Thomas Reiner originally worked as a furniture restorer for the Württemberg State Museum in Stuttgart and as a reviewer and consultant for Europe’s preservation of historical monuments. During that time, he fell in love with the charm of antique parquet floors. To follow his passion, he founded his company Antique Parquet to rescue, collect and restore historic parquet, deal board and boarded parquet floorings. One of the most meticulous and uncompromising artisans in his craft, Thomas has worked on significant preservation projects all over Europe and beyond. His floors embellish major palaces and castles like the Vienna Imperial Palace, Schönbrunn Castle and Ludwigsburg Palace and private houses in nearly every major city in Europe.Read the full interview
That’s my deep conviction. You can read the floor like a book. It tells you stories about war and peace, about fabulous parties, great balls or devastating fires. Because everything – fires, swords, high-heeled shoes – clearly leaves its mark. When restoring, I try to keep the stories alive.What equipment do you use to restore?
Clients who visit my workshop in Vienna are often astonished that it doesn’t look like a regular carpentry workshop. We hardly ever sand, plane or saw; our source material is too precious. Our equipment resembles surgical instruments: pipettes, small pliers, fine spatulas and scalpels.
My glasses! I have to examine every single parquet board carefully. How thick is the veneer? How fragile is the wooden base? I have to detect every unevenness or dent before starting the process of cleaning the wood, removing old glue and tiny splinters of wood.Has any project been a particularly big challenge?
A project I remember for its logistical effort was the work at Hohensalzburg Fortress. There was just one small material hoist we could use between 7am and 9am only. But my greatest pleasure is to successfully work on almost hopeless cases until they shine with new splendour.