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FURNITURE RESTORER/OWNER: Fixes Antique Wood Furniture Using 19th Century Techniques

About this video 

Bernice owns an antique furniture restoration business; most often, she's a one-woman operation unless it's an especially big job. She repairs & refurnishes old pieces using 19th century techniques, such as varnishes and shellac -- all done by hand. She advises: talk to people doing the job you're interested in, and visit their work environment.

Degree: Woodworking
Job Title: Furniture Restorer/Owner

Job Summary: Woodworkers and Furniture Finishers

Job Description

Woodworkers build a variety of products, such as cabinets and furniture, using wood. Furniture finishers shape, finish, and refinish damaged and worn furniture. They often work with antiques and must judge how to best preserve and repair them. They also do the staining and sealing at the end of the process of making wooden products.

Furniture finishers shape, finish, and refinish damaged, worn, or used furniture or new high-grade furniture to specified color or finish.

On-the-Job Training

1-3 years of training is required for woodworking. Less for furniture finishing.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$20,000 - $45,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
2 to 20 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Indoor, Physically demanding, Outdoor
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Detail oriented, Hand-eye coordination, Strength/stamina, Likes working with hands

Educational Path

Education requirement
Education Requirement
High school degree
Recommended majors
Recommended Majors
Woodworking
View Detailed Career Data

