Tri-State Antique Center

47 W. Pike, Canonsburg, PA 15317
 Phone: (724) 745-9116
Fax: (412) 291-1367


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We constantly get email with the same questions over and over again.  So we are going to attempt to answer the most Frequently Asked Questions on this page.   If you have a pertinent question that you would like to see added here, simply email us.

1.   How do we use your LayAway plan?  When we put our order through on your Shopping Cart, it does not say anything about LayAway and the full price of the item is charged to our credit card .... Answer
2.   We would like to refinish our Heywood-Wakefield furniture ourselves.  What stains do you recommend and could you explain the refinishing process to novices?  Answer
3.   Is the value of the furniture lessened by being refinished?  Answer
4.   We are looking for a specific piece of Heywood-Wakefield furniture.  Do you keep a wish list for people?  Answer
5.   a. Our piece of furniture is made of wicker (or oak) and is from turn of the century or early 1900's.  It has a Heywood-Wakefield Furniture label on it.  What is the value of our piece?  Answer
      b. Our piece of Heywood-Wakefield furniture has a darker finish and does not look like the modern furniture on your site.  It is more colonial or traditional in style.  Where can I find information about this type of HW furniture and it's value?  Answer
6.   What is the difference between wheat and champagne?  Answer
7.   What is my Heywood-Wakefield furniture worth?  Answer
8.   We have a set of furniture marked Heywood-Wakefield, but it does not look like what we see on your website.  It is Colonial style, and the color is darker than the blond furniture.  What is our set worth?  Are you interested in buying it?  Answer
9.   We have Heywood-Wakefield furniture that we are considering selling.  Do you buy?  What will you offer?  Answer
10.  Could you explain your condition grading system?  Answer
11.  If we are considering a purchase, can you hold it for us?  Answer
12.  What wood(s) is Heywood-Wakefield furniture made of?  Is there any veneer?  Answer
13.  What color finishes did Heywood-Wakefield come in?  And when were they made?  Answer
14.  What should I use to clean and/or polish Heywood-Wakefield furniture?  Answer

Q.  How do we use your LayAway plan?  When we put our order through on your Shopping Cart, it does not say anything about LayAway and the full price of the item is charged to our credit card ....

A.  Not to worry!  All of our credit card orders are processed by us in the store, not through an automated online service.  So we make the adjustment when we receive the order. Simply make a note in the Special Instructions window that you wish to utilize the LayAway plan.  Since we manually process the payment in the store when it is received, we will make the adjustment to the amount.  Nothing is done automatically on line, so there is nothing to fear in that regard.   According to this plan, we will automatically credit your account each month when payment is due.       TOP

Q.  We would like to refinish our Heywood-Wakefield furniture ourselves.  What stains do you recommend and could you explain the refinishing process to novices?

A.  First of all, let us state that refinishing HW furniture is a job best left to professionals.  While refinishing other antique furniture can be rewarding and rather easy, HW employed a highly sophisticated process to get the opaque finish that makes their furniture so highly desirable.  Undertaking to duplicate this finish on your own can very well ruin the piece beyond repair.  We strongly recommend leaving the work to a professional, and even those must be scrutinized carefully before entrusting them to do this type of work (i.e., give them a single chair rather than a set, a table leaf rather than the whole table).  This way you can view the finished product before being disappointed with poor results.  

OK.......having said all that, you still want to do your own.  So what stains do we recommend?  Firstly, there is no stain made that will make all furniture look the same color.  While wheat pieces will usually be close in patina when stripped, the application of stain will result in different shades when applied ... much the same as dye lots in yarns and fabrics will be different in color.  Champagne, on the other hand, varies widely ...... earlier champagne pieces tended to patinate to an orange-pink color and can be rather dark.  A later champagne piece can be closer to a blush champagne color and very pale by comparison.   Once these pieces are stripped, even if the same stain is applied, they will be a totally different color as the base color of the patina in the wood is different.  So bear in mind that two pieces of champagne, or wheat for that matter, may not even be close in color.  This applies to original finish as well as refinished.  What affects patina in the wood?  No easy answer to that one, but a major contributing factor is how much light the furniture has been exposed to over its lifetime.   And over 40-60 years, this can result in substantial color differences between the same pieces.

