These chairs came into the shop about a month ago needing some attention. The chairs are stunning oak with a beautifully executed quarter-sawn grain-painted pattern on the back pieces, and with several other pieces in regular quarter-sawn lumber. The original seats are leather, with straw and cotton stuffing, but the internal webbing (straps) have failed, and the seats have therefore punched through.
The original tacks were made of leather, wrapped around a metal nail head. Sadly, removing them was exceedingly difficult, and even through many could be removed, most were rendered useless in the process. Note the wide variations in thickness to the tacks.
The set contained 6 chairs (5 regular chairs and one arm chair). The arm chair was in particularly dreary condition, with some damage to the finish (note greyish white haze).
Only the arm chair carried an original label, and this same label was carefully removed and reattached to the chair with a plastic protector once the chair was finished.
You can read a long and interesting article about the John C. Mundell Company here: http://www.wellingtonadvertiser.com/index.cfm?page=colDetail&itmno=548
The chair seats were given a complete overhaul, which included new webbing, new burlap, re-installing the original stuffing (to keep the chairs historic), a new layer of thin padding, a cotton cover, and then the new imitation leather. The client would have liked real leather, but the costs of real leather are quite high, and a suitable distressed style leather imitation (vinyl) was used. The seats were trimmed in a matching edging, and with hammered tacks.
In addition, all the chairs were cleaned, and polished with lemon oil.