Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity that would give you new hands-on skills?  Maybe you have some chairs or a table that need to be repaired or refinished. Or, you may just be curious as to what SAGE Eldercare’s Furniture Restoration Workshop is all about.

“We have a great group of volunteers who work here on a regular basis – most of them have learned how to cane chairs and rush on-site and they come from all walks of life.  For example, we have workers who were previously a dentist, surgeon, watch maker and engineer,” said Al Kessler, manager of SAGE’s Furniture Restoration Workshop. 

SAGE Eldercare’s Furniture Restoration Workshop, located on the lower level of 290 Broad St. in Summit, is one of the few places in the state that you can take your chair in to have it recaned.  They also handle rushing and seat cover replacements, as well as basic sanding, staining and repairs. Chair-caning and rush seat weaving are all terms for different designs and techniques used in the process of weaving the seat of a chair. The seven-step method of hand chair caning is often tedious and time-consuming, but when completed, the seat is strong and durable. It can take 40-50 hours to complete the weaving process for one chair.

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“Many people are thrilled to find out that we can fix their chairs.  Not that many shops have the knowledge of these trades anymore and we can help bring new life to chairs that are often passed down from one generation to the next,” said Jim Taylor of Summit, a former banker and volunteer at the workshop.

“What also makes our workshop truly unique is that we will teach volunteers and they can come in a minimum of two mornings a week,” added Marsha Foregger, a volunteer who has trained several other volunteers.

When customers come to the workshop with their items for repair, SAGE will provide an estimate and completion date for the furniture.  The benefit to bringing the items to SAGE is that the pricing is competitive and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit SAGE’s 14 programs and services for local seniors and their caregivers. In addition to the workshop, SAGE Resale Shop, a thrift store located at 31B Chatham Road in Summit, has been in existence for more than 50 years and also provides essential funding for the organization. 

For more information on furniture repairs, call (908) 598-5531 between the hours of 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, or bring your item to 290 Broad St. in Summit.

SAGE Eldercare is a unique community resource that offers a comprehensive array of programs and services for older adults and caregivers, promoting independence and quality of life.  Founded in 1954, SAGE is one of the few non-profit eldercare agencies in the United States, and the oldest in New Jersey, that offers a broad and comprehensive array of services under one roof that assist elderly, often frail, adults to remain independent in their own homes. 

Programs at SAGE Eldercare include: HomeCare; Meals On Wheels; Spend-A-Day Adult Day Health Center; GPS (Guidance, Planning and Support) Services; InfoCare free information and referral service; Fall Prevention Initiative; Home Repair Service; Grocery Shopping and Errand Service; Bill Paying Service; Holistic Living Services; Alzheimer’s and PREP caregiver support groups; Community Education; and Union County Medicare SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program). 

SAGE Eldercare serves 7,000 people throughout Union, Essex, Morris and Somerset Counties, as well as across the United States.  For more information, call (908) 273-5550 or visit