In days past, whenever a favorite wicker possession broke it was relegated to the corner of the garage, to be discarded the next time a truck from a charity rolled by.

But now that Jeff Faux has opened his Wicker Repair Shop at 1219 E. 3300 South, damaged wicker and related "plant" furniture no longer are fated for the scrap heap.Before the procedure for "plant furniture" is explained, it might be a good idea to explain the various types of plants Faux uses in his repair shop.

Much of the material Faux uses in his repair business comes from long palm plants in Asia and is purchased by the pound. The larger stalks, often 3 inches in diameter, are called rattan and used for the frames and arm rests of the furniture. The smaller stalks are called wicker.

Wicker is used to make chairs, tables, stools, desks, doll buggies, baby carriages, love seats, bar stools, rocking chairs and baskets.

Faux also uses rushes, flat reeds from Asia. He soaks them in water for several hours to make them pliable and then twists several together for strength. Then the pieces are woven to make a seat, a project that takes about eight hours.

Next is seagrass, a hay-green ocean plant that is twisted for strength and sold in rolls. Unlike wicker and rattan, seagrass can't be stained.

All of the materials are soaked in water, including wicker seat material that Faux purchases from California. He cuts off a required amount, soaks it and installs it in the seat frame. It tightens as it dries.

When doing the backs of seats with wicker, Faux removes the damaged parts and weaves the new material in. He matches the paint of the item and usually paints the entire item. His wife, Kristen, often helps him with the chair seats.

Even though wicker might look brittle, Faux said for its size "not many things are stronger." And when wicker furniture creaks, it isn't breaking, it's just settling, he said.

He said children do most of the damage to wicker furniture by standing on chairs. He suggested putting lemon oil on wicker furniture so it will keep its moisture and be less susceptible to breaking.

Faux charges for repairs at a hourly rate. He works six days per week and sometimes has work at home to do. Although he opened the repair shop only last May, Faux has had plenty of work. Business slows down in January and February, however.

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A native of Pleasant Grove, the 30-year-old Faux served a mission for The Church of JesusChrist of Latter-day Saints in England in 1980-82 and attended Ricks College for one year. He got married in 1983 and for three years worked for his father-in-law, Dave Hinckley, on ranches near the Salt Lake International Airport and in Idaho.

He started with Wicker and Willow four years ago and delivered furniture. Customers came in looking for wicker repair service and a man came in periodically to pick up the repair jobs. "It was a hassle waiting for him to bring the things back," said Faux, so he started his own business.

All the time Faux was working for Wicker and Willow he was attending the University of Utah and after 41/2 years he graduated with a degree in health education. He had completed internships for the Davis County Health Department.

"I like what I'm doing, but if it doesn't work out I might have to rely on my degree," Faux said. "I could work with some health agency and use my hand skills to help geriatric patients use their hands. I may even have them do some work with wicker," he smiled.

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