17th Sept 2016  Mark Hopkins – The Furniture Restoration Business

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Mark started his working life as an armature winder and hated the work.   He was made redundant, saw an oak chest outside a dealers shop, bought it, restored it, and found a sort of work he enjoyed and  he could develop into a business.
He is largely self taught and will have a go at anything, and the results are amazing.    He has developed the trust of antique dealers and work full time at his trade.

He learnt about french polishing during a family party when he quizzed a relative who had been in the trade.    He repairs Victorian and Georgian furniture using appropriate veneers, some bought commercially and some hand cut from reclaimed timber.

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He uses traditional techniques where appropriate and modern tools where they are better.   He uses an old fashioned glue pot with fish / animal glues because these do not need clamping and work quicker than modern glues and can be reactivated by applying a heated iron should a piece of veneer bubble up.   Here he is using a veneer hammer to squeeze veneers on to a job so that it does not bubble and meets the other veneer already there seamlessly.

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Sanding is by hand as machines dig circular squiggles in the veneer that are impossible to remove