the restorer who chooses this option to use reversible materials and methods so in the future a preservation choice can be an option. For example if products such as cyanoacrylate adhesives (“Hot Stuff”, instant glues”) are used, then the question is asked “what is the reversibility?’ If the finish is completely removed, how much of the patina goes with it? The artistic craftsman needs to be able to recreate the look before the final finish is applied while keeping the finish as close to the original to maintain its monetary value.

The restorer needs to choose to do as little disturbance to the original condition and only uses supplies that are reversible. If this is observed along with a treatment report (documentation of the process and the products used) then there are no other boundaries that will restrict their choice of restoration. There are many roads that lead to the same end. What the client is willing to pay will give the direction of methods and products used.