On this page, you’ll find an overview of the repair and restoration services I can provide. If after having looked here you still have an unanswered question, the FAQ page might be a good place to try. Or Contact Me - it can’t hurt to ask.
Repairs and Restorations
I’ll happily do either for you. What’s the difference? Here’s a slightly jokey (but nevertheless pretty accurate) definition:
A repair is something that gets an item back into good condition.
A restoration is a repair that doesn’t look like a repair.
The point is that a repair will use modern parts to replace old ones. A restoration will either use authentic parts or disguise modern ones so that they look authentic. As you can imagine, a restoration costs considerably more than a repair!
Most people want something in between a basic repair and a full restoration. Typically, I’ll be asked to restore any parts of the equipment that are going to be easily visible and repair anything that’s not. That’s actually quite a good compromise in most cases, because you end up with a piece of equipment that looks good and works well, but hasn’t cost the earth to sort out. The exceptions are pieces of equipment that are particularly rare or valuable, which are often seriously devalued by anything less than full restoration. (A particular case in point would be classic valve hi-fi, where many owners insist on like-for-like replacement of any original parts that have to be changed.) Don’t worry - I’ll be able to advise you whether your pride and joy is one of the rare items that fall into this category.
Be warned, though: whether you go for a basic repair or a full restoration, in 99 cases out of 100 you will NOT increase the monetary value of an item by anything like the amount you have to spend to get it repaired / restored. So don’t go into this with an eye to making money, ‘cos the chances are you aren’t going to. Do it for the right reasons: because it’s a family heirloom; because you want to give someone a present they’ll really remember; or probably the best reason of all - just because you or someone else wants to hear it working again as its makers intended.
No matter what level of service you choose, the safety of the equipment I return to you is of paramount importance. Much valve equipment was built in times when electrical safety wasn’t the issue it is today, and much of it is incapable of passing modern safety tests - often, for no other reason than it just wasn’t designed to pass them. That doesn’t mean its necessarily unsafe - just that you have to be aware that it comes from a different era and has to be treated with a bit more respect than a piece of modern kit. I take my responsibilities very seriously with regard to safety: I’ll warn you about any potential safety issues that exist because of the way your equipment has been designed or made, and sometimes (with your agreement) I’ll make modifications to eliminate particular problems. To test for genuine faults which could make it unsafe in use, every piece of equipment that I repair is given an appropriate electrical safety test: if it can’t be repaired to a standard that would allow it to pass that test, it gets returned to its owner without its mains cable (and at no charge apart from any transport costs).
All my work comes with a no-quibble 12 month guarantee that includes both parts and labour. The only provisos are that:
- A repair under guarantee doesn’t extend the original guarantee period.
- My liability is limited to the repair of the equipment. I’m not responsible for consequential losses or damage.
- I’m not responsible for collection or return of the item to be fixed. (In other words, the guarantee is made on a return-to-workshop basis.)
I think that this is a first-rate guarantee, and its nice to be able to offer a safety net like this, but the fact is that I fix ‘em to last: the number of returns under guarantee I get is vanishingly small. That’s good for both of us, because a return under guarantee costs both you and myself hassle, time and money.
How long is a piece of string? You’ll have worked out for yourself that costs will depend to an extent on what you want me to do. They also depend on the type of equipment you want to have serviced - some kit is just easier, and some is much harder to work on than average. Some kit uses components which typically cost pennies; other kit uses components that cost a small fortune. And so on.
By far the best way of finding out what it will cost to service your particular piece of equipment is to give me the details and ask me. I can usually give a ballpark estimate simply from your description (i.e. I don’t have to see the equipment). If you’re then still interested, you can get the equipment to me and I’ll give you a firm and binding quotation. Binding on me, that is - If you don’t like the price (or for that matter, if there’s anything else you don’t like), you’re free to walk away. This is all absolutely without charge - the only cost you’ll incur is the cost of shipping your equipment to me and back to you (and you can even avoid that if you’re able to deliver it and pick it up again yourself).
Finally, if you want to have a look at some of my work, click on the link to the Repair Gallery. If you want to see some nice things that previous customers have said about me, look at some Testimonials!
Repair and Restoration of Valve Audio and Radio