Painted satinwood ladies writing bureau from around 1780-1790

You can see the base was about to collapse

This bureau came to me because it had a very fragile base. You can see just how far it was leaning and if it had collapsed it might have been a costlier job to repair it so the brief was to strengthen the base as much as possible. Also there were a few veneers missing and some cockbeading around the edges of the drawers. The bottom drawer was catching on the lip of the base so I would add a little platform for it to sit on. This would give the base more strength and raise the top section. It is a new addition to the bureau but I attached it so it could be removed easily if someone wanted it to be 100% genuine.

Taking the base apart carefully labelling the sections so everything goes back in the right place.
I use a little bit of meths to loosen the animal glue. This helps to release the joints.
Cramping up
By adding the board it also raised the level of the bureau and now the bottom drawer wasn’t catching on the front lip of the base. It also spreads the weight.
Some missing veneers
New satinwood veneers cut in
All repairs coloured out to match and a light wax
Another happy customer!

Money For Nothing

Hey Peter, how did you end up being on Money For Nothing?

Well like most things it started with a phone call. A phone call on my mobile from Glasgow. I looked at it and thought that must be a cold call. Why would anyone from Glasgow want some French polishing or upholstery done by someone from Kent? I don’t know why but I picked it up. I’m glad I did! It was a nice Scottish chap saying he worked for a production company called Friel Kean and he had seen my website and loved the work that I do and would I consider being involve with the BBC programme Money For Nothing?

I thought about it for half a second and said yes please. You do realise I’m an antique furniture restorer and I don’t paint one chair leg lime green? I make antique furniture look like they would have been. And should be. Oh yes that’s exactly what we’re looking for. Now I’m friends with Sharon O’Connor from Vintique and Ray Clark on social media and they had both been on the programme. We’ve sent messages to each other, liking each others post, that sort of thing, maybe that’s how they saw me. Anyway following week I was to have a chat with some producers on Skype. It was to be recorded so the producers could see if I would suit the show. I was a little nervous. This was out of my comfort zone, but when the time came, for some reason their camera wasn’t working and I was talking to a blank screen. My nerves disappeared. It was like talking on the phone. They ran through some questions about myself. What I did. What I loved doing and what the best bits about my job were. I told they being paid! I also told them about how I had restored a small writing desk for an old lady once and as I was lifting the finished table back into the house I pulled off the blanket and the old lady gasped, sat down and started weeping. My word I can just see my mother sitting there writing a letter. It was a real The Repair Shop moment. It does happen occasionally.

A couple of months went past and I hadn’t heard anything from the production company and I thought oh well. That’s that then, when out if the blue I got an email from them with a couple of photos. One was a piano stool which I think Sharon O’Connor did from Vintique and the other a chaise longue. I love working on chaise longues. On my first upholstery course I did a chaise longue so I have a soft spot for them. I’m can sort that chaise longue out no problem. A date was set for them to bring the chaise longue over and do the first days shooting and it will be with Sarah Moore. The morning of them coming over I was unbelievably excited and nervous at the same time, Matt arrived first and put me at ease immediately. I wasn’t sure how many people were coming. Matt did the camera and sound and asked the questions and everything. I was concerned that I could ruin my reputation overnight and he assured me that they were here to make me look as good as they could. Sarah then arrived and I put the kettle went on. People often ask what Sarah is like. I get this question a lot so I like say she’s just like she is on tv except she swears like a trooper! She doesn’t but I like to surprise people. They don’t expect her to. She is a fountain of knowledge and has this drive and determination to do things.

Sarah and Matt guide me through the procedure. Matt will asks me questions in three ways so I give slightly different answers so the editors can then pick the best bits and what story they want to tell. It’s very quick and spontaneous. And fun. I find it very easy to talk about what I’m doing after all, I’m doing it every day.

Matt comes back the following week to film me working on the piece and then then the following week Sarah comes back to see it completed. The handover. The ta-dar moment! We talk about money and did it come in budget and off it goes. Luckily all my pieces have sold and made a nice profit. I get to hear where it goes and what it went for but it’s interesting to see on the programme just who has bought it .