The Restorer Polisher.
Ian started his career in 1995 when he was apprenticed as a cabinetmaker by Julian Bridge of the Classic Antiques Workshop (CAW). A small boutique restoration workshop in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. It was here that he was introduced to a whole new world working for what was the Queens Street Woollahra antique set. The likes of Thomas Hamel Interiors, Martyn Cook Antiques, Ros Palmer Interiors, Micheal Love Interiors, Gaslight Antiques and The Country Trader. Getting him exposed to concepts of not only traditional skills of restoration and French polishing but design and aesthetics.
The CAW was a very traditional workshop, no PVA or white glue, only animal. You put the glue pot on in the morning before you boiled the kettle for a coffee. Ian was taught the old ways, hammer veneering, grain filling, gilding, turning and carving. He cut his teeth on period antiques and was taught how to French polish on period antiques. It was here that the understanding of how to treat period antiques started. How to have compassion for the story, and to treat the piece delicately. How to continue the story, not start a new one.
But Ian’s passion and interest around timber and woodworking goes back much further. As a five year old boy, he was fascinated by a wood turning display, at 15 he finally got the chance to complete a real project, his first restoration. A ‘Flying 11’ sailing dingy which he learnt to sail. This boat only cemented his intent to pursue a trade as a career.
Ian would always follow his interests, which led him to learn many new skills along the way. Surfing gave him the opportunity to work for Graham King Surfboards in the evens. Graham taught Ian to work with fiberglass, make jigs to manufacture blanks, repair boards and he learnt a great deal about board design and shaping.
Over time the experiences of Ian’s interests started to mount up, surfboard construction and restoration, sailing boat repairs in timber and carbon fibre/ epoxy resins, sailing boat centreboard and rudder blade making/shaping. He even went as far to make his own sailboard fins.
In 2000 Ian decided to teach himself how to make an acoustic guitar. The concept being he felt he could make a better guitar than what he could afford. 500 hours later after over three years and he finished this guitar. This awakened a whole new creative outlet. Designing and building one off guitars that are closer to art than instrument and exhibiting in Galleries. No two look or sound the same.
At the same time as the commencing the guitar, Ian made the decision to open his own workshop, he had the skills and the passion; it was time to build his own brand and create his own name as a Restorer and Polisher. Some 15 years later he is still learning, when an enduring passion for all things that get his hands dirty.
Each restoration brings a unique set of challenges.