As for the refinishing process itself, we don't know the secret to refinishing HW furniture!  It has taken us years to find a professional refinisher whose work meets our stringent requirements which are:  Match the new finish as exactly as possible to the original finish.  In the case of a china closet, match the finish to the existing color of the interior shelves, or any unexposed area that shows the true original color.  If possible to do just a top of a piece, match it exactly to the base and leave the base original.   Needless to say, this is a tall order to fill and one that we had little or no success with until two months ago.  We have found a refinisher who can do exactly what we desire:  refinish a piece of HW and make it look as it did the day it was made.  That is our standard, and that is what we have managed to find.  However, this process is a trade secret that we are not privy to, so we cannot share any of the methods with you.  We don't know how he achieves it, only that he does.  Any piece you see on our site that is described as "NEWLY" refinished means it has been done in this manner.  If it simply says "refinished," then it has been previously refinished prior to our possession of the piece and may or may not meet these standards.   And please don't ask us to have him refinish your pieces for you; we will only refer our merchandise to him for refinishing.     TOP

Q.  Is the value of the furniture lessened by being refinished?

A.  That is a tough question to answer!  You tell me ....... if you find a piece in terrible condition, finish flaked, stained, totally unusable ......... what is that worth??  How can you possibly be lessening its value by refinishing it??   The answer, however, is a bit more complicated.  The value of the furniture will depend largely on the quality of the refinishing job.  If it is done well, true to the piece and close to original, then the value will be maintained.  If the finish is done poorly, and you know what that looks like, then yes, the furniture will be devalued.  Many people nowadays want their pieces refinished in a clear coat rather than a stain because it is easier to match pieces together; however we do not recommend this method.  A clear finish will only reflect the original stain and patina of the wood beneath and there will be as many variances in color shading with this method as staining in a color.   And in our opinion, this does not maintain the integrity or value of the piece.   So the bottom line is this:  a good refinishing job will enhance the value of a poor condition piece; a bad refinishing job will lessen it.     TOP

Q.  We are looking for a specific piece of Heywood-Wakefield furniture.  Do you keep a wish list for people?

A.  We did offer this service on our website at one time, but with wishes coming in at the rate of over a dozen a day, it became impossible to maintain such a list, much less contact every person wishing for an item.  That is why we implemented the change notification on the tops of each of our pages.  However, since we do have an extensive inventory and literally dozens of items that are not on the website, we encourage you to email us to see if we currently have your item in stock.  Oftentimes we may have just what you are looking for.........      TOP

Q.  a. Our piece of furniture is made of wicker (or oak) and is from turn of the century or early 1900's.  It has a Heywood-Wakefield Furniture label on it.  What is the value of our piece?

A.  Heywood-Wakefield Furniture Co. was in business independently (Heywood Brothers and Wakefield Rattan Co.) in the early 1800's.  The two companies consolidated in 1897 to become the Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Company.  They made wicker, rattan, oak, and other furniture including baby carriages.  Today these items are collectible from an antiques aspect, but not particularly because of the HW label.  The collectibility appeal with the Heywood-Wakefield name lies in their streamline modern blond furniture which was made from the late 30's and hit its peak in the 50's.  Much of this modern line was created by designers such as Gilbert Rohde, Russel Wright, Leo Jiranek, Alfons Bach, Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, Joseph Carr, Frank Parrish,  and Ernest Herrmann.  The early line of HW furniture was not done by designers, so it's value can be based on that of any other antique furniture.  

There are books available pertaining to the earlier Heywood-Wakefield products.  You can order them  from Barnes & Noble by clicking on these links:

Antique Wicker from the Heywood-Wakefield Catalog; With Price Guide
Author: Bob Meschi
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Limited
Date Published: August 1994

Classic Wicker Furniture: The Complete 1898-1899
   Illustrated Catalog of the Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Company

In the early 20th century, the Art Deco movement created new standards in furniture design, architecture, and the decorative arts. This detailed study serves as both an essential reference book for collectors and a marvelous chronicle of one of the most exciting design movements in recent history. 376 illus. 80 in color.
Author: Brothers Heywood
Publisher: Dover Publications, Incorporated
Date Published: August 1991

Q.   b. Our piece of Heywood-Wakefield furniture has a darker finish and does not look like the modern furniture on your site.  It is more colonial or traditional in style.  Where can I find information about this type of HW furniture and it's value?

A.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that only the modern line of furniture is collectible to HW afficianados, there are no books out about the other lines of furniture.  Again, as stated above, this is due to the fact that it is not so much the HW name that is sought after but rather the designers who were affiliated with the modern lines who are sought after.  Therefore, the other lines of furniture made by HW are simply considered better used furniture.  They do not command the prices that the modern lines do and there is no reference material available about them.  These other styles of HW furniture are not collectible from an antiques aspect as the true antique HW furniture is, nor are they sought after by HW collectors.  (See 5a for more information regarding this question.)

