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If you want some metal or wood object repaired or restored, would you take it to just any handyman? Or would you look for someone who has specialized abilities and knowledge to refurbish a really old piece, or possibly an antique or even something that you don’t think has much value?
Meet Walter Fender, owner and sole proprietor of Renovation and Restoration, as of 2001. Felder explains that from the time that when he was eight years old, he began fixing and restoring bicycles and other broken objects from whatever materials were at hand. When he was 12, he had already been repairing automobiles with his father. At 15, he was being paid for repairing automobiles. Felder stated that his father had a significant impact in allowing him to model his various techniques.
His appreciation for wood especially originated from living in a colonial home as he was growing up. He studied many books on wood working techniques.
Felder says “there are very few items that I’m not been able to fix.” The one piece he could not fix was a plant stand which had been constructed from tree branches. The branches were broken at the curving point which was essential to the integral, bonding adhesion of the branch.
Felder started a joint venture with another craftsman in October 1999, specializing in metalwork and wood restoration. They eventually settled in a building that was called the Woodwright Shop, a storefront which displayed in the front window antiques, collectibles, old furniture from the 1600’s to the 1800’s and primitives. Primitives were utilitarian (something that was necessary for living) in the early settlement and colonization of the new land. There were wash stands, rockers, and washboards, usually coated with a milk paint finish. All of these items he wanted to repair or whatever to create an even better piece.
While he still renovates metal objects, the natural clientele wants wood repair.
Felder showed this writer a safe he had renovated. He explained that the original specifications were sent to three safe companies. The purpose of this was to have the safe’s locks created as originally designed, but modified, at the customer’s desire. This is one reason why the craftsman can’t always tell you how much time is involved in the restoring process.
When a customer comes into his shop wanting to have their object to become more valuable than it was presented, he sits down with each individually and informs them of the nature of his work and of the successes of his previous projects.
Felder makes it a point to tell them up front, what he can do and can’t do. If an object was a real antique, over 100 years old, he will ask then certain questions. He wants to know if possible, where the object originated from, the name of the manufacturer, and who commissioned the piece.
He explains that the original finish and the patina in the wood itself makes an item worth more in value. Patina oxidation occurs over a long period of time. He feels it’s important for the piece’s true qualities be explained.
Felder further explains “that so much of our history and knowledge of workmanship is involved” in the work he performs. He believes in providing a client with the necessary solutions for a possession’s enhanced value.
Felder can be reached at 309-682-1062 or at Watrenoresto@gmail.com.