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Antique Restoration Education and Training Program Overviews

Formal education and training in antique restoration is rare; however, there are various ways to become trained in the technical aspects of antique restoration. The most relevant training programs associated with antique restoration are woodworking and furniture restoration. Studying furniture restoration and finishing may open a career path in antique restoration.

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Furniture Restoration and Finishing Training

Furniture restoration training teaches woodworking and finishing techniques for the restoration of wooden antique items. The art of refinishing aims to restore each item to its original quality without sacrificing its historical value. Because antique restoration often involves fixing and refinishing antique items, learning traditional building and refinishing skills can create an understanding of how old furniture was built and how to optimally restore it. Furniture restoration training courses may be hard to find in the United States; however, woodworking and carpentry classes are more common.

Program Coursework

Students engage in hands-on workshop training learn repair and finishing methods, such as removing, applying and reapplying stains and finishing oils. Students may also learn how to properly handle and care for antique wooden items and make small repairs. Possible topics of study include:

  • Wood finishing techniques
  • Antique furniture conservation
  • Spot repair
  • Woodworking
  • Furniture making

Career Options and Information

Antique restorers often have other occupations and lend extra time to restoring antiques. For example, woodworkers may restore and conserve antique wood cabinets or chairs, auto mechanics may restore antique cars and fine artists may work to conserve vintage paintings. Possible careers and occupations in antique restoration include:

  • Woodworker specializing in furniture finishing
  • Antique restoration specialist
  • Art conservationist
  • Classic car auto mechanic
  • Historic preservationist

Continuing Education

Classes focusing on antique restoration may be offered as electives within a degree program, such as interior design, historic preservation, art history and fine arts. Private sector classes and apprenticeships in antique restoration may also be sought; however, such specialized training is rare in the United States. These classes may focus on restoring specific antique objects, such as antique clocks.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported annual median salaries of $28,500 for furniture finishers, who often work with antiques, and $38,220 for museum technicians and curators, who might restore art, textiles and artifacts. The BLS predicted slow employment growth in both fields, at 6% for furniture finishers and 7% for museum technicians and curators, from 2010-2020.

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