Episode 6 The Repair Shop


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Episode 6

Jay Blades and the team repair a water-damaged rosewood table, an antique French steamboat and a much-loved but threadbare panda bear that holds many cherished memories.


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Welcome to The Repair Shop,

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where cherished family heirlooms are brought back to life.

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This is the workshop of dreams.

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Home to furniture restorer Jay Blades.

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Nowadays, everybody spend a fortune on stuff that, once it's broken,

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they just bin it, but everybody has something that means too much to be

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thrown away, and that's where we come in.

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Working alongside Jay

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will be some of the country's leading craftspeople.

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Every piece has its own story.

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It's amazing to think that some of my work becomes part of that story.

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I've always played with things,

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I've always repaired things, and I just love it.

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There is a real pleasure in bringing people's pieces back to life again.

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Each with their own unique set of skills...

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Right tool for the right job.

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..they will resurrect,

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-revive...

-Come on, man.

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..and rejuvenate

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treasured possessions

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and irreplaceable pieces of family history.

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Wow! She's fantastic!

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Bringing both the objects...

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This is what I remember.

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..and the memories that they hold...

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-Wow!

-..back to life.

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Oh, my God!

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In The Repair Shop today,

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Will has his work cut out with an antique table.

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There are some jobs that you think are a really good idea

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and then halfway through you just think, "Oh, my gosh!"

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While Julie and Amanda attempt to breathe new life into a precious

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50-year-old cuddly toy.

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We've been waiting for this for a long time.

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But first, The Repair Shop is taking delivery of a real collector's item,

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belonging to Betty Raymond and her son, Michael.

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-Hello.

-Hello.

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-I'm Steve, hi.

-Hello. I know you can't shake my hand.

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-Pop it on the table here...

-Thank you.

-..whatever it is.

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-What have we got here?

-OK, this is an antique steam gunboat

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-that my parents found some years ago.

-Oh, my word.

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This is fantastic.

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Part of the rudder. That's good.

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We've got a cannon and another cannon.

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I found it on the beach at Goring-by-Sea in 1952.

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-Right.

-It was just that part, protruding from the sand.

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My husband said, "Don't touch it, don't touch it, it will go bang."

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But I stayed with it

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and eventually that was what came out from the sand.

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It was absolutely buried.

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-Have you researched the history?

-We tried.

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My husband wrote to the address that is on the stern of the boat

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but we never got a reply.

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And have you ever had it working?

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Yes, in the boating lake in Poole Park.

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Michael was two at the time and we took it down and had it going.

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Would you like to see it running?

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I'd love to see it running, yes.

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After my husband died, I'd had it for a few years

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and I passed it over to Michael to look after.

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And then take it to his son, to keep it in the family.

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-Yes.

-Because it's such an unusual piece of history.

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Absolutely. So I'm going to really enjoy this project.

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Wonderful. That would be great.

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-Thank you very much for coming in.

-Thank you very much.

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-Thank you.

-Thanks very much.

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Built by French toymakers Radigue & Mathieu,

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this steam-powered battleship is at least 125 years old.

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But the years of being buried under a Sussex beach

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have clearly taken their toll.

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The first thing Steve needs to do is strip off all the components

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and find out if the boat is seaworthy.

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Steve. I heard you need a bucket?

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-I did.

-Full of water.

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-I do. Yeah.

-Why?

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I just fill it with water to see if it's watertight and basically

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-what I need you to do is put your finger over that hole there.

-OK.

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-Have you got your finger in the right...

-I've got it in the...

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Look, I'm going to show you.

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-It's there, right?

-That's the right one, yeah.

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-OK.

-Fill her up.

-Right, yeah.

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Right, I think that's enough. How's that looking?

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That's all right, actually. There's no water in the bucket, is there?

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Lift that up.

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-Nothing.

-That's absolutely brilliant.

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If you can stay there for about half an hour and just...

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THEY LAUGH

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The Repair Shop takes in all manner of artefacts

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steeped in family history.

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But not many of them span four generations.

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Mark and Carol Bentley have brought along a much-loved

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200-year-old heirloom,

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which they hope the team can restore to its former glory.

