The Repair Shop expert lifts the lid on most difficult restoration
The Repair Shop team tackle 100-year-old harmonium
Over the years the stars of BBC’s The Repair Shop have found themselves met with many tricky restorations.
Now, one of the experts has detailed his “most difficult” restoration while answering some questions on the show’s official Instagram account.
David Burville has tackled many organ and mechanical repairs during his time on the BBC show, but it was actually his very first restoration that he struggled with the most.
He explained: “The most difficult repair that I’ve done in the barn, actually, was the very first repair – the folding harmonium.”
Completing a repair on camera was also a new experience for the professional organ builder. He added: “It was a different environment, which I wasn’t really used to and the condition of the harmonium was terrible.”
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Viewers may remember the portable harmonium that was brought in by a guest, which she estimated was “about 100 years old” and had been in their family for “about that time”.
And like all of the treasured heirlooms and objects, it had an interesting story behind it.
The guest admitted that her “father had six brothers and one sister” and “at Christmas they used to carry this portable harmonium and sing and play in the streets and have a bit of a knees up.” Each of the siblings had their own song to sing during this time.
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Upon examining the item, David confirmed that these types of harmoniums “were made in the 1800s onwards.” But fellow expert and The Repair Shop presenter Jay Blades was quick to admit: “I think you’ve got your work cut out with this one.”
In the Instagram Q&A, David went on to describe the harmonium as “well used, well loved” and certainly “very worse for wear.”
As he went on to restore the precious item back to its former glory, he discovered that the leather was “very badly damaged.” However, the wooden parts appeared to be in a more “reasonable condition.”
Viewers watched as the expert was able to remove a number of screws that were rusted in solid and remake some of the smaller parts to give it a new lease of life.
He suggested: “There was a lot of work to do on it and it was very, very, very bad. But wonderful to see the owner’s face once it was done – that was magic.”
The Repair Shop airs on BBC One, with previous episodes available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
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