Okay I admit it. In this blog challenge I have not challenged myself to any extreme sport in the wide world of blogging. I have not committed to a series. So this morning I woke up in a bit of a “hard” mood. I decided that I would become a SERIAL Writer. The next five days, and as a result the next five posts, will be an amplified list of the top 5 offensives committed against personal property. So check-in each day and make sure your not committing any “property crimes”. Read my tips each day – your fine art, furniture, and wallet will thank me.
Number 5: Over Clean or Under Clean
… That is not the question. Both can be ugly.
While your mom or grand mom might have told you that cleanliness is next Godliness, she wasn’t talking about your wood furniture. Applying cleaners with petrol,additives, or unnatural stuff is no good. Cheap wax is also a bad choice when it comes to cleaning and caring for your furniture. Instead, clean with a nice mild wood soap and use a high quality beeswax product. See the blog post I wrote recently on my favorite wood cleaning products. (Tokyo thinks it rocks too!) On items that have a French polish you need to use a soft,dry and clean cotton cloth. Only using a mild cleaner when something gooey or sticky gets on the surface. Then quickly dry and buff the surface. A high-gloss polished surface, like a French polish surface, is extremely vulnerable to scratches, so wipe with caution and care. Remember the key is to maintain patina, condition wood, and let the natural beauty shine through. Less is always more when it comes to cleaning antique wood.
The one category, of antiques, where I find people don’t clean is fine oil paintings. These tend to get ignored, like they have been literary hung out to dry. Paintings also need cleaning from time to time. When ? Once they start to accumulate a layer dust, dirt, grime, and oil. Accumulated dirt indicates that you need to consult with a professional art conservator or restorer. So if you inherited a painting and the grass doesn’t look greener, the clouds look like a rain storm is approaching(and that is not the subject matter), or if you can’t tell if the blob in the field is a cow or a horse than you probably need to get the painting cleaned. A professional art restorer/cleaner will give you an estimate. You can always ask for references.
If you are unsure if the painting is worth cleaning. Consider the following factors: 1) What is it worth to you and your family from a sentimental, family heritage perspective ? If the answer is priceless or we would never consider selling it — then have it cleaned. 2) If it is just decorative and you unsure if the value warrants the price of a cleaning then consult with a fine art appraiser, like the author.
However, for routine cleaning on a painting with NO surface loss or surface bubbling(bits of paint bubbling,flaking, lifting, or losing adhesion to the canvas) you can use a dry clean cloth and a fluffy camel hair brush. Gentle is the key here. GO slow – this is the time to inspect for any damage. Buckling, lining coming off. Pressure from stretcher, drying, cracking. The key is to detect and discuss with a professional before the condition is costly to repair or detrimental to the work. Tip 1: Always make sure that restorers use products that allow their work to be “reversible”. Tip 2: Only use the fluffy camel brush on your artwork, no grabbing it for mineral makeup or creating your own work of art.
Take care of your antiques and fine art and you and your family will experience enjoyment for years and generations to come.
Hint for tomorrow: Trash or Treasure ?
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