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Will, we've got a table.

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-Lovely table.

-Thank you.

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-Looks like it's standing up on all three legs, so...

-Just about.

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If we leave it too much longer, I think we'd have pieces rather

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-than a complete table.

-I see.

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-Where did you get it from?

-It came from my mother.

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Before her, her grandmother

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and, before her, my great-great-grandmother.

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So this looks like a triangular top but I presume these...

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Yeah, these come up.

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Looks like rosewood to me.

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The thing with the rosewood is it's quite a dark wood,

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but, as time goes on, it really lightens

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and it goes this really nice blonde colour,

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which looks lovely but it's really tricky to then patch certain areas.

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Oh.

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And it looks like we're missing a massive patch of veneer

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from the inside.

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-That's the most serious problem.

-If you leave that with us,

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we will let you know when it's ready to be picked up.

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-Great, lovely.

-Thank you very much for coming in.

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-Thanks, Will.

-Cheers, thanks.

-Thank you.

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To get a clear view of the beautiful veneered top,

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Will first deep cleans the table, which reveals a challenging issue.

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You can actually see where everything is quite light

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but there are areas where it's quite dark,

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and the only way to make that light again is to bleach it out.

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Bleaching isn't really my favourite task.

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It's something I've used sort of as a last resort.

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To get the table back to its best,

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Will has to colour match some rosewood veneer.

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So right now, I'm putting on the first bleach.

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What that does is it soaks into the wood

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and actually makes it look a lot darker.

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And once that's dried in about 20 minutes, half an hour,

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then you put on bleach B and then that turns it lighter.

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So I'm really pleased with this.

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I know that this looks really bleached out and a lot lighter

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than the table, for now.

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However, once I neutralise this

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with a bit of water and white vinegar,

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you'll see it's not actually too far off, is it?

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That looks pretty good. I've actually surprised myself in a way.

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But with a 200-year-old wooden piece like this,

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even a seemingly straightforward job has hidden problems.

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I'm not sure what to do.

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Instead of patching it there...

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-Yeah.

-I am considering on

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patching it there,

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so taking it right up to that line of inlay.

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-Really?

-Yeah.

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-Seems like quite a big, big job to me. I don't know.

-Gosh.

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There are some jobs that you think are a really good idea

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-and then halfway through you just think...

-"Why did I start this?"

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.."Oh, my gosh!"

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The possessions we treasure most

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are often those that represent a connection to loved ones.

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Next to arrive at the repair shop is Jill Padmore,

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with an adored childhood friend in need of some serious TLC

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from soft toy restorers Julie and Amanda.

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This is Panda.

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I had Panda when I was one.

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My father bought me Panda.

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As you can see,

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he's been well-loved and well-cherished over the years.

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-He's sweet.

-Sadly, my father died when I was nine.

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And...

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He's very precious to you for that reason.

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Yeah, he's very precious because I didn't really come to terms with my

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father's death for probably about 20 years.

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But Panda, throughout that time, when I couldn't talk about him,

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he was always there.

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We didn't have to have a conversation. He was my connection.

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I knew that my father, who loved me, had bought me the panda.

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So he knows everything?

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He knows everything and there's a lot of tears shed on him.

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He's a very special panda. Deserves to be looking beautiful again.

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-Did he have a little red tongue?

-He had a little red tongue, yeah.

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We had tea parties, you see,

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so I think obviously during a tea party he must have lost his tongue.

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-Enough that he can sit up?

-Well, he never did sit up by himself.

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-Oh, right.

-He always had to be propped up.

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I just want to be able to, you know, cuddle and love him again...

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Absolutely, we understand.

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..and pass him on to my son as well.

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I just want to reassure you that we won't change his look

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or his character.

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He will still be the panda that you remember.

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-Aww.

-We'll look after him.

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-He'll be fine.

-Don't worry, we will look after him.

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-We will.

-Thank you.

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Come on, Panda. You're with us now for a little while.

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-Thank you very much.

-No, you're more than welcome.

-You're welcome.

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I feel as though I'm, sort of, honouring Dad's memory, really.

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And being able to pass him onto my own son is...

