FAM­ILY HEIR­LOOM

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Letters - STEVE APSEY MOS­SEL BAY

In your most re­cent is­sue you asked read­ers to write in about fam­ily fur­ni­ture that has some his­tory.

This tall­boy, as it’s called, is about 150 years old. My recorded fam­ily tree and lin­eage goes back about 400 years – yes 400 – but let’s pick up from about 1925 when my fa­ther was eight years old and lived in Lon­don. My grand­fa­ther was a busi­ness­man, but a mil­i­tary man as well, and was away quite a lot.

In those days chil­dren were seen and not heard. My dad, Robin White, used to call his fa­ther “Sir”. For com­pany and prob­a­bly also to take care of my dad, he used to see his aunt Billy a lot – yes, Billy. They were very close, but then the fam­ily moved to South Africa. When aunt Billy died she left this chest to my dad. It was shipped out from Eng­land to Cape Town, where we lived as a fam­ily.

On the top of the chest, you will see a car­riage clock that is also about 150 years old. It is French move­ment eight days wind up and keeps ex­act time. Don’t ask what it cost to have a new spring put in when I sent it to Switzer­land a cou­ple of years ago. The clay and wax minia­ture table­top sculp­tures are my mom’s work; she is still alive at 95 years old. The picture is my el­dest daugh­ter, Kathryn. She is the au­thor of the books on the desk.

There is main­te­nance and lov­ing care to look af­ter this piece. I use a Pro-na­ture wax balm for the pol­ished ve­neer wood and on the inside I use Furnigloss, which is the red liq­uid pol­ish in a 500 ml bot­tle on the shelves at Pick n Pay. It lu­bri­cates the wood-on-wood slid­ing part of the draw­ers. It re­ally makes dif­fer­ence and is a great preser­va­tive to keep the struc­ture from dry­ing out.

There are other very in­ter­est­ing pieces of fam­ily fur­ni­ture, but this is a start. If there is more in­ter­est, I’d be happy to con­trib­ute. as yours, ex­cept mak­ing use of your thumb and el­bow as the pivot points each time cross­ing over to make a fig­ure eight. When done you sim­ply tilt your hand down and the wound-up ca­ble slips off your thumb. I use this even to­day and my ex­ten­sions are not twisted and seem to last for­ever. A bonus is that the lead sel­dom be­comes tan­gled when lay­ing out.

I hope this can be of use to some­one. It takes a while to get the knack of wrap­ping around your fore­arm, but with a cou­ple of tries you will be able to mas­ter this and be amazed at ac­tu­ally how sim­ple and ef­fec­tive the method is.

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