Pavel puts the pieces back together

Pavel Krivosheyenko works on an ailing chair.

Pavel Krivosheyenko works on an ailing chair. Photo by Donna Lasater.

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If you have a favorite chair or desk that has suffered through the years, take it to the doctor.

Pavel Krivosheyenko — the furniture doctor — fixes injured skin and broken bones. He repairs and restores a piece at whatever level is needed, from a small crack or scratch to a more serious problem.

Krivosheyenko formerly restored furniture for John Knapp. When Knapp relocated his business, Krivosheyenko began working from a shop in his home. Krivosheyenko started his business, Pavel’s Furniture Repair, in January 2012.

“I cannot be without a job,” he said through translator Lyudmila Mondragon, his daughter. He likes to stay busy and enjoys repairing all kinds of furniture. Being his own boss is a good thing as well, he said.

Repair and restoration are practical ways of saving money and not letting the furniture you love go to waste, Krivosheyenko said. He said that because of economic downturns more people are having their furniture repaired, rather than buying it new. In bad economic times, he said, people must be more careful with money.

Krivosheyenko loves the challenge of salvaging an item that might otherwise have gone to the landfill. Many people bring in old furniture that has been passed down in a family for years. These antiques are like members of the family, he said, and require extra care and rejuvenation.

Lacking the proper tools, he doesn’t build new furniture. But if a customer brings in a chair with, for example, a broken leg, he can fabricate a new one to replace it.

If there are cracks or breaks, he uses epoxy to glue a piece back together. He then sands it, paints it if the customer wishes and finishes it.

Caned chairs, notoriously difficult to repair, can be fixed, he said. He doesn’t weave the rattan but he can install a premade cane seat to repair or upgrade a broken one.

Sometimes he even has to repair new furniture. It’s all in a day’s work, he said.

Krivosheyenko developed his woodworking skills during his years living in Russia. “I worked with wood for years,” he said.

His family lived in the Caucasus, in the southern part of Russia, close to Georgia, between the Black and Caspian seas.

The family moved to the Valley in March 1993. “We just celebrated 20 years,” said Mondragon.

“We came here to have a better life,” Krivosheyenko said. “Financially and in every way.”

They chose the United States for individual freedom and opportunities. They chose Walla Walla because many of their friends and neighbors had already moved here.

Repairing furniture is a challenge for Krivosheyenko. “What’s challenging about it is what’s fun,” he said.

He’s not one to be intimidated by difficulties or puzzles. A customer came in with a completely broken dresser, in pieces in a plastic bag. Even though initially, the situation looked grim, he managed to put it back together.

The furniture doctor had given another piece a new lease on life.

Karlene Ponti can be reached at 509-526-8324 or karleneponti@wwub.com.

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