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..you know, is very special.

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The first step for Julie and Amanda is to carefully unpick this

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distinguished old friend and remove all of his stuffing.

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No going back, as they say.

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-I know.

-It has to be done, though, doesn't it?

-I know.

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That's the thing. I always think it's lovely when you first

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-undo seams that you see the fur as it would have been...

-Yes!

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..cos that's the bit tucked inside.

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-How cute is that?

-Yeah!

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Just that last little bit.

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-Yeah. There we go.

-OK.

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There he is in two pieces.

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Well, there you go.

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-You wouldn't believe that all came out of him, would you?

-No.

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-Bear innards.

-Good job. Back to the unpicking, then?

-Yeah.

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Back at his bench, Will has made a bold decision

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about the rosewood table.

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So, I'm going to take a giant leap

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and remove the veneer on the inside.

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Veneer of this age can be especially stubborn to remove,

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but Will's got a trick up his sleeve.

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So the iron is melting and softening the glue underneath the veneer.

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You can sort of just roll it up like that.

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But there's a risk of me damaging the surrounding area,

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which is what I don't want to do

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because I might end up having to replace the entire top.

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HE EXHALES AND LAUGHS

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Right, I am happy to see the back of that process.

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Now, Will can begin to apply the rosewood veneers

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he bleached earlier.

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This is the point where, almost the point of no return.

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Measured 50 times and cut once.

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It's going to pay off, it's going to pay off.

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It's really tricky because if I cut everything symmetrically,

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it definitely wouldn't fit.

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So I'm actually having to partly use my imagination

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and partly just go with the feel of the table top.

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What I'll do now is put some glue on the back and then clamp it down

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because I don't want any air pockets or pockets of loose glue.

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Sweet.

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Steve is painstakingly reviving the 19th-century toy battleship that was

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discovered on a beach 65 years ago.

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I've already cleaned up one cannon.

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That's what it looked like before.

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It's come up quite nice.

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I've got to repair the propeller.

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It doesn't feel smooth.

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So I think the whole thing might need stripping out and cleaning.

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So how are you getting on with the other bits, then?

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Yeah, good. This is the actual main burner.

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So you put methylated spirits in there and you've got three flames

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coming up, which sits under here

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and heats up the tank.

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-Come on!

-Yeah.

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-Really?

-This is the piston.

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So the steam drives this piston,

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which goes up and down like that and actually turns this flywheel,

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which is attached to the propeller.

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-This piston...

-Piston.

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..is the really important piece.

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That was full of sand,

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but now I've cleaned it all out and it's as smooth as anything.

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So it's a matter of just putting everything back on now

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and firing it up.

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As Jay overseas repairs across the workshop,

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he's keen to find out if Will's big gamble on the rosewood table veneer

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has paid off.

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-This is like Christmas. Come on.

-You do that side, I'll do this side.

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-I'll let you do the last one.

-Yeah.

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-Oh, that looks nice.

-And it's flat.

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The only thing is, that goes in like that, doesn't it?

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Yeah, roughly.

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But we're still going to have that bit missing in the middle.

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-I can patch that.

-Can you?

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If I can do that, I can patch that.

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-All right, I'll leave you to it, then.

-Yeah.

-All right.

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Before the precious toy battleship is relaunched,

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Steve needs to be confident that its steam engine still works.

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After all, it's been out of action for almost 70 years.

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-So you're going to wait for it to get a pressure...

-Yeah.

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..and then the steam should go through?

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I've got Dom's welding mask here, so once it gets to a certain heat,

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I'm going to put on the...

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-Actually, I'm going to do it now!

-Yes, please.

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-Did you see that?

-Yeah, yeah, I saw it.

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-Come on!

-You can see it's got some energy there.

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-What's stopping it, do you reckon, then, Steve?

-I'm not sure.

-No?

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Because, obviously, it should go, shouldn't it?

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It's almost there, it's almost going.

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-Right.

-Back to the drawing board?

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What I'm going to do, I'm going to loosen up the propeller end

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because that might be causing too much friction.

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-Right, come on, then.

-OK.