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='250'>Hi.</span> <span m='1200'>My</span> <span m='1350'>name</span> <span m='1500'>is</span> <span m='1630'>Bernice</span> <span m='1910'>Rappaport.</span> <span m='2660'>And</span> <span m='2980'>the</span> <span m='3090'>name</span> <span m='3310'>of</span> <span m='3460'>my</span> <span m='3580'>shop</span> <span m='3890'>is</span> <span m='4090'>Gepetto's</span> <span m='4740'>Antique</span> <span m='5160'>Restoration.</span> </p><p><span m='6500'>I've</span> <span m='6680'>been</span> <span m='6920'>doing</span> <span m='7260'>this</span> <span m='7600'>for</span> <span m='7900'>15</span> <span m='8520'>years.</span> <span m='9140'>And</span> <span m='9360'>I</span> <span m='9480'>take</span> <span m='10520'>old</span> <span m='10760'>furniture</span> <span m='11450'>and</span> <span m='12020'>restore</span> <span m='12330'>it.,</span> <span m='12980'>repair</span> <span m='13310'>damage</span> <span m='13760'>on it,</span> <span m='14220'>redo</span> <span m='14520'>the</span> <span m='14650'>finishes.</span> <span m='15330'>And</span> <span m='15440'>I do it</span> <span m='16370'>with</span> <span m='16560'>19th</span> <span m='17000'>century</span> <span m='17430'>techniques.</span> </p><p><span m='18800'>Nowadays,</span> <span m='19720'>things</span> <span m='19980'>are</span> <span m='20060'>done</span> <span m='20450'>with</span> <span m='20780'>water-based</span> <span m='21390'>spray</span> <span m='21810'>lacquers</span> <span m='22540'>and</span> <span m='23070'>polyurethanes.</span> <span m='24380'>And</span> <span m='24570'>in</span> <span m='24650'>the</span> <span m='24730'>19th</span> <span m='25140'>century,</span> <span m='25690'>they</span> <span m='25830'>used</span> <span m='26210'>varnishes</span> <span m='27330'>and</span> <span m='27510'>shellac.</span> <span m='28200'>And</span> <span m='28230'>all</span> <span m='28370'>the</span> <span m='28440'>finishes</span> <span m='28930'>were</span> <span m='29060'>done</span> <span m='29290'>by</span> <span m='29470'>hand.</span> <span m='30290'>And</span> <span m='30490'>so</span> <span m='30680'>it was</span> <span m='30810'>a</span> <span m='30850'>different</span> <span m='31170'>kind</span> <span m='31480'>of</span> <span m='32060'>process</span> <span m='32619'>and</span> <span m='33170'>different</span> <span m='33440'>materials</span> <span m='34160'>than</span> <span m='34600'>they use</span> <span m='34830'>today.</span> <span m='36170'>And</span> <span m='36300'>it gives</span> <span m='36650'>the</span> <span m='36700'>furniture</span> <span m='37430'>an</span> <span m='37530'>entirely</span> <span m='38070'>different</span> <span m='38610'>look.</span> </p><p><span m='39400'>A</span> <span m='39510'>typical</span> <span m='40000'>day</span> <span m='40640'>is</span> <span m='41970'>sort of</span> <span m='42360'>getting</span> <span m='42610'>myself</span> <span m='43040'>organized,</span> <span m='43900'>contacting</span> <span m='44500'>clients</span> <span m='44930'>that</span> <span m='45050'>I</span> <span m='45130'>need</span> <span m='45380'>to</span> <span m='45470'>contact,</span> <span m='48590'>and</span> <span m='48810'>then</span> <span m='49100'>actually</span> <span m='49440'>doing</span> <span m='49700'>the</span> <span m='49770'>work</span> <span m='50350'>on</span> <span m='50470'>the</span> <span m='50550'>furniture.</span> <span m='51040'>Right</span> <span m='51260'>now,</span> <span m='51410'>I</span> <span m='51530'>just</span> <span m='51800'>work</span> <span m='52030'>by</span> <span m='52140'>myself.</span> <span m='52710'>But</span> <span m='52840'>there</span> <span m='52970'>have</span> <span m='53160'>been</span> <span m='53320'>times</span> <span m='53620'>that</span> <span m='53760'>I've</span> <span m='53900'>had</span> <span m='54060'>five</span> <span m='54310'>or</span> <span m='54380'>six</span> <span m='54670'>people</span> <span m='55000'>working</span> <span m='55390'>for</span> <span m='55530'>me</span> <span m='55720'>when</span> <span m='55880'>we</span> <span m='56010'>do</span> <span m='56180'>large</span> <span m='56690'>jobs.</span> </p><p><span m='57650'>So</span> <span m='57740'>it's</span> <span m='57860'>a</span> <span m='57910'>balance</span> <span m='58250'>between</span> <span m='58560'>actually</span> <span m='58850'>working</span> <span m='59200'>in</span> <span m='59260'>the</span> <span m='59350'>shop</span> <span m='59670'>and</span> <span m='59810'>being</span> <span m='60070'>out</span> <span m='60250'>in</span> <span m='60320'>the</span> <span m='60410'>field,</span> <span m='60870'>either</span> <span m='61650'>working</span> <span m='62210'>at a</span> <span m='62690'>client's</span> <span m='63160'>home,</span> <span m='63710'>or</span> <span m='63940'>picking</span> <span m='64340'>up</span> <span m='64530'>work,</span> <span m='64855'>or</span> <span m='65180'>giving</span> <span m='65510'>estimates.</span> <span m='66090'>So</span> <span m='66920'>I</span> <span m='67150'>would</span> <span m='67310'>say</span> <span m='67520'>probably</span> <span m='69220'>25%</span> <span m='69970'>to</span> <span m='70110'>30%</span> <span m='70580'>of</span> <span m='70730'>my</span> <span m='70890'>time</span> <span m='71180'>is</span> <span m='71320'>outside</span> <span m='71730'>of</span> <span m='71800'>the</span> <span m='71880'>shop.</span> <span m='72260'>The</span> <span m='72350'>rest</span> <span m='72620'>is</span> <span m='72750'>inside</span> <span m='73180'>the</span> <span m='73230'>shop.</span> </p><p><span m='74350'>How</span> <span m='74530'>did</span> <span m='74680'>I</span> <span m='74730'>get</span> <span m='75000'>to</span> <span m='75090'>do</span> <span m='75410'>this?</span> <span m='77270'>Was</span> <span m='78200'>divorced.</span> <span m='78900'>And</span> <span m='80340'>my</span> <span m='81010'>most</span> <span m='81300'>recent</span> <span m='81590'>experience--</span> <span m='82120'>I</span> <span m='82340'>was</span> <span m='82480'>married</span> <span m='82740'>to</span> <span m='82860'>a</span> <span m='82930'>doctor,</span> <span m='83330'>so</span> <span m='83490'>I</span> <span m='83570'>had</span> <span m='83770'>some</span> <span m='83970'>experience</span> <span m='84890'>in</span> <span m='85250'>working</span> <span m='85570'>in</span> <span m='85690'>health</span> <span m='86000'>care.