Learning learning learning
A wonderful aspect of furniture restoration is that every day brings a new learning experience. Hidden inside an old piece – whether a chair, a table, a picture frame, or child's rocking horse – is a world of new information. Each piece tells a story of a period, of the tools and techniques used at the time to work the wood. The instruments and approaches differed from country to country, region to region, even from cabinetmaker to cabinetmaker, and "new" technologies and materials developed over time. Their journey around the globe teaches us not only about the history of wood working; it also informs us about the cultural and commercial ties between nations and peoples throughout history.
Furniture restoration learning
One of those developments has been the evolution in finishing materials over the past few centuries. This Autumn I will be joining the Stichting Ebenist group in Amsterdam for a symposium on Furniture Finishes - Past, Present and Future of Transparent Wood Coatings. Furniture restorers from all over the world come together at these annual events to learn and share information from their experience, knowledge and research.
I have been attending these symposiums for the past 6 years. It is an incredibly enriching experience. Sometimes there is a hands-on master class for professionals, like the one I participated in in 2010 on restoring joints and conserving structures. I wrote an article in Hebrew about that workshop. Take a moment to check out the subjects dealt with in previous symposiums, and look for the write-up of my experiences with this year's event.