In the second of our columns offering thinly disguised and often unwanted careers advice we met with antique wood restorer Dave Bevan of Regency Antiques in Stourbridge (the town also known for producing Pop Will Eat Itself and The Wonder Stuff).
Regency Antiques is an incredible aladdin's cave/treasure trove for all manner of old wood. Victorian Doors, Stained glass windows and unusual items of furniture are all painstakingly restored to their former glory. It can be a grungy and time consuming transformation - a door can take a day or more to restore, depending on its initial level of decrepitude! What you end up with is simply, a beautifully rich and in a world of mass market composites, a unique and rare asset for your house.
Whether you're standing up or sitting down chances are unless you've opted for a Barrett Home you'll be within reaching distance of some old wood. If you are and it's not looking too great, Dave can probably do something about that for you.
Regency Antiques is pretty easy to find, situated on the main Stourbridge road. They have their own forecourt parking in front of their shop. And you know if nothing else we are sticklers about parking if we're going to be carting chunks of ancient wood to the car.
Old English Oak Shutters
Outsideleft: How did you get into this line of business?
Dave Bevan: I started in the antique and second hand trade over 30 years ago from an 8 foot local market store. Progressing over time to purchasing our current shop and specialising in reclaimed period doors and stained glass. Over this long history I've handled just about everything from wade whimsies to full length library bookcasing and having shops both locally and in Oxford. For many years too we exported shipping container loads of stuff to the U.S.A.
I now operate solely from my shop in Stourbridge covering all aspects of period doors up to the 1930's these days there isn't much I can't accommodate to restore, Georgian, Victorian, 1930's doors. If necessary I'll make the doors using period timbers.
The restoration, altering, reshaping of period stained glass to create beautiful pieces for our clientele is a constant pleasure.
OL: How long is your typical working day?
DB: There's no typical day with me, each day is different, can be very frustrating but different. Each job takes as long as it takes so a day can be 8 hours or 13 it's down to the job in hand.
OL: Do you have a favorite aspect of your work?
DB: A favourite aspect would have to be completing one of Regency Antiques many stained glass doors.
OL: What's the best/go to piece of equipment you enjoy using?
DB: My favourite tool is not a fancy all singing all dancing electric machine. It's a scraper I keep razor sharp for stripping the paint finish off the doors.
OL: Who are your favorite type of clients?
DB: I love dealing with the customer who has the same passion for my period pieces that I do.
OL: What are you best known for professionally?
DB: Within my own trade and trades linked to mine i.e builders, decorators, interior designers, museums etc I'm well known and respected for my knowledge gained from years of handling these period pieces.
OL: Working from home it's such a trend. If you had to set up in my house, could you do it? What would the neighbours think?
DB: It's just about impossible to run this business from home, (legally any way). Running a stripping tank in the back garden is frowned upon and a planer/thicknesser in the front room is a big no no.
OL: Why would you say "Everybody needs their own Antique Wood Restorer?"
DB: Simply the doors I deal with have been around for well over 100 years and stood the test of time and with a little TLC will outlive us all. So why oh why would you want to destroy them in favour of some modern crap... Sorry! Thats the passion sneaking out again.
OL: *Knowing us and the outsideleft office as you do. Can you even give me any idea of the annual/monthly/daily/hourly cost of having our own Antique Wood Restorer? We have a lot of dodgy wood here...
DB: Average price for a stripped four panel victorian door is £95 or £135 if you have them fully waxed finish.
Regency Antiques is located at:
116 Stourbridge Rd,
Stourbridge DY9 7BU
You can find them on the web at www.regency-antiques.co.uk
Hamilton High was born on Doheny Ave in the gutter, is a poet, writer and observer of popular culture. Likes fashion and cares less for style. He's on the move, he's an alter ego and we hardly ever hear from him.