Furniture mender now mends self

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 3, 1999

This week The Dart found Jack Wilson restoring four large posters of an 1850s four poster bed Friday.

At the end of Baldwin Lane in Natchez, Wilson was enjoying a mild fall day in his open-air workshop.

&uot;I restore antique furniture – give it whatever it needs,&uot; he said.

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Wilson is just now getting back into the swing of his work following a long battle with viral pneumonia that he contracted in February.

&uot;I almost checked into Laird’s (funeral home),&uot; Wilson said with a laugh. &uot;I’m not 100 percent yet, but I’m working on it.&uot;

Back at his work, Wilson carefully adds wood to each, restoring their original height.

&uot;People acquire beds that exceed nine and a half or 10 feet, when most modern ceilings don’t exceed eight feet,&uot; Wilson said. &uot;So they cut them off.&uot;

Then, when the family moves into an older home with higher ceilings, he said, they want the original height restored to the furniture.

The workshop is scattered with pending jobs – chairs, beds, cabinets, dressers – all waiting their turn. Wilson said he developed his love for antique furniture as a hobby during his 25 years in the military, most of it in the Air Force.

&uot;I worked in rescue,&uot; he said. &uot;We’d rescue pilots and aircraft crew members. They’d get in trouble and we’d go in after them.&uot;

Four years of his military career he was based in Germany.

&uot;If I ever left this country, that would be where I’d live,&uot; Wilson said. &uot;The people were great. There’s not all that much difference between us and them – except the language.&uot;

It was while in Germany that Wilson developed his love for antique furniture.

&uot;We think we have antique furniture here – they have furniture from the eleventh century,&uot; Wilson said.

After the military, Wilson moved to Natchez with his wife at the time. He and his wife divorced, but Wilson stayed in Natchez.

&uot;I really enjoy the town. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people here.&uot;