Karl Lingley has been working in the repair business for most of his life. He gained his carpentry skills as a young man while working as a boat builder, and later found work with Lake City Woodworkers. His first chair repair came from that job when a customer brought in a broken chair for the first time. Nobody else really did chair repair, so Karl “took the job on, and after that, went on to repair hundreds of chairs.” Later in life when he had his son, Karl decided to stay at home to take care of him and started small repair business of his own that’s been growing over the years.
Karl specializes in chair repair, however, is willing to repair almost anything. He does repairs in bars, at residential care homes, and for moving companies, as well as for many individual clients. His shop is filled with ongoing projects, scrap pieces of wood, and donated bins of nails. He’s also currently working with a local designer to upcycle old pieces of furniture and make them more modern.
An interesting fact Karl told me was every household has an average of 15 chairs, and each chair receives more abuse that most other pieces of furniture; “broken chairs are a very common thing.” Karl loves the challenge of fixing chairs, and restoring them as best as he can to their originality, “I typically aim for at least 80% correct, but more often than not I can get it close to perfect.”
A lot of Karl’s personal projects originated as “useless furniture” he found on the street and remade into something beautiful and new. His house is filled with repurposed and upcycled furniture he’s made over the years.
Karl really enjoyed his time at the Fix-it Fair last year and is excited to come back! This year he’ll be bringing a static display of furniture, as well as a few pieces to sell, like an upcycled foot stool, cheeseboard, and knickknack shelf. Make sure to stop by his booth at the Fair this year, you might just find a unique new piece of furniture for yourself!
The Fix-it Fair is on October 21st at Keith’s Brewery Courtyard from 9am-3pm. Learn more here!