Frequently Asked Questions - Teddy Bear Repairs

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How can I get my teddy bear to you for repair?

When you first contact us, we ask you for as much detail as possible and also ask you to send a picture of the bear. This helps us to see whether indeed it is something we would be able to do, the type of bear he is, what he is made of, what extra materials would be needed (if any) and the extent of work involved.

We are unable to accept personal callers, but Royal Mail Special Delivery is the one of the best services to entrust your bear. It includes tracking, insurance and next-day delivery. Alternatively, a courier such as My Hermes or Parcelforce, all of which can be booked online and will collect from you. Royal Mail Recorded Delivery / Signed-For is NOT recommended, as this is not a tracked service.

Please send him in a box - no need to buy one, supermarkets are only too glad to give them away or if the bear is small enough, a shoe box is fine. Stuffing your old friend into a Jiffy bag is not normally a good way for him to travel and he will probably never speak to you again!

PLEASE NOTE: we use recycled boxes wherever possible, as not only do we feel strongly about unnecessary waste but this also helps keeps costs down.


Is there a charge for quoting?

No, quotes are free, regardless of whether or not you decide to go ahead. If for any reason, your bear needs to be returned to you without any work being carried out, all we would ask is the return postage.

We normally only ask for payment upon completion of the work.  


How long does the work usually take?

Once your teddy is here, hopefully around 4 weeks; sometimes more, sometimes less. Please do 'bear' with us as sometimes previous work can overrun and there might be a slight delay. However, we will always do our best to fast track for a special occasion or deadline - please let us know. 

 My child has a fairly recent soft toy that needs repair. Can you help?

Sadly after careful consideration we are unable to accept children's modern toys for restoration, as the type of repairs we offer cannot restore a soft toy back to its original new state, compliant with current toy safety legislation in place for children under the age of 14.

Regarding vintage bears to be given to a child, you would need to consider that all teddies are repaired entirely by hand, so they will be unlikely to withstand child's play as well as a bear that had never suffered any damage. 

Materials used (and the method of application) are the traditional type used on vintage/collectors' bears and virtually none of these meet current EU toy safety regulations. It also needs to be borne in mind that most vintage teddy bears do not, in themselves, meet present-day EU toy safety regulations.

Please feel free to ask if there's anything you're not sure about.


What would my quote include?

All labour and in 99% of cases, materials are included. However, very occasionally an expensive fabric (such as a larger quantity of mohair cloth) has to be specially ordered for a particular bear, and in such cases an extra charge for the material would have to be made but we would let you know this in advance. There is never any extra charge for components such as eyes, joints, paw pads, growlers, stuffing, etc. and these tend to be the most frequent repairs. We never suggest any unnecessary repairs and always welcome your input.

Return postage is extra. Please remember that although your bear without his stuffing and possibly a limb missing may well be small thin and lightweight when you send him, chances are that he will go home considerably bigger, fatter and may need to travel in a larger box. This will sometimes mean that his return postage is higher because of the extra weight.


Does the quote remain firm?

Almost always. If any minor work becomes apparent after you have received your quote, it will usually be absorbed at no extra charge, but should something really major be discovered (unusual but occasionally something may not be apparent until work is underway) then we would liaise with you first.


Can you quote from just a picture or a description?

No, almost always not, although rarely a day passes without us being asked to do this (please don' wouldn't email your doctor to give you a diagnosis - would you? ;0)Even a good photograph of the bear cannot always tell the whole story because it is still impossible to know exactly how damaged a bear may be (or not), how a bear is constructed, whether any components have been glued in the past, exactly what needs doing and how much (or little) work - and thus cost - might be involved. The price guide will go some way towards giving you an idea of the cost of most common repairs.


How do I pay?

Payment can be by bank transfer, cheque or postal order. Details will be given on request. This website does not take direct payments and we don't have facilities for taking card payments directly. 


Do you give valuations on old bears?

Sorry but this is outside our scope, and in any case, value is subjective. Please consult a specialist auction house who will usually have a resident teddy bear expert - this is normally a free service. Alternatively, the larger teddy bear fairs will usually have an expert valuer on hand; this is also free. However we can often tell you the bear's age and manufacturer and even a little bit about them (assuming you did not already know.) We are always happy to do this where possible.


Can you clean my bear?

Unfortunately we are unable to provide such a service.

Can you repair my bear but not make him look new?

You've come to the right place - this is one of Oldenbears' main aims.


Are there any restrictions on what you can or cannot work on?


