Learn To Move
The Encyclopedia of Moving

How-to-Move
Antiques

You can find various bins and cabinets at hardware stores. Schaefer Systems International bins and filing cabinets are reliable and high quality.


 

DIY Antiques Moving

 

When DIY moving antiques (which are very frequently quite irreplaceable), all kinds of extra care has to be taken to ensure that they cannot be damaged in any way during their relocation. So it's very important that your movers know exactly how-to move antiques of all kinds. If they don't know the best ways to move antiques, costly and extremely upsetting damages are sure to occur.

Notice the size and quality of the exquisite antique below. Such a piece should only be moved by highly experienced movers, not by amateurs trying to do DIY antique moving. But if circumstances are such thatinexperienced people must be used to move such a piece you would want to have at least 4 - 5 people handling it. They would need to pad it up really well to protect it and then move it slowly and carefully just a little at a time.

Any damages whatsoever to any antique, especially one like this can diminish its value considerably, even though the damage may be perfectly repaired. Damage to an antiques patina brings automatic huge loss of value, so the movers always want to only use great care and best moving techniques for antiques moving.

When moving an antique like this fine 3 piece unit always use plenty of extra protection on each piece
such as bubblewrap, thin foam wrap (called dolphin foam), cardboard, shrink wrap and extra mover's blankets.
When doing any antique moving also always take your time and move it safely, not quickly.

Normally the easiest way for a mover to handle any furniture piece seems to be to move it when it's not padded because then it appears to be easiest to grip. However, when it's being carried unpadded, it's very susceptible to unwanted scratches, rubs, bruises, gouges, etc. etc. etc. So we highly recommend that all furniture pieces, especially antique pieces be thoroughly and securely padded and / or covered with some or all of the above mentioned materials before they are moved. If the padding is well tightened to the antique piece with tape as is shown below, it will actually be easier to carry it than if it is unpadded because when it's completely padded the mover
can get a better grip on the padding around it than on the wood.

moving padded armoire

Padding on antique furniture pieces with legs should start with top padding and then be draped with more pads down beyond the bottom in order to leave enough padding to be taped around the legs. Go to how-to-move-a-buffet or how-to-move-a-china-cabinet to see excellent pictorial examples of this technique.

Proper padding on furniture pieces that don't have legs but are flat to the ground should start with bottom pads in order to protect the bottom and all bottom edges. Then drape more pads down from the top of the piece and secure them with tape to the lifted sides of the bottom pad(s). For an pictorial of this kind of padding go to how-to-move-an-armoire.

The secret to getting a good grip on a covered piece is to be very sure that all the pads are tightly and carefully secured with enough tape so that they won't break loose. This is pictured in the move of the large antique wardrobe shown below.

When preparing an antique for moving with any of these various coverings use mover's plastic tape to secure the coverings to the piece. Always be very careful not to allow the sticky side of the tape to touch the finish of the piece. The stickum should only touch the pads or the other tape windings so as to not leave difficult to remove tape residue on the antique's finish.

Neatly and fully pad each antique piece as is being done in the above picture so that there is a minimal chance of scratching or bruising it. Remember, it's better to be safe than sorry - so really pad it and tape it up well!

Notice the extent of the padding and cardboarding on the large antique armoire pictured below
which is about to be hoisted thru an upstairs bedroom window.

This extra care is needed because it will have to be slid into the upstairs room thru the window and without the pads to absorb the scraping it would be damaged in the process. Notice on the armoire's right side the extra layer of cardboard. This is needed to protect that side on which it will be slid up the ladder. Some antiques are just too delicate to be heavily padded like this one has been. In that case just pad what you can and then be very, very careful when moving them!

Some antiques will have small wooden casters that can easily be broken or can come off and be lost. If possible remove the casters and save them until the piece has been brought to its new location and then put them back on. Otherwise wrap paper or foam wrap around each caster and tape it to the padding that extends down to its leg so that it doesn't fall off and get lost during the move. If a piece has claw feet also do the same to them. Some antique casters and claw feet are irreplaceable so be extremely careful not to break or lose them!

Never push or pull an antique on its pads because antiques are delicate from age and some part of the piece could be broken inside of the pads. Always lift and carry or dolly an antique, never slide it around. Antique furniture casters and antique furniture claw feet can break when slid around. Even inside of pads sliding pressure can break them!

You may have an antique with glass in its doors or adorning it in some fashion. In this case, after padding the piece, cut some cardboard and tape it securely over the place on the pads where the glass is right underneath as shown in the pictures above and below.

In some cases you might even put bubble wrap under the cardboard or between the pad and the cardboard first, for extra cushioning protection. Also some antiques have carvings all over them that can be chipped or knocked loose so in that case wrap the whole piece with bubble wrap, then pads, then cardboard. Then have the same movers that padded it always be the only ones to carry or dolly it because they are most familiar with what is under the pads.

Sometimes a smaller antique's legs are just too weak to endure the bounce pressures of a truck ride. In that case it has to be transported upside down on top of the the load to cushion it. But then some of these smaller antiques can have a crown that juts above the flat top surface of the piece. Here double padding has to be built up inside the crown, much higher than the crown so that when it's set upside down it will keep the crown from breaking on another piece as the pads compress.

Whenever it makes the most sense to take a piece apart, carefully mark each piece for reassembly later. Also carefully save the antique hardware since it's always irreplaceable. Wrap the hardware in a piece of paper and secure it inside the paper by covering it with tape and then tape the bundle to the inside or bottom of the piece. Or save the antiques hardware in a small ziplock bag and put it in a safe place, like your car's glove compartment.

In many cases however, dissassembly is not feasible because old bolts might be stripped or it's just too delicate or it will affect its patina. Then, be very, very careful when you are moving it because the nature of all antique pieces is that they are fragile from their age.

When you become a member we can show you a lot of good antique moving technique involving lifting and carrying.

 

 

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