Thursday, 16 June 2016

A Sentimental Man

My Dad did not appear to be a sentimental man. His coldness and lack of affection for his children I put down to his own childhood and life experiences. He spent 18 years in the army, the end of his career coinciding with the end of the second world war. He never went into detail, with me at least, about his army experiences, but he didn't need to elaborate on what he had seen and done.

He was nearly 48 when I was born and I think I came as a bit of a shock. We muddled along okay, given that I share his forthright temperament. But I can't ever remember him sitting or playing with me or indeed ever really talking to me until I was a young adult and could no longer be ignored. I say this not in an overly critical way, as I understand now what made him the man he was.

That's him back row, second from right. A picture celebrating a win for his army boxing team in 1933.

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered whilst clearing out his house after his death, every birthday and Christmas card I had ever sent him tucked away in his sideboard drawer. He surprised me again a month later, when a pre-ordered Christmas present arrived for my five month old son Jack. A little rocking chair with a small brass label on it 'TO JACK FROM GRANDAD CHAS'.

The little chair is now 27 years old and has a tremendous value to me and my son. So last week I decided it needed some TLC to restore it and protect it. About time!

The varnish top coat had become a nasty semi shiny vision in orange and there were scrapes and scratches all over the little chair.

I took it outside and gave it a thorough rub down then removed all the dust with a wet cloth.

I didn't want to re-varnish the chair, I really don't like that shininess, I feel it cheapens the look. So I popped into town and picked up some Briwax, which you all probably know is an easy to use heavy duty wax. It comes in many different natural wood shades and also in clear. I wanted to keep the wood dark so I opted for their Jacobean shade which looks black in the tin but comes up a really nice deep dark brown.

I applied a good coat of the wax, then left it to soak into the wood. Buffed it up then applied another coat.
I also washed and pressed the little cushion for the chair which I'd had made to match Jack's nursery decor back in the day.

I'm super pleased with the chair, it looks a proper family heirloom now. Plus I had the bonus of thinking about my Dad all the time I worked on the chair.


  1. A day's work well spent - it looks fabulous :)

  2. My own father was similar. Very aloof and 'stiff upper lip'. As I was away at school, I only saw him during the holidays when our conversations were 'Hello old chap, home for holidays?' or 'Well, cheerio old chap, back to school eh?'. Fathers were different then.

  3. I much enjoyed reading your post and seeing Jack's chair being restored. My dad was in the RAF and also had some of that stiff upper lip about him. He was away a lot, so we didn't see him much, but I don't know, I think I prefer that to the idea of some new hipster dad, gushing his emotions all over the place! He died three weeks after my son was born, and I was so happy that he knew he had a grandson, even if he never saw him.