How long will repair/refinishing take?
Typically speaking, two to four weeks. But it depends on what’s involved. Repair-only jobs often take less time compared to those being refinished. Also, it depends on how many other jobs we are working on when your work arrives. We’ll be glad to discuss turn-around time at the outset, and if you need something for an upcoming event (e.g., in-laws visiting), be sure to let us know. You’re welcome to call and check on progress any time during the production cycle. We’ll give you an update as well as a projected day of completion.
How much will the work cost?
Each piece of furniture is different. Each problem presents its own set of challenges. We base our price estimates on how many man hours (actual time we’re working on your furniture) it will take. Since there might be many steps in the restorative process, more complicated problems will usually require more time and thus cost more than a piece requiring only modest work. However, regardless of complexity, once we’ve met with you and inspected the work, we will give you a firm price estimate. This will cover all of our in-house expenses, including labor charges.
Does it lower the value of an antique to refinish it?
Not necessarily. And there are thousands of examples.
In a syndicated news column, Ralph and Terry Kovel (The News and Observer, June 14, 2008) cited examples of 18th, 19th and 20th century furniture that had finishes more than 100 years old. “If you had a piece with…a bad finish, it would look it out of place in a (modern) home. It could be refinished and gain in value,” they said.
The Kovels cited a Gustav Stickley clock from the Arts and Crafts era that had been skinned, meaning the original finish had been scraped off and a new finish added. Even with the new finish, it sold at auction for a high price.
Authors Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rossen (“Price It Yourself” by Harper Resource) cited examples of Victorian home owners who often “freshened up” their furniture during spring cleaning leaving the original finish under one or more coats of other finish/ or worse paint. Modern-day refinishing made the piece “much more valuable—both monetarily and aesthetically, “ they said. “Even in pristine condition (something hard to maintain over the 120-year life of the table in question), the value would have been only slightly higher than in its current professionally refinished condition.” (Excerpted from the Herald-Sun, Saturday, February 10, 2007.)
Is it alright to repair a piece of furniture and not refinish it?
Of course. Maybe the finish is in fine condition. But if parts are broken or loose, they can’t heal them-selves. Fixing breaks early will keep them from getting worse.
How can I know if a piece of furniture is worth repairing or refinishing?
Furniture has different types of value. What its worth to you (e.g., because of family ties and generational associations) may be different from its worth to someone else who is making a monetary-worth-only decision. We can always tell you what it will cost to do the repair/refinishing work. You can then decide if it’s worth it to you to have it done. However, if you have a serious question about a piece’s monetary value, we can refer you to a qualified appraiser.