I spotted it in a junk shop in Dorchester, a roll-top desk. The man said it was early 19th century, and oak. I had always wanted one, but they were always far too expensive. This one was in bad condition; the roll-top in several pieces, one leg clumsily mended, scorch marks all down one side. It was going for very little money, and I reckoned I was just about capable enough to have a go at restoring it. It would be a risk, a challenge, but I had to have it. I paid the man and brought it back to my workroom at the back of the garage. I began work on it on Christmas Eve, mostly because the house ...


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