You could go round the shops or have a look online only to find the same mass produced furniture. That is OK, but that may not have any character or uniqueness. Alternatively, what about some older or antique pieces. Rule of thumb is that antiques are 100 years old or more. I think antique pieces bought at the right money are good value, as when you have your new furniture delivered some of the money value has gone straight away.
We started our small business by chance. I had repaired some furniture and sold it locally but that’s only a hobby, you could not live on it. We went to newark antiques fare about 10 years ago and met some dutch traders and found their furniture good, but obviously in need of a few repairs as it was being sold to the trade.Next came the rented space in an antiques centre and the coming of eBay, and it then became a good part time job. The website came on well and developed up the google rankings which made it full time business.
I just deal in antique pine furniture, here is an example of how to restore an old pine chest of drawers. You could buy a chest of drawers from the local auction for around £125. You should be able to get it stripped for about £40 pounds and then see what you have got, and with a bit of luck the carcass will be OK. If you have to start changing tops or sides, oh dear!
Probably you will need to change the feet. I sometimes make a plinth around the bottom say 1/2 inch thick which gives it strength as you fix the bottom to the sides and back. If timber has been slightly wormy this gives a good fixing for the feet. If the original carcass was made of planked timber and you get a get a split, cut a strip of timber to fit the gap and glue it in. You can sand it up and colour the new piece later.
Now put your hand on the top of the chest and rock it side to side, oh god it’s all moving around! We need to nail the back section up, top and bottom, as the back is in sections to allow it to move but the nails have may have gone to rust and need to be replaced. Drawer runners will need to be repaired, you have to square up the bottom edge and make a strip of timber and fix it to the bottom of the drawer, same with the runner on the carcass on all of the drawers. This fixes the problem of when you pull out the drawer it just drops down instead of sliding out. OK now sand it all up and replace the handles, because there is bound to be one missing. If you have locks to repair get the blank keys from a dealer and file them to suit. Only got to wax now, three coats and polish and it is done, perfect!
Another good tip is replace a missing knot by shaping down a broom handle with a knife tap it into the hole and saw off the excess flat.
Pete Burkitt- – Antique pine furniture