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Q.  What is the difference between wheat and champagne?

A.  Wheat is a golden tan color and champagne is a lighter beige color with a hint of pink blush.  Champagne is generally lighter and paler than wheat; however, earlier champagne was a good bit darker than the champagne finish of the 50's.  With the aging of the earlier finishes, we often find that champagne and wheat finishes from the 30's and 40's have patinated to much the same color and are barely discernible.  Depending upon where furniture is displayed in a home and how much light it has been exposed to, even identical wheat finishes can be lightyears apart today.  So you will find a wide variance in original wheat and champagne ... they will not all be the same, but quite different depending on how and where they have spent their years aging.    TOP

Q.  What is my Heywood-Wakefield furniture worth?  

A.  This is a very difficult question to answer.  Condition of the furniture is the most important factor. Naturally furniture that is in perfect condition will be worth double or more that which needs refinished or repaired.

What an item is worth in a large city  will be vastly different than what it would be in a small town.  Even from the East Coast to the West Coast there are variances in price based on popularity of certain styles.   If you live in a rural area and wish to sell an item for top dollar, you will probably have to transport it to a large city or locate a dealer in a more populous area who would be willing to buy it.  Bear in mind that when selling to a dealer, you are not going to get retail price.  Dealers have high overhead and expenses to pay that has to come out of whatever they make on a piece of furniture.  So you must allow them enough room to cover transportation, cleaning or refinishing, photographing, advertising and marketing the piece they purchase.

Lastly, demand for a piece also dictates value.  A rare piece such as a Room Divider or a Blanket Chest is going to be vastly more valuable than, say, a common chair of an undesirable style.  A good barometer for pricing and identification is Rouland's Heywood-Wakefield Modern Furniture Identification and Value Guide.

To answer the question as simply as possible, there is no cast-in-stone price for any of this furniture.  Value is based on three important factors:  CONDITION, LOCATION, & DEMAND for a particular piece.    TOP

Q.  We have a set of furniture marked Heywood-Wakefield, but it does not look like what we see on your website.  It is Colonial style, and the color is darker than the blond furniture.  What is our set worth?  Are you interested in buying it?

A.  While your furniture is made by the same company and is of exceptional quality, it is more than likely from a later line developed in the 60's or 70's while the company was still in business.  Again (refer to second question above), the desirability with HW furniture is in the streamline modern line.  Your set would be priced in the same range as any other quality used furniture.  And no, we do not buy this style of HW furniture.    TOP

Q.  We have Heywood-Wakefield furniture that we are considering selling.  Do you buy?  What will you offer?

A.  Yes, we do buy.  That is how we get our furniture.  While we wish people would donate it to us (joke!), this has never happened yet in our 20+ years of doing business.  In order to assess our interest in your items, we would need you to provide specific information:  (1) your location; (2) the item numbers or descriptions of each piece; (3) the condition of each piece using our Condition grading system; (4) the price you wish to get for it.  Without all of this information, we cannot determine whether or not we are interested.  We regret that we cannot make offers on items that we cannot see firsthand.  Due to the vast number of email requests we get to buy, it will have to be your responsibility to determine a price.  It is a waste of both of our time to go back and forth  making offers only to find out that we are miles apart in price.  We have actually had people contact us and want 10% less than our posted price for a piece of furniture they have.  That 10% doesn't even cover the included shipping!!  So we really need YOU to come up with a price.  If we can purchase it, we will.  If not, we will let you know that we are not interested.  And if you use our website as a price guide, please remember that shipping on large items can be several hundred dollars and is included in our prices.  On sets of furniture, it can be over a thousand dollars!    TOP

Q.  Please describe the difference in your gradings of condition.

A.  ALWAYS bear in mind that we are selling 50-year old (and more) furniture, so condition is going to be based on that fact.  Obviously, none of it is going to be new and 100% unblemished, but HW furniture was a higher-priced line of furniture in its day and as such, many owners treated it with kid gloves and cherished their pieces.  It is not impossible to find furniture in extraordinarily good condition for its age and appearing to be like new.

A common problem with the HW finishes is flaking.  The varnish (shellac) that was used tends to flake off in areas leaving a lighter spot where the finish is missing.  This probably occurred over the years from changes in humidity.  When the furniture went out of style, many people relegated it to basements or garages where the fluctuations in temperature were more extreme.  Therefore, the finish would flake.  Many times a light coat of a spray lacquer to replace the missing finish is all that is needed to remedy the problem aesthetically, blending in the color again; however, it will not level off the finish.  

