TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The furniture pieces that Gene and Deb Ruelle so lovingly restore are often hundreds of years old.
Often the pieces brought to the Ruelle's little Tyler shop only need refinishing to restore them to their former beauty, others look as though they've been through storms. In fact, one piece dating from 1870 did survive a major storm.
"It needed to be totally restored, it was in a tornado in Alto."
Gene has always loved antiques and when he and Deb met in Houston in the late 1970s, he taught her to love them too. When the Ruelles moved to Tyler in 1982, they decided they wanted to open a business doing work that gave them the most satisfaction.
"I want to save history. I hate the see pieces just thrown away just because there's not somebody here to do the craft."
Gene's hand refinishing and Deb's hole to hole caning and weaving are almost lost arts in today's manufacturing world.
"We set ourselves apart in the restoration field in that all of our work is done by hand. It's not an automatic process."
Restoration done carefully and lovingly as the Ruelles do their work does take time.
"This will take me about two weeks, about eight hours a day."
But the finished product is well worth the wait.
In 1987, Gene developed a non-toxic beeswax polish, which is carried by the Crate and Barrel chain.
"The beeswax just nourishes the wood."
"We ship out 400 bottles a month to Crate and Barrel stores. It's an all natural product, it's got natural oils and beeswax in it.:"
Gene and Deb Ruelle admit they work hard at their craft but they admit they also dearly love what they do.
"I love what I do and primarily I want to save history and if this can't be done, these pieces would be thrown away."
Saving history while satisfying their customers, are bringing Gene and Deb Ruelle great satisfaction as well.