An Exquisite Restored Oak Dining Table

Exquisite Restored Oak Dining Table

I purchased this restored oak dining table back in 1996 while attending an auction. The table was the featured item at the auction and when I saw it I knew I wanted to add it to my personal collection. The magnificent lions paw feet, and hand carving around the outer edges made it a treasured piece.

Where the table had originated I do not know but it was found in an old Manitoba farmhouse and restored by the auction house for sale. They did a superficial job. Enough to make it look good for the sale. There were a few flaws here and there but the piece was  still stunning. I bought it and brought home. Shortly thereafter I moved from Calgary to Vancouver and the movers took this very heavy table apart for transport. The table never fit back together properly after that move and then when I moved back to Alberta it was taken apart again.

Wood is very sensitive to moisture and the humidity of the surroundings. Alberta and Vancouver have very dissimilar climates and the impact on my table was severe. A couple of large cracks developed across the table top. That combined with the table not fitting together and the chairs needing to be re-glued caused me to begin my search for a  quality furniture refinisher.

Full disclosure here, Rick Conklin is my brother Rick’s son and my company, OTR Web built the website for Master Furniture Repair. I will admit however that it was with some trepidation that I had my table and chairs delivered to Rick’s shop. I mean he had always just been “jr” to me and I even though I knew he liked to tinker with wood this was my treasured oak dining room table!

Furniture Refinishing Shop

The table was delivered to Rick’s Edmonton furniture refinishing shop and I then went up a few weeks later to see how he was making out with it. I got there to see my table fully apart and in a few hundred pieces and went, oh my. Rick reassured me that he knew how to put it back together and that he was personally sanding and finishing each part.  We looked at the chairs and determined that the seat pads needed to be reupholstered and Rick said he could arrange.  Feeling confident in what I had seen and the calm demeanor of Jr … I mean Rick I made my way south and back home and then off for some time in Mexico.

Upon my return to Alberta I connected with Rick and he told me my table and chairs were ready. I drove to his shop and he showed me the restored oak table and chairs. To say I was stunned would be an understatement. The workmanship was superb with careful attention to the smallest details. The two cracks across the tabletop were just gone! Even knowing where they were located I could not discern the repair.

My oak table and chairs are back in my home. Soon I will be finished some renovations in the house and once again I can entertain guests around my table. The joy of a magnificent piece of furniture with good friends around the table enjoying a fine meal. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Thanks Rick Conklin and your team at Master Furniture Repair for a first class restoration of my antique oak table and chairs.

Ian Conklin


Master Furniture Refinisher

Master Furniture Refinisher

In a consumer culture where people often choose lower-quality disposable furniture over handcrafted wood pieces, it might seem like wood furniture repair and refinishing services are part of a dying tradition. Master Furniture Repair & Refinishing Ltd.’s new owner, Rick Conklin, wants residents, business owners and visitors in Edmonton and surrounding areas to understand that this isn’t the case. Wood furniture restoration is making a comeback. Consumers have started to realize that wood furniture lasts longer and far exceeds in value similar cheaply-made disposable items. Master Finisher Steve Wheeler, who has more than 40 years of restoration experience under his belt, retains a solid presence at the shop and has no plans to retire yet. He has also taken Rick on as an apprentice so that a new generation can carry the knowledge and skills of this art form into the future.

A Rich History Founded on Persistence, Dedication and Excellence

Master Furniture has been a valued Edmonton institution since the late 1960’s. A young Steve Wheeler joined the business under the Schenk’s family brand name after he beganmaster furniture refinisher his career as a furnace painter and cabinet finisher. In 1968, after Casey and Ted Schenk initially refused to hire Steve, they changed their minds after he convinced them of his woodworking passion. As the decades passed, Steve’s dedication became evident with his growing skills and high-quality results. Today, Steve is a shining example of a consummate woodcraft artist who makes his own refinishing “shines,” handles traditional and modern tools with deftness and shows his respect for the trust that people place in him with an unwavering attention to detail.

Master Furniture Refinisher

Rick’s story starts with entrepreneurship–a family tradition emphasized by his grandfather who owned a moving company in the 1950’s. Rick followed in his grandfather’s footsteps to own two moving companies that he has since sold but that continue to enjoy excellent local brand recognition. Rick discovered his woodworking calling approximately 10 years ago when he brought in a piece of fine furniture for Steve to repair: “Within a short period of time he had sanded, repaired, color matched and added the finish,” explains Rick. “I was impressed. The only telltale [sign] that the repair had been done was the absence of an intricate gold inlay that ran down the length of the piece. I thanked him for the work–more than happy with the repair. Steve then held up his finger and walked away, returning with his artist brush and gold paint. After eyeing it up and down he very delicately applied the gold to match to perfection.”

Steve’s skills and artistry impressed Rick so much that he continued to bring Steve furniture and even set up his own fabricating shop where he honed skills in designing, prototyping and fabricating items utilizing wood, metal, plastics, fiberglass, leathers, webbing and lighter materials. Steve eventually became Rick’s mentor and friend. Rick, who had been fascinated by woodworking as a child, took each lesson to heart to create fantastic pieces for himself and others. After a sports injury, Rick decided to use his free time to learn more and eventually gained employment at a woodworking company. When Steve called him in May to tell him that owners wanted to sell the shop, Rick realized that it was too great an opportunity to pass up: “I did not hesitate,” explains Rick. “I am very excited to be working side by side with my mentor and look forward to the years to come.”

Reclaiming the Past: The People Who Seek Craftsmanship

Homeowners like Cary and Nancy Dougherty in Louisiana are a great example of one type of people who help guarantee the continuation of the wood furniture restoration tradition. As featured in “The Advocate,” the couple are fine art and antique collectors who focus primarily on stunning 18th-century furniture from England and Scotland. Over the years, they have had to seek out repair and refinishing services from master finishers to help them preserve their natural wood pieces. For serious collectors, art dealers, weekend “antiquers,” historians, interior designers, movers and many others, the skill of a master finisher means the difference between a piece falling apart at the seams from age-related deterioration…or looking its best for a lifetime.

Bringing Together the Old and the New

Anyone who has questions or a piece of furniture that needs care is welcome  at Master Furniture Repair & Refinishing Ltd. Rick has invested himself fully in this master/apprentice relationship and the business: “The shop had a major face-lift with new benches and tools,” explains Rick, “but offers the same great service.” Rick and his team also supply more than antique restoration services. They restore modern furniture made with a wide range of materials and even offer custom design and build services.

If you are looking for quality old world craftsmanship, then Contact Rick at Master Furniture Repair and Refinishing  … make it your place to call or visit.