What is a PATINA?

What is furniture patina? A well maintained finished wood can age gracefully. Wood patina is the wear of the finish being tarnished from use, and exposure to the elements. When this happens over time the finish starts to tell its own story and it’s an extraordinary one.

Aging from Use

Many things can happen over time to wood finishes. Over time these things leave their mark on the surface creating a story.

  • Age alone, types of finishes can deepen or yellow over time.
  • Texture and feel, a finish can become very smooth soft or even oily (from body oils).
  • Chemicals, cleaning products, polishes, waxes can contribute to a finishes patina.
  • Dust, dirt and grime.

Aging from Elements

Even the atmosphere the finish is in can contribute to the patina. From placement in a house to how the house was heated. Many of these things can help create the story of the patina.

  • Wood burning fire places
  • Sunlight
Wood patina

These are things you cannot duplicate quickly. Although some have tried and there are techniques to create some of the aging process. Professionals look for these clues to help identify antique furniture along with many others. Other clues are construction, materials used, styles and markings to names a few. You can read more on how to identify furniture for value here. I would suggest you should get anything professionally appraised if you do think you have something of value. You just might want to keep the integrity of the piece.

Learn more about antique and antique furniture here. This is a book I have but there are many other books out there. Some explain wood finishes and some are more focused on specific furniture origins and styles.

Do you have something with a beautiful patina, have you ever thought about its life time?


Tara Lou

Tara Lou

Mama, wife, furniture connoisseur, small business owner, nature-lover, homebody, hunter.

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