Gavin Mason, FRSA.
Conservator – Restorer
A Lifetime in Furniture
Training, Experience & Credentials
From Trainee to Foreman
John Atkins Antiques – Atkins & Whitehead – St Pauls Cabinet Makers
At 19, I began in furniture restoration with John Atkins Antiques in Hawkhurst before moving to sister company Atkins & Whitehead where I was fast-tracked in wood machining and traditional cabinet making.
I later moved to the prestigious firm of St Pauls Cabinet Makers where I completed my training, to include polishing and finishing and in due course became Foreman in charge of 22 staff.
My First Shop
Gavin Anthony Mason – Specialist Cabinet Maker
My first retail outlet was at 10 Union Square, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells.
Together with workshops in Pembury we were a complement of 5 producing and selling mid to high-end mahogany and Yew reproduction furniture.
A Period of Growth
A Second Shop
Gavin Mason Reproduction Furniture
As Gavin Mason Reproduction Furniture, a second shop followed at 6 Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells.
Outgrowing the Pembury workshop a larger industrial unit was acquired in Crowborough.
Increasingly we began commissioning and buying in furniture “in the white” to then polish finish and colour-match to customers existing furniture.
A first venture with others
The London Gold & Silverware Co Ltd
My role was to design and develop a range of high-end cutlery canteens / coffee tables in reproduction furniture styles. Having completed my role by establishing full scale production in Rochdale we parted company.
Invited to join an expanding enterprise
G&T Woodcrafts Ltd
As one of four Directors my role was to guide production in the Philippines of a range of Replica furniture to be imported and polish/finished in the UK
From a polishing shop and warehouse in Peacehaven first we grew the business to supply 26 high-end retailers including Harrods and Bambers of Preston.
Supplying Trade & Public
Consolidating in Crowborough
Styleblend Furniture Ltd
Having now become a Father I wanted to be closer to home and work more sensible hours. I closed my Tunbridge Wells shop, resigned my directorship with G&T Woodcrafts and began concentrating solely on polishing and finishing with all furniture bought in “ITW” (bare wood).
Supplying Trade and Public alike I also introduced polishing services for other retailers and bespoke furniture makers, all operated from one, and later two, workshop/Showroom premises in Crowborough.
After 7 years I decided to close the business to focus 100% on fulfilling a dream I had long held.
A Giant piece of furniture
Designing, Project Managing and Building a Timber Framed House in Eridge
Demolishing Cobbarn Farm Cottage, digging new foundations and, as seen here, building Cobbarn Farm House, and garage, like a giant piece of furniture with pre-machined parts.
We began the foundations on the 10th October 97, came “out of the ground” on the 10 November 97 and moved in on the 10th of May 98.
Returning to Work
A New Vision
The Furniture Craftsman
Returning as The Furniture Craftsman and working alone now, I polished, finished and retailed furniture to the public from the factory / showroom in Crowborough. But gradually my work life was being transformed by, of all things, a pair of glazed doors.
I had installed these to see people coming into the showroom whilst I was in the polishing shop adjacent. But it worked both ways. People were amazed at the transformation they could see taking place from bare wood furniture to the finished article and this prompted the question, “could you repolish our existing furniture”?
I was able to develop and perfect a stripping and sanding process for customer’s furniture, without the need for chemical stripper, or indeed sandpaper for the most part.
Taking a new Direction
It’s all about Repolishing
In 2005, 22 years after opening my first shop, I ceased retailing furniture to concentrate more fully on Repolishing for the public and New Furniture Finishing for the trade.
I became Repolishing.co.uk, along with the catchphrase The Non Antique Restorer.
Even the 2012 Olympic Flame came to Repolishing.co.uk in Crowborough.
Over time though, I became better known for repolishing than restoration, so much so that people began having repair work done elsewhere and then coming to me just for the finishing, unaware that I provided the complete service..
Promoting new services
Destination – Mason’s Furniture Services
Mason’s Furniture Services
And finally, after an exciting journey through the furniture trade, I arrive here, as Mason’s Furniture Services.
I’m conveniently located in Eridge Green, just off the main A26, equidistant between Tunbridge Wells in Kent and Crowborough in East Sussex.
Now offering the full refinishing, restoration and repolishing services I’ve spent my career perfecting, I work as a true Conservator – Restorer, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and leading expert in my field.
And I enjoy making my customers as happy as I am in carrying out this work.