Saturday, September 28, 2013

Two Oak Chairs - Blue & Beige Geometric

These two very different, yet similar chairs both belong to the same client, and were upholstered in the same fabric. