Friday 28 January 2011

A Walnut Mini Dashboard

Something a bit different to end the week. Not all wood needing restoration or refinishing is in furniture and just occasionally, a bit of a boat, lorry or car will find its way to the workshop. It makes for a change!

This is a walnut faced dashboard out of a 90's Mini, it's just had the varnish removed ready to be re-lacquered. I'm told the problem is that a lot of Minis suffer from water leaks around the windscreens rubber seal, the water drips in then collects along the bottom edge of the dashboard, eventually the damp lifts the varnish and ruins the walnut veneer. Not necessarily a problem if you can get a replacement, but since the demise of British Leyland, replacements of the same quality have all but disappeared.

Having a wood veneer dashboard was always an optional extra in most cars and it was usually a very expensive option, so preserving the old original has got to be worthwhile.

Next week it's back to a bit of traditional rushwork!

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Word and Wisdom of the Week

Word of the week:


Light, airy, or tenuous: an ethereal world created through the poetic imagination.
Wisdom of the week:  

Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I think I know a few......

Monday 24 January 2011

Britains smallest bird and a big Arts & Crafts bench.

Another week begins, this time with a dozen cane panels to replace by Friday and the re-caning of this pretty, quite rare two seater Arts & Crafts bench.

I think it'll use a lot of cane, the seat is four feet wide and there are two cane panels in the back. Weaving that lot will keep me out of trouble for a while!

But the best treat of all first thing this morning was this.....

Britains smallest bird, a Goldcrest. We've been watching him and his partner off and on in the garden for the last year or so, but never had the camera to hand...until today. They move so quickly, almost like humming birds they flit from branch to branch in the yew hedge presumably looking for insects.

I still can't quite believe that finally I've managed to take a photo.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Word & Wisdom of the Week

Word of the week:


An old or evil-looking female cat. The term stems from "grey" (the color) plus "malkin", an archaic term for a cat. Scottish legend makes reference to the grimalkin as a faery cat which dwells in the highlands and it was also the name Nostradamus gave to his cat.

We've got an old "Grimalkin" she's 18 and her real name is Sybil!

Wisdom of the Week:

Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will p** on your computer - Bruce Graham

Sorry, had to change a word there, but very funny, very funny indeed - and so true...........

Tuesday 18 January 2011

So how many seat bottoms are there in the world? A Tuesday musing.

It's the time of the year when the accounts have to be up to date and taxes paid - so I've been doing some bookkeeping!

Three years ago we changed our accounting systems, it was about time as the previous software was a bit out of date, we'd bought it in 1997. The new software is just so much more advanced, very easy to use and it can tell you stuff you didn't even know you needed to know! For example, I now have a rough idea of how many seat bottoms we've replaced in the last three years - 900, almost one a day every day allowing for Bank Holidays and the odd weekend off.

So working on that principle, it's likely that I've handled more than 5000 seats in my time so far, wow! If I keep going at the same rate until official retirement, (whenever that may be) I could have seen over 12000 seat bottoms - what a prospect.

Friday 14 January 2011

Repairs to the Morris chairs

Ending the week with some real progress. The William Morris chairs looked like they were in pretty good condition......until we took the rush off the seats! It happens so often, a chair frame seems nice and firm and then the minute you take the seat off it it falls to pieces........ or worse.

Well worse it was with two out of the four chairs. The little child's chair had a broken back rail, we thought it looked very bowed before removing the rush but hoped perhaps it had just bent with pressure and age, but it hadn't. The usual problem, over the years people trying to replace the protective "rub rails" onto the seats edge had used larger and larger nails to try and fix them in place - the result, the poor old seat rails could take no more and the back one finally split. So a new replacement in beech was called for.

The same had happened with the armchair. The rush had been replaced before and the arms had been put back in at slightly the wrong angle, (and been nailed!!) so had caused stress cracks through both side rails.....ho hum!

All fixed now though, here is one we finished earlier.

Tuesday 11 January 2011

A collection of William Morris chairs

You don't see many of these, four William Morris chairs, one owner and what a rare collection! We've been asked to check them over, re-glue where needed and then re-rush them, a rare treat. All are ebonised and three are listed in the Morris catalogue here

The two taller chairs have almost circular seats - always a challenge to weave, as are the Sussex armchairs because the arm supports pass through the seat rails and locate into the stretchers beneath. I'm looking forward to this, but first I need to remove the circular "rub rails" and they've been nailed in by someone who never intended them to be removed.......

Monday 10 January 2011

Soda blasting service for small furniture

Having experimented with soda blasting since last April, we're confident enough now to add this service to our restoration armoury.

It will not be suitable to use on all items, but there will be times when soda blasting will be the ideal way to remove a finish. More details are available here on our webpage if you're interested:

8th May 2016 - Sorry we no longer offer this service.

We had a lot of practise last year, the first project was Bernard the Bedford Horsebox!

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Word & Wisdom of the Week

Word of the week:


To confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate.

Great word.

Wisdom of the Week:

"Sleep is when all the unsorted stuff comes flying out as from a dustbin upset in a high wind".- William Golding

Yep, that makes sense.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

VAT increase to 20%

Today is the day that VAT is increased to 20%. All of our online prices have now been changed to reflect this increase. We have absorbed the additional amount wherever possible so you will notice that some of the prices have remained the same whilst others have increased a little. We've also tried to keep the prices to figures that are easy to multiply, (because we like to keep things simple and don't like using calculators!)

We are also working on a full price list that you will be able to download from the Seat Weaving Supplies website. Hopefully this will make the ordering process easier. Keep an eye on this page here:

Sunday 2 January 2011

Goodbye to the metamorphic desk

With all of the cold weather and snow, a lot of our customers were just not able to collect work that we had finished for them before Christmas. So last week the easier driving conditions meant a flurry of activity with people finally being able to come and take their furniture home for the New Year. One of the pieces that went home was the really unusual metamorphic desk. It has taken a long time to do, partly because we demolished the workshop when I was halfway through the job so ended up not having anywhere to work on it for three months and because this type of work ALWAYS takes longer than you expect. Anyway, we were pleased with the result if not a bit sad to see it go home.

It was way back in April this year that work began with this blog post here: Seems like a lifetime ago now! We only work on small furniture these days and only do about two or three of these more complex projects each year, this type of work is probably the most fulfilling for me, but it is just so time consuming that it would be difficult to justify doing more. If you want to know more about the spectrum of restoration work we do, have a look here: