These generally are not the people to have a piece of furniture refinished or restored. It just wouldn’t be feasible and should be undesirable for the refinisher. So who is having furniture refinished? Or I should say who should have their furniture refinished?
There are many things to consider when making that decision. Finding a specialist is becoming difficult these days. In the seventies everyone was refinishing before all the big box stores came about and each town would have three or four refinishers. Not many took up the trade since and because it’s a knowledge based trade becoming a refinisher over night just doesn’t happen. That’s the first difficulty, second could be the price. Refinishing involves time, lots of time, and many stages and lots of knowledge gained through experience. This isn’t free and as much as restoration specialists love their jobs, we have families and bills also. If you’re a refinisher you have a shop and all the equipment and tools and everything else you have to have to own a business in Canada. There is a cost to this and it’s called a shop rate. I talk about these two things because my experience tells me that it’s the two things that the public have to consider before they make that decision. Where do a find a reputable specialist and what is it going to cost me?
My customers are having heirlooms refinished. It’s just that simple! Unless the furniture has value to you then refinishing just isn’t feasible. Keeping something in the family is a big thing for many people and I can’t blame them. Heirlooms always have a story and I hear them all the time. These people take great pride in the history and some day would like to pass it on to others. This work is very enjoyable to me. Others make a purchase of value or uniqueness and decide to make it an heirloom with the intention of passing it on. Others are just into furniture and decorating as a passion and the cost of having a piece custom refinished is just part of the passion. It’s no different than someone having a custom paint job on their Harley or vintage car etc. Today repurposing is becoming a big thing. I enjoy this as it usually means making a piece of furniture functional. I recently had a request to make an old 78 record cabinet into a wine cabinet. I was just approached by a couple who have a beautiful house full of interesting furniture and none of it is new. Although they have a beautiful dining room set the reality is that they eat at the coffee table each night. They requested that I build them a functional coffee/dining table from reclaimed wood. Once I looked at the sketches they had put together, I was on board. It will be a one off, which is a big thing for many people!
It is the people that see the value in refinishing that are having the work done. If you don’t see the value in the history or you don’t have a passion for furniture or interior design then refinishing is not for you. The next hurdle is the price of refinishing which is something I would like to talk about in the near future.