Some bruising (slightly darker spots or streaks) on chair and table legs must be considered normal wear for furniture this age.  We do not consider this in our grading system as it is to be expected; however, we do point out bruising if it is more than normal for a piece.  

Our grading terms are as follows:

  • Newly Refinished:  Items marked "Newly Refinished" means that they have been refinished to our specifications by our refinisher as described above.  Items simply marked "Refinished" means that they have been refinished previously to being purchased by us and may be an older refinishing job. Thus the condition rating will be applicable as it may have wear again.
     

  • Pristine:  As close to showroom perfect as you're going to get!  This means that the furniture retains all of its original finish in original luster with no wear to the varnish or flaking of any kind.  There are no nicks or gouges or scratches.  Any discoloration in finish is original and not a later stain.  Rated 10.  No structural damage*. 

  • Excellent or Very Clean:  Nearly showroom perfect with possibly a blemish or two which would be minor or superficial.  Overall appearance would be rated a  9 out of 10.  No structural damage*.

  • Very Good:  Beginning to show some signs of age; i.e., superficial surface scratches and minor blemishes which would be more visible than Excellent rating.  Finish may have very minor flaking but otherwise be very presentable.  May need cleaned and polished.  Rated 8 out of 10.  No structural damage*.

  • Good:  Showing definite signs of its age.  Can be (or has been) cleaned up and possibly  treated with an overspray of lacquer as described in paragraph above.  May have visible scratches and stains, but still would be usable in its present condition without refinishing.  This is not to say that it doesn't need refinishing, but it's appearance is fine until such time as you would wish to do that.  Rated 6 or 7 out of 10.   May have repairs.

  • Average:  Shows age, wear, and may have discoloration and stains.  Should be refinished unless you are one of those who doesn't mind "character"!  Rated 5.  May have repairs.

  • Fair:  Restorable pieces which need refinished; may have minor damage.  Rated 4.

  • Poor:  Needs lots of  T.L.C.!  Damage (broken parts) may be evident and definitely needs refinished.  A project for the fixer-upper.  Rated 3 or less.

We do our best to accurately describe and photograph every piece in our store.  Due to the large volume of furniture that we buy and sell, we may sometimes miss something.  If this occurs, we will take responsibility for it.  However, please ask any questions you may have with regard to a piece you are considering.  We will be more than happy to explain condition in depth and/or take close-up digital photos which we can email to you.  

*Structural damage:  broken pieces such as chair legs, backs, frames; damage that requires professional carpenter repair; warped pieces which create alignment problems (table tops, leaves, etc).   Wear to drawer runners and looseness in joints is not considered structural damage; this is normal wear and tear for furniture of this age which has been used.     TOP

Q.  If we are considering a purchase, can you hold it for us?

A.  This question has been our biggest nemesis!  Almost invariably, the minute someone requests this and we say "yes," someone who has travelled from afar comes into the store and is ready to buy and take the piece with them.  They are not from our area, cannot return tomorrow, and definitely want the item.  And frequently, the person we were "holding" the item for never even calls back.  Therefore, in fairness to ALL of our customers, we have reached the decision that we cannot hold an item unless someone is willing to put a non-refundable deposit on it (see our HOLD policy page).  This ensures that we will not sell it to another person.  By the same token, this also works to your benefit.  If  you are considering a piece, we will not hold it for someone else unless they put a deposit on it.  So unless you see a HOLD or SOLD tag on our page, the item is available (subject to prior sale not yet posted).     TOP

Q.  What wood(s) is Heywood-Wakefield furniture made of?  Is there any veneer?

A.  Heywood-Wakefield furniture was originally constructed from solid maple and later switched to solid birch.  There are no veneers.  To quote Steve and Roger Rouland's Heywood-Wakefield Modern Furniture Identification and Value Guide, "In late 1935 Heywood-Wakefield introduced its first Streamline Modern furniture.  Initially this furniture was called Streamline Maple, because the line was made from solid close-grained Northern Maple and Birch.  ....  In 1937, Streamline Maple became Streamline Modern; Maple had been dropped from the name, if not from the construction of the modern line (between 1937 and 1939 company literature said only that Streamline Modern was made of "solid wood," while by 1940 Heywood-Wakefield's Modern was billed as being of "solid American Birch"). "

The following excerpts were taken from an original 1952-53 "Modern by Heywood-Wakefield" furniture catalog:

"Construction of Upholstered Furniture:   The frames of all Heywood-Wakefield upholstered pieces are made from kiln dried, seasoned hardwoods, with multiple-doweled joints, rigidly screwed, glued, and corner blocked.  Only solid Birch wood is used in the exposed elements on Heywood-Wakefield upholstered furniture."

