To perform furniture restoration, it is essential to have a strong experience in traditional cabinet making. How to remake a Louis XV foot if one is not able to do it in new? How to remake a marquetry in tortoiseshell, copper, ivory, pewter, if one never used a marquetry saw? How can a Louis XVI drawer be rebuilt if one is not capable of accurately executing dovetails and perfectly flush, during assembly, the sides on the ends of the façade, and this, without having to use card scrapper wich would irreparably destroy the patina of the old wood used?
Be convinced that no theory, no matter how thorough, will be enough to train a restorer, unless he adds a long practice. We can adopt what Germain Bazin, curator of the paintings department at the Louvre, said of his speciality: « I think that the restorer’s art involves technical and theoretical instruction, but also a considerable and essential part of learning in a workshop. This apprenticeship must last for many years. This trade cannot therefore be taught by a school. A school diploma could be dangerous by encouraging the public to talk to people who have had theoretical training and not enough practice. »
The elements of practice that can be acquired in a school should only be considered as bases, allowing the applicant to enter with a minimum of experience in a workshop. We must be convinced that if we undertake serious restoration alone and without advice without adequate training or experience in antique furniture, we run the risk of disaster by depreciating the furniture or valuable object entrusted to our care.
We saw a client sue a cabinetmaker for the depreciation of furniture that had been unconsciously, but obviously, mistreated and mistreated! It is difficult to refuse an occasional restoration to a customer for whom one makes new. However, we recommend that non-specialized cabinetmakers accept only superficial maintenance on valuable furniture; a few gluing, light cleaning, polishing… They will already do a good job of conservation without risking damaging their reputation. F. Germond L’ébèniste restaurateur