A Visit to a Furniture Restoration Shop in Tel Aviv: Part 2

As I mentioned in the first part of the story, Shay likes to frequent the Jaffa flea markets to look for all kinds of goodies. In fact, many of the tools that he uses come from boxes of miscellaneous items that he has seen there. He buys the tools for little money and later finds the time to rehabilitate them. After fishing the tool from a merchant’s box or picking it from the Parisian rugs that the merchants lay on the sidewalks to showcase their goods, he inspects the tool for breakage, eroded threads, rust, grime, missing parts or chipped handles. Back at the shop, he cleans off the rust and grime, applies a coat of oil on the moving parts and applies a new coat of finish to the handle. At this moment, the tool is finally christened and enters Shay’s growing pantheon of great tools and finds.

Shay told me that, as he grows older and wiser in the art of restoration – so grows his love for the use of hand tools and the culture that they bring about. He enjoys the quiet and safe environment of planing, chiseling and even hand-sanding over the noisy hustle and bustle of working with electrical woodworking equipment. He still uses a band saw and occasionally a table saw, but for the most part ,he relies on hand tools.

This unusual holdfast that Shay bought in a flea market has a remarkable cam mechanism that lowers the arms and applies impressive pressure onto the workpiece.

He holds his steel wool roll in a big box with a hole in the middle.

Shay made an additional hide glue pot from a discarded stainless steel Greek coffee pot. He drilled and installed bolts to hold it over the hot water container.

Shay built this portable clamping vise to help him cut dovetail joints. If he had to build it again, he tells me, he would have changed the design and mounted the screw higher.

Another side of Shay’s healthy obsession with restoration are his efforts to save every piece of worthy hardware that he sees abandoned on the streets, in dumpsters or on deserted furniture that awaits the garbage truck. When he sees an old apartment undergoing renovation, he takes a mental note and remembers to revisit that area occasionally to see if they trashed old doors, windows, or sadly, antique furniture. If he can’t save the furniture (unfortunately he can’t host too many items in his tiny place) he will at least save the valuable knobs, handles, latches, locks etc, which he believes that at some point, via karma or luck, he could put back to good use while doing what he loves the most – restoring old furniture.

He houses his impressive hardware collection in a big glass armoire.

When he finds broken furniture that is unworthy of restoration, he tries to save its parts. He knows that at some point they will be handy.

-Yoav Liberman

CATEGORIES
PWM Shop Blog
Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.

COMMENT