The Repair Shop: Dominic Chinea

Dominic takes care of the major metal work the Shop receives. He’s another versatile member of the gang. He originally started his career in graphic design and went on to tackle classic car restoration, he also has a career in set design. Dom loves a problem to solve and is always eager to get to grips with the rustiest and most dilapidated of objects.

Published: 11 March 2020
I love the constant new challenges, the variety and most importantly working amongst such a talented knowledgeable bunch of people. I have learnt so much from the others sharing their knowledge.
— Dominic Chinea

How did you come to be an expert in your field / tell us about what you do?

I wouldn’t really like to call myself an expert in any field! However, I love learning and I’m constantly trying to learn and improve new skills. Instead I always seem to think of myself in terms of the saying “A jack of all trades, a master of none” dipping into all different subjects.

My background was always art and graphic design, however my passion for cars and metalwork led to jobs in car restoration and metalwork. My set design career helped combine all my varying interests, both practical and artistic. Working on the Repair Shop has managed to also include my love of history, vintage and antiques.

How did you come to be on the Repair Shop?
As I was working as a set designer I was actually contacted to design and make the repair shop light up sign, on the outside of the barn. Alongside the interior set pieces. Hopefully, being pleased with my work and having realised that I had an interest in antiques and a variety of skills that would prove useful for the team, they asked me to assist in front of the camera as well, repairing items.

It’s quite a challenge working on camera, I am much more accustomed to being on the other side of the camera working on sets! But each season it gets a little easier, and we get to work on such amazing historical items, hopefully ensuring they have a future that will extend beyond ours.

What has been your most memorable or challenging repair to date?
One of the hardest was the weathervane in the last series. It was originally hand-made, quite rustic and very old!

The challenge was how to make it safe and future proof whilst not removing the charm. I always find the challenge with every repair is knowing when to stop. It’s tempting for the grand reveal to have a large transformation, however it's truer to the items and their history to leave them as original as possible.

The memorial board was also challenging, the pressure to do justice to an item naming so many people who had died at war for all the remaining family was quite a responsibility.

What would be your dream repair?
My dream repair would be a Porsche 356, for myself. Haha!

Otherwise I really love large projects - a wagon, a fairground ride, items with lots of mixed materials, which combine metalwork, fabrication with intricate paintwork. Also, pedal cars are always favourites. I think I just always enjoy saving things that have working parts or items that can be used, or that are fun, rather than ornaments!

What do you love most about being on the Repair Shop?
I love the constant new challenges, the variety and most importantly working amongst such a talented knowledgeable bunch of people. I have learnt so much from the others sharing their knowledge. 

I enjoy the problem solving, having to source materials that are hard to find, old repairs that need untangling, and finding clues to the objects original state.

It is very rewarding when we get to give the items back to the owners and to see their reaction and how grateful they are. It really is an amazing thing to be able to call this work!