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Over on Julie and Amanda's workbench,

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emergency surgery is being carried out

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on the threadbare 50-year-old panda.

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We have now lined all the body and the arms and legs.

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I will put some stuffing into this head.

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Julie will get his tummy panel into place

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and finish putting his paw pads in.

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We see pandas right back from early, early bear-making.

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I'd say as early as the '20s.

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This one came from the 1960s

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and I would say around the '60s, I think they had pandas at London Zoo,

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and, of course, all the children wanted a panda.

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So it's quite nice to see one that's survived.

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The fact that he's been played with so much and, you know,

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he's still in reasonable condition.

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He is.

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Now that I've got more stuffing behind there,

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there's a bit more substance to his muzzle.

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I'm going to be able to stitch his little nose into place

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and his tongue will be going there.

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This is how he would have originally looked,

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so I'm really pleased with how that's looking.

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He'll be ready to pop it back onto his body when Julie's finished.

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-That's if she catches up.

-And stops faffing.

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Yeah, she's good at faffing!

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We've reached a tricky stage now.

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We have this area here around the edge of the fabric which,

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quite delightfully, is as his fur would have been.

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However, if we don't match this properly,

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that's going to show and it's not going to look right if it shows.

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White fluffy armpits are not a good look.

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No, it won't be quite right.

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Once I have stitched all the way to the top here,

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that will be, effectively, the stitching complete.

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And then I'll be able to turn it through

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and check that I did actually get it lined up.

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It's kind of a bit exciting.

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She's got her smug-mode look on.

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She's definitely confident.

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I'm a bit scared to look now, you're making such a thing. Oh!

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Look at that!

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Look, look. Well done.

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Will has made good headway

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on a much-loved 200-year-old rosewood table,

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handed down through four generations.

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But his work isn't done quite yet.

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Whilst I was dismantling this table top,

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I realised that one of the panels

0:19:010:19:03

sat prouder than the actual triangular surface.

0:19:030:19:07

I thought that it was actually warped and curved,

0:19:070:19:09

but instead I realised some of these hinges are actually bent.

0:19:090:19:14

So I thought, why not take them off,

0:19:140:19:16

get them into a clamp and see if I can clamp them flat?

0:19:160:19:19

That's almost perfect.

0:19:190:19:20

If I compare that to a hinge I haven't actually flattened out yet,

0:19:200:19:24

you can see the massive difference there.

0:19:240:19:27

Hopefully, they should all be just as easy to flatten out.

0:19:290:19:32

Once the hinges are back in place and the table reassembled,

0:19:370:19:42

Will and Jay have just enough time to add some finishing touches before

0:19:420:19:46

Mark and Carol return to collect it.

0:19:460:19:48

-Hello, Will. Nice to see you.

-OK, Will.

-Nice to see you.

0:19:500:19:53

-All right.

-Would you like to have a look?

-Yes, please.

-Yes.

0:19:530:19:57

Wow!

0:20:000:20:02

-That's beautiful.

-You have done a brilliant job, Will.

0:20:040:20:09

I just wish my mother was still around to see that,

0:20:090:20:12

and my grandmother as well.

0:20:120:20:13

Like me, they'd be lost for words.

0:20:130:20:16

I just didn't believe it would be...

0:20:160:20:19

Well, look that good.

0:20:200:20:22

-It's amazing.

-It was a pleasure to work on.

0:20:230:20:27

I really, really owe you for that.

0:20:270:20:30

Thank you.

0:20:300:20:31

If you're ever down our way, you're welcome for a coffee any time.

0:20:310:20:34

I might hold you to that!

0:20:340:20:37

I'm stunned by what Will's done with the table.

0:20:390:20:44

When he took that blanket off and we looked at the inlay...

0:20:440:20:47

-..I got very emotional.

-It's just brought it back to life.

0:20:480:20:51

It's as though it's just come out of the showroom.

0:20:510:20:54

And it just brings back so many memories of my mother and my grandmother.

0:20:540:20:58

The story doesn't finish here.

0:20:590:21:02

-It's four generations and counting.

-Mmm.

-Yeah.

