With so many types of antiques and collectibles ripe for discovery and preservation, keeping track of how to restore each item can be a challenge. Keep a set of these antique restoration tools handy, so you won’t waste time hunting for supplies when you want to clean and restore your next big find. This excerpt is taken from Tips, Tools, and Techniques (University of North Texas Press, 2012).
Antique restoration tools to keep on hand
• Acid-free paper and boxes (available from craft stores and library and museum suppliers). Protects photographs, prints, and textiles.
• Black light. A device that emits ultraviolet radiation (UV) light and can detect cracks in pottery and glue repairs in paper items.
• Brushes. Soft-bristled baby brushes (try saying that quickly!) are great for cleaning the delicate fabric on lampshades. Makeup brushes are great for cleaning Christmas ornaments and dusting delicate items with crevices.
• Chalk. Prevents silver from tarnishing.
• Chamois. Great for polishing mirrors and glassware, but the cloth will dry stiff as a board. To keep chamois soft, dry them quickly outside in the wind or in front of a fan, or in the dryer on air-dry. They will remain soft and pliable.
• Covered telephone wire. For mounting buttons onto display cards.
• Crayons. Use a color that matches the finish of the wood to hide scratches on furniture.
• Twist ties. Keep sets of cufflinks together.
• Glare-free glass (available from craft stores or frame shops). Protects photographs and prints from fading.
• Monofilament. Use as picture hanging wire for small, lighter-weight pictures.
• Mothballs. Place in silverware drawer or chest to prevent discoloration of silver.
• Mounting corners (clear). Use to mount photographs, trade cards, and advertising cards.
• Pipecleaners. Use with silver polish to clean between fork tines.
• Q-Tips. For cleaning any hard-to-reach crevices.
• Socks. Before moving a piece of heavy furniture, slip socks onto the legs. Also good protective storage covers for small breakables.
• String. Use with silver polish to clean between fork tines.
• Superglue. Repair glass and costume jewelry.
• Toothbrushes (soft). Use for any small hard-to-get-to crevices. Use with silver polish to remove tarnish from filigreed pieces or with furniture polish to remove dust on carved wood.
• Toothpaste (white paste). Cover a stain or scratch on acrylic or plastic with toothpaste. Let dry, then rub with soft cloth. Or as a quickie silver cleaner.
• Toothpicks. As a glue applicator.
More on antique preservation
Learn more about how to take care of your collectibles from Tips, Tools, and Techniques in the following articles.
This excerpt from Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Care for Antiques, Collectibles, and Other Treasures has been reprinted by permission from University of North Texas Press.