You might remember our story “Life Comes to Newness”. Well the owner, Jim contacted Renowned Furniture and asked that the piece be delivered to the Pineapple Hotel in Brisbane at 10:30 on a Sunday ready for his wife’s 50th birthday celebration.
We did that and Jim then kindly asked if I could return at 2:00 pm to watch the presentation of the tallboy to his wife so that he could introduce his wife to the company that did the restoration. I accepted the invitation. You might remember that it was Jim’s wife’s’ great grandfather that actually felled the trees and milled the timber and built the tallboy originally for his wife back in the 1870’s. Needless to say, the piece was very precious to Jim’s wife, Louise.
Louise was over the moon and never ever thought that she’d get to see the piece returned back to its original glory as it was. The meeting with Louise after the surprise presentation was an honour and we reflected on another few things worth mentioning.
Louise & Jim went through the floods of 2011 only weeks after Jim had been made redundant from his job of several years and then got told by his insurance company that their policy that had been paid for 20 years did not cover this kind of flood. (Don’t get me started on that topic!) So their struggle began after the waters subsided and the volunteer army came in to help. Here’s the big statement that I have wanted to make for many years now and Louise reminded me of it when telling me of her anguish during that clean up. The volunteer army although well intended, like so many people do not understand the characteristics of genuine solid timber furniture. As quickly as the army of volunteers threw out parts of her tallboy, she was running to skip bins to rescue them. When solid timber furniture gets wet, yes, it swells but when it dries out it returns to its original size meaning it does not need to be thrown out after a flood, just restored. If we go back through history and try to imagine what we would have lost if every time there was a flood, we threw out all the furniture, there would be no antiques! The only furniture that needs throwing out after a flood probably would have needed throwing out soon enough anyway, flood or no flood! MDF/Craftwood/plywood/chipboard/particle board/”solidcore”/veneer board, call it what you like but this is the kind of furniture that will not make it through a flood and while it has its place and some of it has been around for many years, it’s not solid timber furniture and after it deforms and swells, it’s mostly unrepairable.
The tallboy restoration was like so many that we do here at Renowned Furniture. It’s not just about the piece, there’s always an amazing human story to go with it so much so that I think I could write a book but most importantly, this job is one that provides satisfaction and soul food almost every day.