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Welcome to The Repair Shop where cherished family heirlooms
are brought back to life.
This is the workshop of dreams.
Home to furniture restorer, Jay Blades.
Nowadays, everybody spends a fortune on stuff that, once it's broken,
they just bin it.
But everybody has something that means too much to be
thrown away and that's where we come in.
Working alongside Jay will be some of the country's leading craftspeople.
Every piece has its own story.
It's amazing to think that some of my work becomes part of that story.
I've always played with things, I've always repaired things,
and I just love it.
There is a real pleasure in bringing people's pieces
back to life again.
Each with their own unique set of skills...
I can't wait to get started.
..they will resurrect...
What a man!
..treasured possessions and irreplaceable pieces of family history.
Bringing both the objects...
That's just taken me back 50 years.
..and the memories that they hold...
-..back to life.
-Oh, my God!
In The Repair Shop today, a risky fix for Steve as he renovates an
85-year-old steam roller...
I've blown the burner out.
I'm hoping it's something simple.
I don't know what it is at the moment without taking it apart.
..and the delicate art of cutting glass...
..with master craftsman, Matt.
Just felt that go in my fingers.
It's all going to come apart. It's all breaking.
The first visitor today is Jane Moore....
You all right? Aah!
What do we have here?
..with something for saddle maker, Suzie Fletcher.
Jane's dropping off some design classics.
A gift from her mother.
So, tell me about these, then.
Where have they come from?
Probably about 35 years ago my uncle found them in the streets,
dumped with a load of rubbish.
-In Kensington, Liverpool.
And Mum loved them and he gave them to my mum who had them for years.
They are Les Arcs chairs that were designed for a very exclusive
-French ski lodge.
But, as you can see, they've been a little bit loved and well used...
Yeah, they've been well used.
..and are much in need of a bit of a restoration.
So does your mum know you're going to get these restored?
Yeah, Mum, over the last eight years has been on a dementia journey.
So she's in a nursing home now.
She'd be delighted that we're restoring them...
-..because they brought her joy.
-They certainly brought us a lot of joy in our home.
I just think having them back to their former glory,
she'll be made up to think that one of her treasures was being restored.
-What do you reckon, Suzie?
-Very excited to get going on them actually.
I think resew all the seams.
-And all of them are in a similar state.
So it's going to take a little while to get them all finished
and get them back into regular use.
-Does that sound all right?
-It sounds perfect.
-Thank you for bringing these along.
-Pleasure. Thank you very much.
-Thanks very much, Jane, nice to meet you.
These distinctive chairs were created in the 1960s
and used to furnish the stylish Les Arcs ski resort in France.
The chair is heralded as an important example
of modernist design and is highly prized when in good condition.
The nice thing about a project like this is you have to figure out how
it was all put together so you do the reverse to take it all apart.
And my feeling is the last thing they did was rivet the leather on so
that's the first place I'm going to start.
Next into the workshop is German born engineer, Dieter,
with a precious family heirloom that might test the skills
of horologist, Steve Fletcher.
Hi, Dieter, I'm Steve.
-Hi, Steve, nice to meet you.
-Come over here.
Right, what have we got?
We've got a steam roller.
-There it is.
It's been in our family for about 85 years.
It was given to my dad when he was probably 12-years-old.
Oh, right, OK.
And, you know, he's given that to me when I was about 18-years-old.
He was an engineer and I was going to study engineering
-and so he felt it was right to give it to me.
Rather than giving to any of my three brothers!
My intention, actually, is now to do exactly the same.
I've got three kids and my son is an engineer too
-which makes me proud and I'd like to give it to him.
But the last time I've seen it in operation has been in the '70s.
OK. Did you ever think about having a go at getting it working yourself?
No, I didn't. I didn't really.
This is almost more fine mechanics and this is not really what I did!
OK. So you say that it's going to go on to your son?
-So it'll be nice for him to see it actually working.
It would be fantastic because he has never seen it working.
OK. This is a lovely piece and I look forward to getting it working
-for you and polished up.
-Thank you very much. Bye-bye, now.
The steam roller was made by German toy manufacturer Bing,
the largest toy company in the world in the early 20th century.
It was best known for its model trains and steam engines.
This is going to be quite an interesting project.
It's been soldered and repaired in the past because there's quite a lot
of solder that's run down onto the main tank, there.
I'm really not sure at the moment about the main mechanics,
but once I've taken it apart and looked at all that,
I'll be able to then tell what sort of condition it's in.