</span> <span m='86380'>So</span> <span m='86460'>when</span> <span m='86600'>I</span> <span m='86680'>first</span> <span m='87080'>moved</span> <span m='87410'>here,</span> <span m='88000'>I</span> <span m='88220'>worked</span> <span m='88520'>in</span> <span m='88600'>a</span> <span m='88620'>hospital.</span> </p><p><span m='89240'>It</span> <span m='89470'>wasn't</span> <span m='89950'>for</span> <span m='90090'>me.</span> <span m='90690'>Thank</span> <span m='90820'>God</span> <span m='91120'>I</span> <span m='91190'>got</span> <span m='91470'>laid</span> <span m='91740'>off.</span> <span m='92250'>It forces</span> <span m='92730'>you</span> <span m='93020'>to</span> <span m='93720'>reevaluate.</span> <span m='94850'>And</span> <span m='95460'>I</span> <span m='95900'>decided</span> <span m='96320'>to</span> <span m='96400'>go</span> <span m='96530'>back</span> <span m='96750'>to</span> <span m='96820'>school</span> <span m='97170'>to</span> <span m='97250'>do</span> <span m='97400'>some</span> <span m='97630'>kind</span> <span m='97900'>of</span> <span m='98430'>woodworking</span> <span m='99370'>and</span> <span m='99710'>sort</span> <span m='99890'>of</span> <span m='100010'>found</span> <span m='100430'>my</span> <span m='100600'>way</span> <span m='100940'>into</span> <span m='101190'>restoration.</span> </p><p><span m='102250'>If</span> <span m='102500'>I</span> <span m='102580'>were</span> <span m='102760'>to</span> <span m='102830'>give</span> <span m='103070'>some</span> <span m='103270'>advice</span> <span m='103565'>to</span> <span m='103860'>some people,</span> <span m='104370'>I</span> <span m='104500'>think</span> <span m='105950'>the</span> <span m='106260'>luckiest</span> <span m='106830'>thing</span> <span m='107020'>you</span> <span m='107130'>could</span> <span m='107290'>do</span> <span m='107540'>is</span> <span m='107650'>have</span> <span m='107800'>a</span> <span m='107860'>job</span> <span m='108220'>that you</span> <span m='108410'>enjoy</span> <span m='108900'>going</span> <span m='109210'>to</span> <span m='109340'>work</span> <span m='109640'>at</span> <span m='110090'>every</span> <span m='110470'>day.</span> <span m='111180'>The other</span> <span m='111280'>thing</span> <span m='111460'>that</span> <span m='111580'>I</span> <span m='111630'>wish</span> <span m='111860'>is</span> <span m='111990'>that</span> <span m='112960'>young</span> <span m='113260'>people</span> <span m='113570'>know</span> <span m='113810'>that</span> <span m='114150'>nothing</span> <span m='114520'>is</span> <span m='114700'>cast</span> <span m='115110'>in</span> <span m='115200'>stone.</span> <span m='117330'>Like</span> <span m='117680'>parts</span> <span m='117970'>of</span> <span m='118080'>your</span> <span m='118240'>life</span> <span m='118670'>change.</span> </p><p><span m='119320'>Your</span> <span m='119550'>career</span> <span m='119980'>changes.</span> <span m='120600'>And</span> <span m='121110'>you</span> <span m='121465'>could</span> <span m='122590'>learn</span> <span m='122890'>to</span> <span m='122990'>do</span> <span m='123310'>other</span> <span m='123560'>things.</span> <span m='124130'>And</span> <span m='124340'>sometimes</span> <span m='124800'>you</span> <span m='124930'>don't</span> <span m='125160'>know</span> <span m='125270'>where</span> <span m='125540'>that</span> <span m='125740'>path</span> <span m='126060'>will</span> <span m='126120'>lead you.</span> </p><p><span m='127410'>One</span> <span m='127610'>of</span> <span m='127680'>the</span> <span m='127740'>things</span> <span m='127990'>I</span> <span m='128070'>would</span> <span m='128199'>encourage</span> <span m='128860'>people</span> <span m='129289'>to</span> <span m='129380'>do</span> <span m='129690'>in</span> <span m='129810'>terms</span> <span m='130130'>of</span> <span m='130270'>finding</span> <span m='130750'>work</span> <span m='131170'>is</span> <span m='131440'>to</span> <span m='132030'>talk</span> <span m='132320'>to</span> <span m='132410'>people</span> <span m='132770'>who</span> <span m='132870'>do</span> <span m='133190'>the</span> <span m='133350'>work</span> <span m='134200'>because</span> <span m='134540'>sometimes</span> <span m='135150'>the</span> <span m='135360'>idea</span> <span m='135840'>of</span> <span m='136020'>the</span> <span m='136120'>work</span> <span m='136680'>has</span> <span m='136950'>nothing</span> <span m='137390'>to</span> <span m='137490'>do</span> <span m='137730'>with</span> <span m='137890'>the</span> <span m='137990'>work</span> <span m='138260'>environment.</span> <span m='140070'>And</span> <span m='140390'>you</span> <span m='140480'>might</span> <span m='140940'>enjoy</span> <span m='141360'>designing,</span> <span m='141700'>but</span> <span m='142040'>then</span> <span m='142200'>you</span> <span m='142320'>find</span> <span m='142600'>out</span> <span m='142710'>that</span> <span m='142870'>you're</span> <span m='143040'>in</span> <span m='143150'>a</span> <span m='143200'>little</span> <span m='143490'>cubicle</span> <span m='144280'>in</span> <span m='144630'>a</span> <span m='144690'>large</span> <span m='145000'>office.</span> <span m='145630'>And</span> <span m='145740'>it</span> <span m='145840'>doesn't</span> <span m='146160'>feel</span> <span m='146640'>good</span> <span m='147520'>to</span> <span m='147650'>you.</span> </p><p><span m='148710'>So,</span> <span m='149930'>talk</span> <span m='150190'>to</span> <span m='150290'>people.</span> <span m='150650'>Visit</span> <span m='150945'>places.</span> <span m='151530'>Stick</span> <span m='151820'>your</span> <span m='151950'>head in.</span> <span m='153585'>You can</span> <span m='154030'>come</span> <span m='154250'>to</span> <span m='154340'>my</span> <span m='154520'>shop.</span> <span m='154980'>I'll</span> <span m='155230'>tell you</span> <span m='155380'>all about</span> <span m='155770'>wood.</span> </p>","file":{"id":290933,"video_id":"2715266897001","name":"1243-Bernice1-FurnitureRestorer","duration":157316,"thumbnail_url":null}});