We are unable to work on the following:

1) any teddy or toy made from real fur or sheepskin because these natural fur fabrics are impossible to work on. The only remedy is to dress a bear made of sheepskin, as clothing offers a degree of protection. Please email if you are not sure and we will advise.

2) any teddy or toy animal that has a current insect infestation, usually moths. Moths have become more commonplace recently, as people increasingly opt for clothes and carpets made from natural materials, rather than the man-made ones of recent years, thus giving the moths a greater source of food and attracting them into homes - and teddy bears!
Moths are not usually interested in the stuffing, but in mohair fur fabric. Signs of infestation include: sand-like particles in the fur; holes in the fur; strands of silky hairs in the fur; dead moths and fur coming out easily. Unfortunately the damage done to mohair fur is not reversible; it will probably continue to fall out long after the moths have gone. Seal Teddy in a polythene bag and pop in the freezer for about 2 weeks to kill off the larvae - don't worry, Teddy will emerge from the freezer looking perfectly normal and NOT deep frozen like a supermarket chicken! 

Infestation does not usually happen to toys made of cotton or acrylic fur. 

Moths are harmless to humans, apart from the fact that they eat our clothes and teddy bears!

We have some further info that we would be pleased to email on request. 


3) any teddy or toy animal that has been vomited over, or has suffered any other mishap involving body waste! Yes, we know you wouldn't dream of it, but unbelievably, a small minority of people really do expect us to work on these, saying they 'tried to wash it.' Sorry, but we won't even go there! ' (Ordinary 'dirt' through age is no problem, however - we can cope with that.)


4) any teddy or toy animal that has been eaten by rodents because unlike dogs, mice and rats (the little blighters!) get right inside the toy and leave their *calling cards* all over the stuffing. Not very nice to work on - not to mention very unhygienic - and the answer would have to be no!

5) Children's toys (please see above)

6) Repair rod-jointing on bears (to test whether this applies to your bear, move one of his arms or legs - if both move together, the bear is rod-jointed.) However, we can often replace damaged rod-joints with traditional disc joints. The only difference would be that the limbs would move separately instead of together.


8) Repair original musical boxes, growlers or squeakers, although these can usually be replaced with new ones - many of the original tunes are still available in the musical boxes. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT TODAY'S GROWLERS DO NOT HAVE AS DEEP A TONE AS THE OLD TYPE AND THEREFORE DO NOT SOUND THE SAME! Unfortunately this is a 'fact of life' and nothing can be done about it.

9) Repair plush fabric teddies or toys (usually from the mid-1960s on) that are not made of mohair.
It is incredibly difficult and often unjustifiably costly to find fabrics that match this type of toy perfectly.  We also find, it is in most cases not a cost effective or satisfying repair to undertake either in monetary terms, finished result or time spent.


Borderline - decided on an individual basis!

Removing/replacing plastic safety components such as lock-in eyes, jointing and noses, as by their very nature, these were intended to be difficult and often impossible to remove, to prevent them being swallowed by children. Even when it is possible, please be aware that it will most likely be a time-consuming and therefore expensive process, causing extra damage which may need more work and the bear will almost always have to be dismantled in order to access safety components. Additionally, bears that have these components tend to be the more recent mass-produced ones with a lower monetary value, so you may wish to weigh up whether you really feel the cost is worthwhile. But please feel free to ask.

What if I decided not to go ahead at this time?

Not a problem. All that would be asked is the bear's return postage and he would be sent back to you immediately, no questions asked.


I live overseas. Can I send you my teddy for repair?

Sorry but we are unable to take on overseas work, unless there is a UK address we can return the bear to.


My teddy is not valuable or collectable but needs repairing. Will the cost be less?

No, unfortunately not. Restoration costing cannot be based on a bear's value. Regardless of an individual bear's age, monetary value & collectability, restoration still involves the same amount of work and often even more on bears with modern 'safety' components that are difficult to repair. It's a very personal thing and only you can determine whether restoration is viable for you.

My poor teddy was attacked and damaged by a dog / washing machine. Can you help him?

Usually, and even when it looks hopeless! To see what can be done, take a look at Gallery One and Gallery Two. (Many of these bears were victims of dog attacks and arguments with washing machines!) However, there are times when we feel that nothing can be done, so in such cases we sadly have to say no.


Do you have a price guide for restoration work to give me an idea?

Yes - here's a link but please note that it is a guide to the most common repairs only; not a definitive price list. A firm price can only be given on sight of the bear.

 PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A MINIMUM CHARGE OF 30 which covers materials, time taken doing the actual work, packaging, posting, etc.


 Oldenbears 1994 - 2016