October 2011

In the Studio: Furniture Condition Checklist

We've expanded!
See details below


Recent Treatments:
A 19c English painted console table

A pair of Jansen campaign chairs

A carved red urushi elephant

An Anglo-Indian circular ivory games table

Principal & Senior Conservator
Yuri Yanchyshyn

In the Studio:
Furniture Condition Checklist
Philip Johnson Brick House interior, see details below

The beginning of autumn is a good time examine your furniture collection for early signs of wear, and to prepare for the upcoming entertaining and holiday season. The following short checklist can assist you:

Ten Furniture Items to Check
1. Structural stability. Are all the joints stable? Is the furniture still usable?
2. Surface stability. Are the veneers and all decorative elements tightly adhered?
3. Warping. Have any sections of the furniture warped, possibly the drawers?
4. Metal hardware. Is all the hardware present, does it show any corrosion?
5. Coating integrity. Do you see any blistering of the clear or painted coatings? Is the gilding intact or is it flaking?
6. Water damage. Are any white rings or water stains present on the surface?
7. Dents, nicks and scratches. Do they detract significantly from the appearance of the furniture?
8. Previous restorations. Have any previous restorations discolored? Are they obtrusive or noticeable?
9. Biological damage. Are any insect holes present, especially on furniture legs? Do you see any sign of mold or mildew?
10. Sunlight bleaching. Do any furniture sections look lighter than others?
Conservation Issues
Preventive conservation will go a long way in promoting the longevity of your collection. One important aspect of this is approach is to maintain a stable relative humidity level in your collection environment. If you reside in the northern climates, the beginning of autumn is also a good time to check if your humidifiers are in good working condition, since the heating season typically starts in October. An essential tool in this respect is an accurate humidity gauge, which should read between 40 to 50% relative humidity throughout the winter months for general collections.

A Conservator's Ethic
Conservation and sustainability are related concepts – and they are becoming more closely intertwined all the time. By conserving items from the past, we slow our consumption of natural resources and safeguard them for future generations. For many years, the field of conservation has sought "greener" approaches to treatments and more energy-efficient ways to regulate indoor climates. Our perpetual quest for reversible techniques also leads us in the direction of being responsible stewards of the world’s treasures, both natural and manmade.
We help our clients plan for the long-term preservation of their furniture and objects so they can be enjoyed for years to come. The conservators at Period Furniture Conservation would be pleased to examine any historic furniture objects in your collection to review condition and explore treatment options.


The Brick House Restoration Project at the Philip Johnson Glass House: In 2009 Period Furniture Conservation was chosen to be part of a team working under the guidance of Li/Saltzman Architects to conserve and restore The Brick House, a National Historic Landmark, administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Period Furniture Conservation is responsible for the preservation and conservation of the furniture and objects. See details of the restoration progress and join in the fundraising efforts at

Photograph by Dean Kaufman, 2007; Courtesy of the Philip Johnson Glass House, National Trust for Historic Preservation.
We've expanded! Period Furniture Conservation has recently expanded to a larger studio located in Long Island City's Standard Motor Products Building. Originally constructed in 1919, the building features high ceilings, large windows and spacious freight elevators. In recent years its owners have made a commitment to sustainable building and have incorporated many green features. Our fellow tenants are primarily companies in the arts, media and technology. Two doors down from the studio, The Jim Henson Foundation (of Muppets fame) has its offices, while the roof is home to The Brooklyn Grange, a 43,000 square foot organic rooftop farm – and New York City’s largest green rooftop. You are welcome to visit our new location; it’s just a 20 minute ride on the R train from Midtown.
Our new address appears below; our telephone number is unchanged.

Period Furniture Conservation, LLC
37-18 Northern Boulevard Suite 407
Long Island City, NY 11101
telephone 212 255 7426
fax 212 208 4520
email yuri@periodfurnitureconservation.com
website http://periodfurnitureconservation.com

Furniture Conservator Yuri Yanchyshyn has worked with wooden objects for over 25 years, from a cabinet-maker's shop to the laboratories of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Private collectors, museums, architects and designers have all entrusted precious items from the 14th through the 20th centuries to Yuri's care, and institutions such as the Conservation Center at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts invite him to lecture. Yuri holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the California Institute of the Arts and received advanced training from the Amsterdam Academy for Restoration and the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education.
© 2011-2012 Period Furniture Conservation LLC. All rights reserved..
Yuri Yanchyshyn