"Construction of Occasional Tables:  The occasional tables are as painstakingly designed and as gracefully proportioned as America's top furniture designers can make them.  There is tremendous utility in these pieces; almost every table can serve in more than one way.  The smooth sanding, with particular emphasis on skillfully rounded edges, is as distinctive on these occasional pieces as it ison the restof the Heywood-Wakefield line.  Even where legs are not supported by boxings or shelves, rigid strength is assured by glued and screwed leg-to-top joints.  All large tops are rigidly warp-cleated.  Only seasoned Birch hardwoods are used."

"Construction of Diningrooom Tables:  All solid Birch table tops are held to the boxings at the center by heavy corner blocks so that natural, seasonal expansion and contraction results only at the table ends.  In addition, metal clips hold the tops to the boxings in longitudinal grooves so that natural expansion and contraction is not impaired.  As a result of this construction, table tops and aprons are perfectly aligned."

"Construction of Diningroom Chairs:  Heywood-Wakefield Modern diningroom chairs all have continuous back posts that form the back legs.  All have steam-bent 'horse-shoe' boxings.  Front and back legs are tapered.  Boxings are corner-blocked underneath.  Heywood-Wakefield's reputation for quality chair construction goes back to 1826."

"Construction of Bedroom Suites:  The grain of the wood on all the side panels in the cases runs horizontal - not vertical.  That means when the solid Birch wood drawer fronts and case sides swell and shrink with humidity changes, the expansion or contraction is in the same direction. This feature prevents sticky or loose drawers in humid or dry seasons; keeps drawers easy to operate in Summer and not too loose when Winter sets in."

"Construction of Desks:  Desks have solid wood panels all the way round the outside . . . fronts, backs, sides and inside of the piers.  All drawers are fitted with center drawer guides."

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Q.  What color finishes did Heywood-Wakefield come in?  And when were they made?

A.   There were many different stains used by Heywood-Wakefield through the years.  We deal predominantly in the blond finishes of Wheat, Champagne, and Platinum.  Other colors were made, but we generally do not handle them.  The following time table is from Steve and Roger Rouland's Heywood-Wakefield Modern Furniture Identification and Value Guide:

"Amber:  1936-1939:  A ruddy, maple color"

"Bleached:  1936-1939:  A clear, sparkling blond tone"

"Wheat:  1937-1966:  A yellow shade resembling the color of natural ripened grains"

"Champagne: 1939-1966:  A pinkish tone resembling a properly-made champagne cocktail"

"Platinum:  1954-1961:  A natural blond color with overtones of light gray and light beige blended to a platinum hue"

"Westwood:  1962-1966:  An exceptionally-transparent finish with a light-honey tone"

"Modern Walnut:  1936-1944:  A walnut-colored finish designed for use on chairs which were to be used in combination with furniture from other manufacturers."

"Other Finishes:  Occasionally Heywood-Wakefield used darker finishes on Modern.  Available in the late 1950s and 1960s (sometimes at an extra cost), these darker finishes included Winthrop, Priscilla Maple, Sable Grey, Walnut, Topaz, Windsor, Fruitwood, Tampico, Clove, and Sherry."

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Q.  What should I use to clean and/or polish Heywood-Wakefield furniture?

A.  People ask us this all the time, and due to the variances in the HW finishes, it is a question that we are somewhat hesitant to answer.  Because these old finishes flake, leaving exposed wood, you have to use any polish or cleaner with great care as it can darken the exposed areas more than you would want.  So use caution before attempting to clean any piece.  

What we have used with the best success for cleaning here in the store is a lanolin-based hand cleaner such as GoJo.  Be sure to use the cream type, not the pumice type, and use it sparingly only on finished portions of the wood.  This does an excellent job of cleaning off any dirt or old residue wax buildup.  

For polishing, we recommend The Original Bee's Wax Old World Formula Furniture Polish.  This polishes and restores the wood to a beautiful lustre.  

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TRI-STATE ANTIQUE CENTER
47 W. Pike St.
Canonsburg, Pa. 15317
Phone: (724) 745-9116 or FAX (412) 297-1367 - 24 Hours

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