Home & Gardens

Nicked table leg, gouged cabinet, and furniture begging to be refinished.
Meet Bob,“The Furniture Doctor.” Bob is a craftsman who can make your sick furniture look and feel good again. Over the years, relocation, kids, pets, and careless houseguests can wear and tear at wood furniture and other décor items. Instead of putting them to the curb, you may be able to have them rescued by experts like Bob.

You’ll find Bob in the Yellow Pages under furniture repair or antiques.

For Bob, whose shop is on Sunrise Highway in Bellmore, “it’s been restore, refinish, and repair for over 44 years,” he says. Mostly, it’s wood furniture, especially wobbly chairs.

Bob says, “I am strictly furniture.” He was turned on to fixing damaged and neglected furniture while selling furniture for his father-in-law. Watching craftsman restore damaged furniture was intriguing.

Bob often encounters a common problem: gently dissuading customers from putting good money into bad furniture. Bob suggests getting a couple of opinions before refinishing or repairing an old or sentimental piece.

”I turn away a lot of work,” Bob says. “People will come in and tell me the piece has sentimental value, so they want to repair or refinish it. You have to be careful not to hurt a customer’s feelings. I tell them, “sentimental value is one thing, but it’s just not worth it.”

”If it’s 100 years old, it’s an antique, if it’s 75 years old, it’s a ‘cheater’s antique,’ and if it is 50 years old, it’s just old stuff,” says Bob.

Chair repair and refinishing are among the most common repairs. Customers also seek chair caning.which he does on premises.

Bob can provide price ranges for several repairs, including caning, from $54 a chair, and regluing, from about $65  Woodturning depends on size, shape, and wood species.

Bob offers only machine caning, in which a sheet of prewoven caning material is fitted into the chair seat, much like a screen is fitted into an aluminum window frame.

”We can convert a hand-caned chair to a machine cane, and that’s common because it’s less expensive to machine cane, but once it has been converted to a machine cane, it can not be converted back to the hand caning.”

Every so often, Bob, encounters grander assignments. He’s been called to work at the Vanderbilt Mansion and has refinished the wood on the Wurlitzer organ at the Radio City Music Hall, but Bob caters mainly to more common requests. Bob takes in a set of broken dresser drawers, or collects backs and seats for machine caning. Simple work, perhaps, but work that is very much in demand.


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