We are passionate about antique and vintage furniture and have been searching for and sourcing unique original and authentic old furniture for 10 years. Scaramanga’s founder, Carl, has an extensive network of knowledgeable antique and vintage furniture dealers and restorers.
A trip to India to look for antique and old furniture usually lasts around seven days. Carl starts by visiting dealers he has been buying from since he started Scaramanga in 2006. It’s always a delight to see them again and drink glasses of chai while searching through warehouses and yards stacked with antique chests, cupboards, cabinets, chairs, tables, industrial and unusual furniture. It’s still as exciting today as it was doing it for the first time. Around half of Carl’s picks need to be restored. The rest have already been restored by the dealers.
Carl likes his vintage furniture to retain as much of its character as possible. So we avoid striping layers of paint, adding excessive new wood to replace old wood that may only have minor damage, using new brass hardware, we try not to fill gaps in the furniture with wood-filler. Excessively damaged areas are simply cut out and replaced with reused and reclaimed old teak. The repair will never be invisible and we never aim to restore a piece of furniture so it looks brand new. We want our furniture to show it’s character. An old merchant’s chest should look like it has been used to store money, note, and receipts for the last 80 years. So it’ll have worn edges. The teak will have darkened in parts and some of the brass decoration may be missing. There will be ink marks from the bottles of ink that would have been stored in the small handmade compartments.
Most commonly we tighten joints, fabricate a chest’s missing drawers, replace doors and beading, replace hinges, remove worn iron mesh and replace it with glass. Carl will return to the restorers to see how the working is progressing. The restorers will have a small team of skilled expert carpenters and cabinet makers who bring salvaged furniture back to life. They use traditional techniques and tools along with reclaimed tropical hardwoods to ensure the piece of furniture looks great and
My the latter part of Carl’s buying trip are dedicated to looking for stock we have never sold before. I spotted brightly coloured enamelled plates and bowls in a local bazaar, cool cotton patterned bedcovers and throws at a textile specialist and handmade coloured glass and iron lanterns at a metal workshop. Day four I spend looking for more furniture and small homewares to fill the container.
Dharma manages the restoration, packing and logistics for everything we buy. He has been in the vintage and antique furniture business for over 25 years and has an unrivalled knowledge of sellers and restorers in the city. Jodhpur is the best place to buy old furniture in India with dealers specialising in old wooden boxes and chests, architectural antiques and salvaged ship items like lighting and navigational instruments; and other selling a variety of vintage wooden furniture.