Over at Suzie's bench, she's started rejuvenating the dried,
parched leather from the three designer chairs.
How are you doing?
I am, I'm really having fun here.
It's one of my most favourite things to do.
I'm absolutely thrilled with how this has come out
because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get them...
It's brought a smile to your face?
It really has brought a smile to my face!
And now it's not like cardboard.
You feel that, it's just beautiful.
Yeah. It's like leather now, isn't it?
It is like leather. So that's the seat, and this is the back.
-So this hasn't been worked on?
-This hasn't been worked on at all.
You feel how dry that is?
It just shows that you can bring leather back to life.
OK. So I can have a go?
I can start one level on this?
Absolutely, yes, yes.
The key is, don't make it too wet so rinse it out.
This is warm water, you're going to rub it on to the saddle soap block
and then you're going to go over very quickly, quick, quick, quick,
and then start a circular motion because we don't want to get any lines.
-So like I'm waxing a car then?
-Like you're waxing a car, yes.
-Is that all right, squeeze that out?
Rub it on the block.
And now you're going to whiz, whiz, whiz.
-Whiz, whiz, whiz. Boom, boom, boom.
-Yes, yes, yes.
-You're doing a great job there.
-I told you, I've been watching you!
So how do I know I've got enough on there?
-Because that, to me, looks all right.
-It's looking really nice.
We're going to be aiming to get it down to this tone.
We're going to let it sit and dry and then do another coat.
OK. I can leave you with that, then?
-Yes, you can.
-I hope you enjoyed yourself.
I did, immensely.
-See you later.
A new visitor for The Repair Shop,
Canadian born Truusje Balcombe who now lives in Suffolk.
-Truusje has something very delicate made by her late father
that needs the attention of master craftsman, Matt Nichols.
Wow, so what have we got here?
So this is my father's stained-glass window.
Wow, so this is a beautiful piece.
It's been a bit beaten up unfortunately on a move from house.
-I can see that.
-It's quite broken everywhere.
But it's very special. So I'm hoping you'll fix it.
So what inspired your dad to start making stained-glass?
We used to live in a house in the city and it had beautiful
views over downtown Calgary, but on the side and at the back,
it overlooked other houses and my dad didn't like that.
So he went and took a leaded glass window-making course
and made this huge window to cover up this view so that he didn't have
to look at the neighbour's house any more.
And then he really got the bug and he would make many,
many, many stained-glass windows!
-Yes. So by the time he died in 1988,
the house was covered in stained-glass windows everywhere.
I can already picture that, just a really colourful and lovely view.
Dad and I did a bit of the piece together,
-picked the colours way back when.
I remember him drying this and I really liked it because of the boats,
so we did the colours together.
The colours that you chose are really vibrant, really nice.
-Pretty sure when you've got natural light coming from it...
Yeah, it's very pretty.
And all of his work was really vibrant.
So whereabouts is this going to go?
So we have a cottage in Suffolk and it has an annexe which is actually
-where my mum stays when she comes to visit.
And she is actually over at the moment.
-So what we're hoping is that we can kind of surprise her
and put this glass window up in the annexe so she can wake up every
-morning and look at it.
It's quite emotional really because when I look at it,
I just remember how happy he was when he was making them.
I'd like it to look like Daddy's stained-glass window again.
-Leave it with me and I'll see what I can do.
Matt wants to salvage as much of the original lead work as possible.
That means reshaping any bent metal to safely hold the glass in place.
Right, in order to push this lead that way again,
I think I'm going to try to take some of this putty out.
You can really see how the lead is like moving around and the glass is
moving around but there's definitely a lot of play in it.
It's not... It's not a quick process.
If Matt can't get the original lead to bend back into place,
he'll have to re-lead from scratch.
Right, so let's have another look.
So in order to get this in, I'm going to actually cut a tiny bit of
the glass out.
There we go. A tiny bit out.
..it's more likely to go in.
Very close, isn't it?
There we go.
To be honest, that was the most difficult part there.
Now I can push it back like that,
so it's nice and comfortable in there and then we roll down
the edge of the lead like that.
Steve is getting to grips with the toy steam roller that has neither
steamed nor rolled for 40 years.
He's working on one of the engine's most vital components, the safety valve.
The nut that holds the spring seems to be quite loose.
And this is supposed to then just slip straight out
and it's absolutely corroded up.
So I'm going to try tapping it in the vice to see if I can
just release it now.
That's come out very well.
