How to start up an antiques restoration business.

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If you are good with hand tools then you can do something amazing, and start a career in furniture restoration.
It's really just a matter of common sense.  You put back what's missing or damaged. YES I KNOW WHAT YOU MIGHT BE SAYING!  'I don't have the skill'. Poor excuse!
 There are plenty of courses around and the famous one at East Dene in West Sussex is just one of the many available. There are other weekend courses which are available on the web.
  I have been a restorer for 51 years and admittedly I came from a background of Antiques, as my father was a dealer and restorer. Obviously I had a head start and was able to be become quite good by the time I had reached 18 years.  Never-the-less, it is quite possible to learn as you go along.
 The secret is not taking on anything which is beyond your capabilities. Just keep to small stuff to start with and you will soon learn about how to make a good job.
Actually, everything you do on say, a tea caddy, will be the same as on a chest of drawers, except that the chest of drawers is a bigger scale and you need more room for it.  There is absolutely no difference in comparing the two. The whole operation is the same.
MY ONE PRICELESS PIECE OF ADVICE IS THIS.....Make friends with your local antiques dealer.  If you do this he will not only be  a source of information, but if you nurture your business relationship with him, you will find he will be helpful in locating clients and help you find stuff like second hand tools,wood samples,and busted furniture that you can buy off him for peanuts.
You will need old veneers and these are only available by buying an old chest of drawers and knocking it carefully apart. You then leave all the parts out in the open for the rain to 'attack' the glue. after a few days the veneers will peel off and you have a nice example of say,mahogany veneers. you can do this too with an old oak coffer too.....just to get the old oak out of it.
DON'T GO RUINING A PRICELESS ANTIQUE though! It is still possible to canabalize a 'beat-up' piece, which can usually be found at junk auctions.
A supply of old timber is the only possible PROBLEM in starting this kind of business and  if you follow the guidelines here you will only need to destroy one or two pieces to get the timber you need. Other than that, there are veneer specialists where the supply is abundant. Double knife cut and single knife cut refers to the thickness and depending on the work you are carrying out you will need to choose appropiately.
Save any fittings you come across, like hinges and knobs. Go to car boots and buy anything that's old and antique. They usually have boxes under their tables with loads of junk in them. This is  a rich source of 'nickie nackie' fittings and stuff. Boxes of old fashioned slotted screws are no longer available and the only place to find them is on the second hand market. Buy them! Small sizes are like gold-dust.
Make sure you legislate for SPACE in your workshop for materials and bottles of 'potions'. If you are on an industrial site the law requires you to have inflammable liquids stored in a metal cupboard. it will not matter if you have your workplace at home, but you should always take the necessary steps to avoid fire risk.
French polishing is a pre-requisite for the restorer and if you cannot do this then give up now or go and get some training. its not that difficult, but you need experience in how to match and colour-in, which is an art form in itself. I could teach you how to french polish in about five minutes. What I could not teach you is the hundred and one things that can go wrong.This will take you about 5 years of experience in working on a great variety of furniture. BUT as I have said above, you start with small things and work up to the larger pieces.

To BUY THE cd about how to start this kind of craft business then go directly to THE EBAY link under HOW TO RUN AN ANTIQUES RESTORATION BUSINESS IN THE UK.
The disc has been especially written be me. I have been restoring for 51 years and the info on this disc will save you time and a lot of money. Wonderful stuff! on the CD, and a beautiful stress free working life restoring and preserving out furniture heritage.
Regards ...q-up
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