0:21:020:21:06

Clockwork expert Steve has been engaged in an epic struggle

0:21:150:21:18

with a vintage toy battleship.

0:21:180:21:21

He's painstakingly cleaned up all of the components,

0:21:210:21:25

and although the boat's steam engine works,

0:21:250:21:27

it has so far refused to actually turn the propeller.

0:21:270:21:30

So, it's going to work this time?

0:21:330:21:35

Do you know what? I'm confident this time.

0:21:350:21:37

So do you know why it didn't work?

0:21:370:21:39

Yeah, the whole hull was slightly bent,

0:21:390:21:42

which meant that the actual propeller shaft

0:21:420:21:46

wasn't quite in line and it was binding.

0:21:460:21:48

I do trust you.

0:21:480:21:50

You ready? There we go.

0:21:500:21:53

OK.

0:21:550:21:57

It's coming out. That's a good sign.

0:21:590:22:01

MOTOR WHIRS

0:22:010:22:03

Come on, man!

0:22:030:22:05

Wow, that's fast, isn't it?

0:22:080:22:11

-Cor blimey!

-Feel the air.

0:22:110:22:12

Oh, wow. So in the water, that would just go like that, wouldn't it?

0:22:140:22:18

-It would go like a rocket.

-That's a point, yeah.

0:22:180:22:20

-It might go really fast.

-Go too fast! I like that.

0:22:200:22:23

-I'm chuffed to bits.

-You should be, man. Well done. That's a good job.

0:22:230:22:27

-Michael's going to be well-chuffed with that.

-Really?

-No, well done.

0:22:270:22:30

The conditions on the local duck pond are perfect for a vintage toy

0:22:370:22:42

steamboat's relaunching ceremony.

0:22:420:22:44

Betty and Michael are back to see how Steve has got on with the

0:22:460:22:48

restoration of their much-loved family heirloom.

0:22:480:22:52

Hello, Betty.

0:22:520:22:54

Hello, Michael.

0:22:540:22:55

-How are you doing, Michael?

-Good to see you.

-You all right?

0:22:550:22:58

-Hello.

-You all right?

0:22:580:23:00

I'm really excited to see this.

0:23:000:23:03

I don't know if you've been as excited as Steve.

0:23:030:23:05

He was like a little boy in a sweet shop and a toy shop.

0:23:050:23:08

I've never seen him this excited.

0:23:080:23:09

So we're going to show them?

0:23:090:23:11

-Yeah, OK.

-Oh, wow!

0:23:110:23:14

Look at that.

0:23:140:23:16

I haven't polished it all up. I didn't want it gleaming.

0:23:160:23:19

This is just how I'd like it if it was mine.

0:23:190:23:22

It's amazing, it's brilliant.

0:23:220:23:25

It's really brought it back to life.

0:23:250:23:28

So what would your husband think of it now?

0:23:280:23:30

He would be absolutely thrilled to bits and beside himself.

0:23:300:23:34

He would have been absolutely out of this world.

0:23:350:23:39

Well, I'm going to fire it up now.

0:23:410:23:43

Once it's heated up, I'll launch it.

0:23:430:23:47

You're going to launch it? You're not going to let Michael launch it?

0:23:470:23:50

-Oh, come on!

-I don't want you to fall in.

0:23:500:23:52

Oh, you don't want him falling in? All right.

0:23:520:23:54

Take the last bit of pleasure away from you.

0:23:540:23:55

Yes, it would, actually!

0:23:550:23:58

There we go.

0:23:580:24:01

Right, I'm going to put it in the water now.

0:24:010:24:03

Brilliant. Look.

0:24:130:24:16

That's great.

0:24:160:24:18

That's fantastic. I was just blown away.

0:24:240:24:27

To see it just chug off from his hands, it really was amazing.

0:24:270:24:33

Look at them, they're like two little schoolboys, aren't they?

0:24:350:24:39

Proper made-up.

0:24:390:24:42

It took me back

0:24:420:24:44

to the time when it was first put on the water

0:24:440:24:47

and I could see my husband and Michael,

0:24:470:24:52

and that's one of the most precious things there is, remembering.