I've got to clean it all up, make sure that it slides really
easily and also I've got to put a new rubber washer in, there, which
will, when that springs down, it will then form a seal and then the
steam won't release unless it's too high a pressure and then it will release.
Now Steve's eased up the valve, he must carefully clean the engine
and the rest of the steam roller's components.
After several hours of cleaning and reassembling,
the steam roller is finally ready for a trial run.
I've just filled it with water.
I'm going to put two of these paraffin tablets that burn
and going to light it up.
This hasn't worked for donkey's years, so...
It's quite interesting to see whether it's going to work now!
I hope it will.
I've cleaned all the mechanical parts and the piston
was completely seized up.
I'm sure that was one of the reasons why it wasn't working.
I can hear some steam.
That's the whistle, here.
While the whistle's working,
the steam seems no closer to making the steam roller move.
I've blown the burner out.
I think it should have started going there, so I'm going to let it cool
down and I'm going to take it apart again and have a look and see why it
But there was certainly enough pressure there built up to run it.
I'm hoping it's something simple.
I don't know what it is at the moment without taking it apart.
Suzie has been restoring a set of well loved,
but well-worn design icons.
All the leather panels are rejuvenated,
and the chrome frames are shining.
Now, she's reuniting them to create three complete chairs once again.
-Are you free?
-I'm always free for you, girl.
-Is there a chance you could come and help me with this job, please?
What I've got to do is to rivet these tags on around this chair.
-So, would you be kind enough to...
-..hold it? Lovely.
The final leather panel is ready to be secured to its frame.
So, the key here is not to move the chair.
Oh, I just moved it, didn't I?
-Are you up for this?
-I'm very up for this!
If we don't get this right, when you sit on it...
-It's going to break.
All right, let's have a look and see what we've got going on under there.
-What about...? You go test it out.
-Can you sit on it?
-Just don't jump on it.
No, I'll just sit on it.
Here we go.
-That's all right.
-I needed somebody to test it.
I wasn't sure that anyone would want to.
Owner, Jane, is back to see the chairs that mean so much to her and her mother.
-Good to see you.
I'm a little bit nervous, a bit excited.
-Why are you nervous?
Just hoping they come through as well as I expect it.
-There's no pressure, there.
-No pressure at all.
-Shall we? OK.
-Are you ready?
-I'd love to see.
Wow! They just look brand-new.
That is amazing.
Stunned at how different they look and how amazing.
cos they really were in a totally, very sorry state.
My mum would be over the moon.
And, my mum is in a nursing home now - dementia.
I mean, she won't recognise... I hope she'll recognises them,
but I know that they're restored and
she'd be absolutely tickled pink that they're back in use.
Bless ya. Come here, girl.
-You'll make me cry.
-It's good to see, it's good to see.
She will be absolutely overjoyed.
-I promised I wouldn't cry.
You know, it's something I'll always keep and always have because it's
part of her.
I'm pleased that you feel so deeply...
-..about the chairs.
-It makes what I was able to do, worth that much more for you.
-Yeah. It's incredible, it really is.
-Yeah. What a lucky find.
-Thank you for bringing these in.
-Thank you. Thank you so much. I can't thank you enough.
Such a pleasure.
Suzie might have delivered her repair safe and sound,
but Matt is all at sea with a stained-glass window.
He's attempting to replace the broken sail.
One of the issues I've got with this,
is I don't actually have the exact colour for the sail.
So, I've got another piece of glass here,
which is a fairly good match.
It's a very good match for the inner part like there,
but it's not a good match for that.
However, if I put two layers of this on,
I've got pretty much the exact match, which is absolutely perfect.
It involves widening the lead, as much as I can,
just to accommodate two bits of glass.
As Truusje and her father both came up with the colour scheme to this in the design,
this is one part that I really, really want to get right.
I can really imagine Truusje watching her father cut,
and I learnt from my father as well, so...
I've definitely got a similar experience to her.
So, I've scored the top of it, and tapping underneath,
just really releases it,
and it causes the crack to go through the whole of the glass.
So I'm just doing this, to the underside of it,
and I think that's gone all the way through, so I'm just going to, yeah,
there you go. It's all going to come apart.
All broken. I'm just going to take this bit,
and hopefully it's all going to slot in.
Here, just checking. Going over the top there, yeah.
That looks perfect.
There we go. The second piece, hopefully, it's going to be all right.
I'm a bit concerned because when you're kind of pushing glass,
that's got a thin end to it, you're always worried about breaking it, so...
So here, I'm just going to mould the lead over.
