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Salvage Hunters: The Restorers recruits Elmswell furniture restorer Steve Norman to the TV show

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An Elmswell furniture restorer who thought his business may have to close its doors permanently during the pandemic has revealed that he is now part of a popular TV series.

Steve Norman, of Steve Norman Furniture Restorers on Station Road Industrial Estate, is now part of the team for Salvage Hunters: The Restorers.

The opportunity for the business, which started in 1996, came from an ‘out of the blue’ call to Steve’s workshop.

Steve Norman with the chest on chest he restored for his first show. Picture submitted by: Salvage Hunters: The Restorers/ Discovery.
Steve Norman with the chest on chest he restored for his first show. Picture submitted by: Salvage Hunters: The Restorers/ Discovery.

He said: “It came a couple of years ago in the middle of Covid, asking if I was interested in being put forward to Discovery UK.

“We had hit 25 years as a business and at that time I was panicking that restoration was at the bottom of everyone’s to do lists - I thought my business may go bust.”

In fact the opposite has happened, with the 48-year-old saying they are now around 20 to 30 per cent busier than before, with shows like Salvage Hunters encouraging people to restore old items.

Steve moved his workshop to Elmswell six years ago after operating in Long Melford, Little Cornard and within the Knight and Gibbins clockmaker factory in Sudbury.

He said: “The phone has not stopped, instead of granny’s chair in the garage going to landfill, people have been coming to us to restore it.”

When I was told I was on the show they asked me to not shave my beard off as Americans loved it, so we have gone with that - Steve Norman.

After being whittled down to the last few applicants, the show’s production crew came and did a promo video of Steve working in his workshop, before they picked him in May last year.

Steve said: “It was nerve-racking at first as I had never done anything like this before but I love it now.

“It took a couple of projects to settle into it with camera nerves but it is really good fun and the camera and production crews are such lovely people who look after you.”

Steve and his team, furniture restorer Carly Taylor, freelance upholsterer Lee Goddard, Japanese lacquer artist and Steve’s wife Shelly and Willow the workshop dog, took on an 18th century Oak chest on chest for the show’s first project.

The restoration included making bracket feet from period timber, reconstructing drawers and reproducing rope carvings on the top mouldings.

Steve said: “I think I have been referred to on the show as a furniture nerd, and I suppose I am a bit.

“It is my hobby, my passion and my job. The challenge for me is if someone comes in with a carrier bag full of bits and says in 'there is the most beautiful ornate Queen Anne mirror', there is a joy and buzz in turning it into something that looks like it has never been restored.”

See Steve on Salvage Hunters: The Restorers, Wednesdays at 9pm on Quest, and available to stream on Discovery+