Seumas Macdonald

Seumas Macdonald is the Craftsman/Trainer at the Re-Store project in Bornais, South Uist. He talks about the work and training they do, and the value of the project to the trainees and the community.

The job entails collecting furniture from, from the public, furniture that, um, they feel that they’re finished with it but somebody else could possibly get more use out of, with some form of repair, re-varnishing, re-covering, whatever. And, er, that’s what we do here. We take stuff in from the public, assess it, repair it, re-cover it, re-varnish it, take it into the showroom here, and sell it on. Or if people prefer to get, to get it back themselves, they can do so at a price. We will repair, renovate, as well, as part of the service that we are providing.

We have trainers – we have, um, students, participants, whatever, and it’s difficult to give them a name. Um, we have at the moment, today, I’ve got three people here. I’ve got one in here and two in the workshop. The two in the workshop are – one’s here four days a week, and the other one for one day, and they’re, with my own guidance, doing possibly most of the work.

With furniture we’re, we’re um, if it’s old stuff we take it and assess it, quite possibly strip the varnish or paint or whatever is on it, and strip it back to the wood, treat it for woodworm if it’s needed, um, and prepare it for re-varnishing, re-varnishing up to our showroom standard, and sell it on.

Especially when they see a piece of furniture coming in, um, and they’ve been working on it from start to finish, and they’ve been involved in the work, and they see what the finished article is like, it gives them a lot of satisfaction knowing that they’ve been involved in it, and knowing that they can do it themselves. Um, very good confidence booster when you can see your own, when you can say I’ve been involved in that, I’ve done that.

We’re doing what we set out to do, saving good furniture from going into skip, dump, landfill or whatever. Um, stuff that people are quite possibly tired of looking at, with not a lot wrong with it – um, we take it and tidy it up, fix it, whatever, and as I said, sell it on. People are a lot happier doing that than seeing their well-loved furniture going in the, in the, into the dump.

Um, with the heavier stuff we will collect it and deliver it back to them, hopefully in a better condition than it came in. We’ve had no complaints so far, anyway, so, just hope it carries on.

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