Very happy with the way it's come out.
Across the workshop,
Steve has been struggling to get the vintage toy steam-roller moving.
After some careful tweaking, he's ready to try firing it up again.
This is the second test of the steam roller and I'm hoping it's going to
work this time.
I've tightened and adjusted some of the seals and valves.
I've come outside because it does make a lot of smoke and steam.
This time the engine flickers into life...
..but not for long.
I'm trying to work out at the moment why, when I spin it,
it will start going, and start going really quickly,
and then it slows down again.
I think what's happening is, is that it builds up a head of steam,
runs and uses up that energy, and then that dissipates,
and then it slows down and stops again.
An hour of tinkering later, Steve comes to a difficult realisation.
This 85-year-old mechanism is no longer powerful enough to move the toy.
I probably could get this going but it means taking all the old
parts off and renewing them.
And I'm not happy about that.
I think it's more important to keep this in original condition.
And, because it looks lovely like this.
And I'd be really, really happy to have this up on my shelf.
The steam roller has passed down the owner's family line for 85 years.
And with plans to keep passing it on,
Dieter is back to collect his treasured heirloom.
-How are you?
I'm fine, thank you.
-And how are you?
-I'm very well, thank you.
I've really enjoyed working on your steam roller.
And, let's have a look at it.
You've done some magic with it.
Thank you. See this, you know.
When we, when I first came, you said, well, you're trying to
maintain the ageing of it...
-..that you can see and you've done that.
-But it's fantastic, you know.
I don't know how you've done it, but, yes.
What would your father think of this now,
and you looking after it the way you've looked after it?
I think, you know, he would be really, really proud that I looked
after it, and that I'm also trying to pass it on,
that I want to pass it on to my son, to kind of create this tradition.
I do hope, I can only say I do hope he will treasure it as much as I did,
and my dad did.
So, I have worked on the mechanical parts of this.
-And I have fired it up a few times...
-We've had a few issues with it, though.
-It does run to an extent...
-It doesn't actually drive along, but this spins around.
Yeah. At the end of the day, this was, this was, you know, I mean,
it was intended to be fired up, I mean,
I would be fine trying to fire it up and see what happens.
I'm really up for it.
When was the last time you saw it fired up?
It's probably, 40 years, you know I feel I'm too old.
But you know, it probably is.
That is really fantastic.
Isn't that amazing?
God, thank you.
Thank you, that's really good.
You've done a brilliant job, thank you very much.
Stained glass craftsman, Matt, has been overhauling a nautical window
steeped in family history.
The glass has all been cemented into place and Matt is giving the piece a
I'm absolutely ecstatic how this has come out.
Just the vibrancy of colour, it's so bright and happy and kind of joyous.
It's really magical, actually.
Glass is a fantastic medium to be working with.
The window is carefully transported to Suffolk
where Truusje is awaiting its arrival.
Today is a particularly poignant day for us to look at the restored window.
It's the anniversary of my mum and dad's wedding, but also, very sadly,
the anniversary of my dad's death.
..it's a pretty special day in many ways and a very sad day
but I'm hoping for both my mum and I, it'll mean so much more
to be able to look at Dad's work again looking beautiful.
Truusje has kept the restoration a complete secret from her mum, Ruth.
-What is she going to get?
-I don't know.
-You're not in on this either?
Oh, my goodness!
-What have you got?
-This is the big secret.
-What is it?
They've fixed Daddy's window!
-Look at it!
Oh, my gosh!
Isn't that incredible?
Oh, it looks beautiful.
Wow, look at that.
-Look how beautiful.
-Isn't that gorgeous?
We were married for 35 years.
To have this as a legacy from my husband, you know, it was a broken piece.
And now it's a beautifully restored piece of stained glass done by my husband.
And I get to see it on my wedding anniversary.
-I can't believe it's happened on this day,
because it feels like I'm giving you something to celebrate rather than
feel really sad about it.
-Love you too.
-Grandpa's work, Ollie, what do you think?
-Isn't it amazing?
What could be a really, really sad, sad, hard day for her I think has
turned into quite a celebration of my dad's life.
And particularly his work.
And it was just so lovely to see her face light up.
She's so pleased and I think she feels like Dad's right next to her at the moment.
Look how the light shines through it.
Isn't it beautiful?
-I hope somehow your dad knows.
I'm sure he does.
Join us next time as more precious pieces are rescued...
-I love it.
-..and their cherished memories restored...
..in The Repair Shop.