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General Rules for Moving Antique Furniture

Crate antique_Furniture

Treat every piece with special care as if it were the most valuable piece in the shipment. Start by staying calm and move very slowly when handling valuable pieces.

Prior to moving inspect every piece to determine whether the furniture is structurally sound. Find any existing damages on each piece before the move, and create a condition report and list those damages on it.

Have a detailed plan of action. Have the entire procedure written down before actually handling the furniture. This will help you determine the trouble spots and will help you prepare to deal with them ahead of time.

Plan ahead to make sure the weather, temperature and relative humidity is acceptable for taking furniture outdoors. Cover the furniture to protect it from expected outside environment. Make sure that the new location has temperature and humidity as in the present one. As sudden changes will cause damage to antique pieces with veneers and other sensitive decoration.


- Do not allow smoking during the move. Make sure that persons handling antiques do not ware any hard or pointy articles, such as watches, belt buckles that may damage surfaces.

- Research new location and make notations of any obstacles to be taken care of before move day. Make sure the route has no obstructions, such as narrow stair cases and doorways, or fixtures extending out from the walls. Curled carpet edges, uneven floors can cause someone to trip and fall.

- When moving antiques do not hurry, use extra caution.

Each item must be approached individually, without haste, and by experienced persons. Extra man power will help with spotting and will help avoid crashing into a wall or into another piece of furniture.

- Avoid moving anything more than once.

This must apply to any kind of valuable object, and especially to furniture. By knowing precisely where the object will end up, you can avoid the danger inherent in extra movement. By planning your moves ahead of time will avoid mistakes and damages. One of the basic preparations is to disassemble all items that are large and bulky. By dismantling these, you will avoid difficult handling and possible damages during transit.

 - Experienced movers always lift furniture by placing at least one hand beneath the item.

Have a firm grip on the item with both hands. This is not the time to wear white cotton gloves. Just remember: handling metal hardware with out gloves can cause corrosion to start, so avoid metal surfaces or wipe them well after the relocation is completed.

- Never slide or drag furniture along the floor.

The vibration can loosen or break joints, wood can be chipped, legs broken and likely damages dragging may cause to the carpeting or finish on the floor. Do not lift a chair by an arm, crest rail, or lift cabinets by handles. While this may seem convenient, antiques are often overused and damaged with age.

- Secure every item with straps, pads and moving blankets.

This should be done before moving begins. Protect the surface of the furniture by securely wrapping it with blankets and pads and strapping it tightly to the hand trucks or carts. The carts which will transport the furniture must be padded with something such as thin carpeting or a blanket. This will provide extra protection against bumping and gouging. This is especially helpful if the item is going into storage.

- When moving furniture always face forward.

Walking backwards is dangerous, since you may trip and fall, which can lead to an injury and the damage that might occur to the furniture. Use a cart to move larger furniture; this will make walking backwards with the object unnecessary.

- Take not and report all damages immediately as they occur.

This information must be added to the condition report on each piece. Be sure to save all fragments from broken pieces for the restorer. Always search padding materials completely before discarding them. There is always a chance that small attachments or broken pieces may be in the wrappings.


The packing of furniture is complicated and should be done by professional movers. Unless you are a skilled carpenter, or a mover and possess proper materials, building an appropriate case is likely to be beyond your abilities. However, a discussion of the principles of good packing will help you understand and specify successful packing. Most valuable objects require a professional examination to determine the best packing method. These objects should not be used as test cases. However, because of the shipping of electronics, glassware and other fragile items, we have a wealth of guidance available for our needs.

There are three layers of protection

We recognize that most furniture and other objects require several types of protection. These may be single-purpose layers, or multi-purpose ones. Let's take a look at the function of each, and then some examples of how they perform. These layers are, from the closest to the object out:

A protective wrap Shock and vibration protection A protective shell

1. Protective Wrap

This covers a fragile surface to prevent scratches or loss of paint and other decorations. It will also keep the object clean, and in some cases, waterproof. Not all of the subsequent protective layers can touch an object directly. Some foam material has a very slick surface, and so can touch the surface. This layer is not always a soft one either. In some cases, soft material like flannel can trap dirt which abrades the surface. In the case of a soft varnish, soft cotton can actually get embedded into the surface. Some examples of protective wrap include natural and synthetic papers, plastic sheet, and cloth.

2. Shock and Vibration Protection

This layer provides protection from damaging bumps and repeated small impacts. In a sense, this layer is a cushion but also has "memory," or elasticity. Elastic memory allows the cushioning effect to occur as often as necessary. Sudden blows to this packing layer are distributed throughout, and little of the force is transferred to the packed item. The cushion material is usually a foam or rubber composition. The type and amount (usually thickness) of cushion layer depend upon the weight of the item and the type of shock anticipated. Vibration can be simply defined as small impacts, repeated at intervals and over an extended period. Vibration may seem innocent because of the small size of force involved, but it can literally shake the paint off a surface. Small cracks can spread due to prolonged vibration. Packing materials such as foams can do double duty as both shock and vibration protection.

3. Protective Shell

The outer layer of the case provides a hard, puncture resistant "wrapper." The hard case provides protection in the event of rough handling, which we must assume might occur. But the hard outer layer also allows even delicate items to be closely placed or stacked. And, as a practical matter, someone other than a museum conservator can safely move the object. Without this shell, we wouldn't dream of doing these things. It may also serve as a means to seal in a desirable environment, or slow the rate of change during travel. When a case is sealed by a gasket, the interior serves as a micro-environment for the objects inside. You can also imagine that the sealed case can serve as a barrier to prevent undesirable environmental conditions outside (heat, cold, rain) from ever reaching objects. The shell is most often made of plywood, which is very tough and easy to work with. The outside surface might be painted to provide more moisture protection. Wooden battens are used for strength, and screws are the best fasteners. Only materials approved for use near objects should be used. Creative Modification Not every packing situation calls for the same package. For example, if an object is going across town, perhaps a modification of the ideal is called for. Wrapping and padding (layers 1&2 above) can be followed by careful strapping to the vehicle (to prevent shifting). In this way, the protective shell of the vehicle becomes layer 3. You should carefully consider the needs of the object, as well as the type of move, before designing the packing case. However, there are no set solutions, and this flexibility allows us the creativity to design for each situation.

Finally, even professional packing and shipping irreplaceable antiques, there is an element of risk. A packing case designed to protect against every event would not be practical, and would be extremely expensive. But, while even the best package design is NO guarantee against damage, thoughtful design and careful handling are the best insurance that can be offered.

The crating protection of household articles can be expansive. To determine a proper protection for your articles you need to consult with our specialist. We will take to consideration the article, your budget and based on that will be able to recommend appropriate level of protection.