0:24:520:24:56

Back in the workshop,

0:25:070:25:09

the repair of the old toy panda is almost finished.

0:25:090:25:13

There's just one thing missing.

0:25:130:25:16

So it's my job now to marry up head with said body.

0:25:160:25:21

This can be a little tricky at times.

0:25:210:25:23

Vintage fabrics do stretch over a period of time.

0:25:230:25:26

Now, we have stabilised this by lining it,

0:25:260:25:29

but we still have to make sure that, as we put it on,

0:25:290:25:32

we're not going to get any, you know, head to one side

0:25:320:25:36

or not fitting him properly,

0:25:360:25:38

otherwise he's going to have a crick in his neck forever.

0:25:380:25:41

-How are you doing?

-Just the last couple.

-Well done.

0:25:480:25:52

-There he is, all ready for his bow.

-Yeah, it's really good.

0:25:530:25:56

-I love doing this.

-Get the bow on him.

0:25:560:25:58

-It's our finishing touch, isn't it?

-Absolutely.

0:25:580:26:00

The final test to see if he's done.

0:26:000:26:02

The one thing Jill said was he never was able to sit up on his own.

0:26:020:26:05

We know we've got it right if he falls over.

0:26:050:26:08

-Right, OK.

-OK, are you ready?

-Yep, yep.

-Ready, steady...

0:26:080:26:12

BOTH: Perfect!

0:26:120:26:13

THEY LAUGH

0:26:130:26:16

With her son, Edward, Jill is back at the repair shop

0:26:160:26:20

ready to be reunited with the precious bear

0:26:200:26:23

that her late father gave her 50 years ago.

0:26:230:26:26

-Hello.

-Hello.

0:26:260:26:28

-Hello.

-How are you feeling?

0:26:280:26:30

Nervous, excited.

0:26:300:26:32

So you must be Edward, who's going to eventually own panda bear?

0:26:320:26:36

-Yes.

-So, are we ready?

0:26:360:26:39

You've been waiting for this for a long time.

0:26:410:26:43

Go on, then. Ready?

0:26:430:26:47

There you go.

0:26:470:26:49

Oh, my goodness me.

0:26:520:26:54

He's perfect.

0:26:570:27:00

He looks just...

0:27:000:27:01

-Bless you.

-Thank you so much.

0:27:050:27:08

You're more than welcome. It's a pleasure.

0:27:080:27:12

He looks better than I remember.

0:27:140:27:16

He looks better than I remembered.

0:27:160:27:19

-So now he looks like that, does it take you back?

-It does.

0:27:190:27:23

Just lovely that the connection you have with him and your father,

0:27:230:27:27

it's just like that link that you're always going to have

0:27:270:27:30

all the time you've got Panda.

0:27:300:27:32

It is because you go through a process when you're grieving and,

0:27:320:27:36

as I said, it feels like

0:27:360:27:39

he's the last jigsaw in the healing process...

0:27:390:27:41

-Yes.

-..after all these years. I'm so grateful to you.

0:27:410:27:45

You're welcome.

0:27:450:27:48

-The Repair Shop of dreams. Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:27:480:27:51

Thank you.

0:27:510:27:53

Come on, you. Come on.

0:27:570:28:00

They've just given me a piece of my childhood back

0:28:000:28:02

and a link to my dad that I've got, hopefully, for the rest of my life.

0:28:020:28:06

-It's the last piece of the jigsaw.

-Yeah, last piece of the jigsaw!

0:28:060:28:10

I knew they were the people to do it for me and I'm so very grateful.

0:28:100:28:14

Join us next time, as more treasured possessions are revived,

0:28:200:28:25

and their precious memories restored.

0:28:250:28:28

Furniture restorer Will Kirk takes on a rickety, water-damaged rosewood table, but the extent of the damage leaves him with a tough decision to make.

Resident clockmaker Steve Fletcher turns his hand to getting an antique French steamboat shipshape again after it was found buried on a beach over fifty years ago.

And after many hours of stitching and sewing, soft toy restorers Amanda Middleditch and Julie Tatchell reunite a much-loved but threadbare panda bear with its owner Jill, for whom the bear holds many cherished memories of her late father.