Our First Furniture Repair Experience

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Where can you find the most experienced furniture repair specialist in Louisville, Kentucky?  Our suggestion:  Go to Jeffersonville, Indiana!

Hello, I am David Erickson.  I have been privileged to have repaired and finished some of the finest of furniture and exclusive antiques in America.  After doing thousands of repairs, I find that although most furniture repairmen  and refinishers are happy with what I call a satisfactory result, I love the challenge of finding the best finish or technique available in order to obtain the most outstanding result possible for our customer.  How did I get started?   

I can remember the very first time I needed a "wood doctor". I didn't even know what to call him or how to find a person with these unique skills. That was about 35 years ago when I was 17 years old.  Jeannien and Alfred Erickson, my mom and dad, bought and sold antiques which sparked my interest in the antique repair and upholstery business.  They needed someone to fix some of their furniture, so, they decided to help me set up shop and thought I could fix anything!   At that point, most of my work involved re-upholstering.  Dad was a great promoter and Mom critiqued my finished product.  If it passed her inspection, I knew my customers would be happy upon delivery.  

The wood finishing experience was pretty simple, I just applied old dark English oil treatment to "remove" the scratches from antique surfaces.  As time went on, another antique dealer told me about his secret finish technique--Watco Danish oil (an old formula no longer made) applied with steel wool.  I tried his method.  I thought it looked great and customers seemed satisfied, so that became my new technique.  Next, I discovered spray can finish, it  worked great on scratched sofa legs.  I thought I knew a thing or two about finishes, and was ready to take on new challenges. 

It was during this time, that an upholstery customer and friend, Mrs. Meda, asked me to fix the peeling finish on her pecan wood lamp table. Her roof had sprung a leak which ruined the top of this hexagon shaped piece. I could see it had veneer on the top, so I knew it would have to be sanded very carefully. This was not just any furniture, it was a very special piece. Her husband, Bill, had bought it for her just a few weeks before he passed away as the result of a car accident in December 1965.  It meant a lot to her, and she wanted it properly restored.

I took on the job with great enthusiasm.  I remembered the "As Seen On TV" volcanic rock sanding blocks that did not damage veneer.   That should surely work on this piece.  True to their advertisement, the sanding blocks did not damage the veneer, but they created another problem.   The surface was so smooth, not a single stain would stick to the wood.  I faithfully searched every paint and hardware store in the area, but every stain I tried would just wipe off leaving no color on the wood.  I was panic stricken!  Had I ruined this special piece of furniture?  I realized that my knowledge and skills were not sufficient to meet this challenge and I had to find an experienced person to help me.  

One of my suppliers had heard of an old Italian furniture repair specialist by the name of Mr. Rose. He thought perhaps he could help.  We did not have computers, Google and search engines back then, so I had to page through the good old yellow pages.  I finally located his name under the "Furniture Repair" section.  

I loaded the lamp table in my vehicle and drove to his address.  Inside the old dirt floor barn, was a kind looking, elderly man in old work clothes. I explained my predicament. He just smiled and assured me that it was a simple fix.  I felt a huge sense of relief.  This guy was real and he was going to be my friend!  He told me that he had learned the trade when he was a young boy in Italy.  He had apprenticed for five years with a master refinisher, and his pay was a new pair of jeans and a pair of shoes once a year.  How old was he when he learned the trade? He worked from the age of seven, away from his parents and home.  He really knew what he was talking about and had the experience to get it done right. Yes, and when that lamp table was done, it was just like the original finish, right down to the fly specks and distressing. Thank you, Mr. Rose!

This experience inspired me to begin learning all I could about real wood refinishing.  It was truly a start in the right direction.  Do you need something that means alot to you restored or refinished? We can help.

Wood Doctors is your friend in the furniture repair and restoration business. Get an Estimate Now! Call David at 502-599-0020.

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