Unfortunately we at Molloy Restoration cannot cater for all clients. We have outlined some very simple guide lines and tips to help you choose a reliable and reputable restorer/conservator for your project.
Restoration Conservation Company
Question the following ..
Is the restorer/conservator a member of any organisations? We are members of the Design and Craft Council, the Institute of Conservator and Restorers in Ireland and we are listed on the Irish Georgian Society traditional skills registry. These organisations have strict guidelines regarding conservation restoration and quality of work ,they only allow craftspeople to join after they provide their qualifications and prove the consistent quality of their work. These organisations are inexpensive to join and the requirements are simple and straight forward for a reputable company. This question will tell you allot about a conservator/restorers back ground training and current works.
Are they a registered company trading as a furniture restoration conservation company? There is a huge difference between a finishing company and a conservation company. The conservation company will treat the piece in its entirety however the finishing company may only quote you for a coat of polish .
Are they qualified? Ensure the person working on your piece has received correct training. From a recognised third level collage or served an internship with a reputable restorer/conservator.
Workshop Address. Question the location of the workshop and check its address is listed on the websites, golden pages etc. We have seen pieces leave the country to receive works from a company advertising as Irish based.
Request accurate treatment proposal/quotation, including all charges and a maximum costing, this will prevent overcharging at the end. The treatment proposal will outline everything that has to be done to your piece and the specific materials needed, pure shellac , animal glue etc. A good restorer/conservator will openly list and document all recommended works in detail. We encourage our new clients to use our treatment proposals when pricing around, as a means to gauge the extent and quality of work companies are proposing to carry out. A cheap repair normally means cheap materials and less time dedicated to your piece.
Request estimated completion date. This can be quiet tough, some projects can run way over depending on the complexity of issues that arise, however it is possible 90% of the time and it will protect you from overcharging. Reputable restorer/conservators will give a price reduction if the piece is late.
All restoration work should carry a warranty period. If a piece has lasted 160 years without any repairs it should not need to be restored every few years. Ensure the restoration company will stand over their work for a number of years after completion. We offer up to a ten year warranty on all our work depending on the job. This is essential as polish and wax will deteriorate within weeks if applied poorly. A warranty is also a very simple way to weed out an inferior restorer. Pieces being devalued and damaged beyond repair by poor restoration is more common than any other form of severe damage we see. Cheap spurious finishes, adhesives and techniques can ruin your piece for all time.
Reviews & Testimonials
Be very wary of reviews and testimonials on companies web sites. These web sites are created by the companies. I would recommend looking for an independent source of review, independent sites, forums, Google maps review etc.
A reputable restoration/conservation company will have a number of pieces moving in and out of their workshop that they may be able show you in person. Calling to a live workshop for a visit may not be possible, but still nothing beats meeting the restorer and meeting his/her work as well. All restoration companies will have a large record of previous work. We have over 300 pieces in our online portfolio. When reviewing galleries watch out for dismantled before photos making the piece look worse than it is.
Ensure you are happy with the job before you issue final payment.
Make sure your warranty is mentioned in signed documentation.
Take your time looking over the piece when it is redelivered. I would recommend five minutes to examine the piece, damaged repairs etc, a good restorer conservator will happily point out an discuss all repairs and techniques used.
The Restorer Conservator
The finest restorer I have ever met is completely self taught, unfortunately this is not always the case. Quiet often self taught translates directly to unqualified.
Ask about qualifications, internships, education etc. Restoration and Conservation is a very complex age old profession. There is a huge difference between good and bad work. Given the previous downturn in the economy a lot of companies have started advertising furniture conservation and restoration as an additional services they provide, with little or no education and experience. Poor restoration, refinishing techniques and lack of conservation could destroy a piece for all time.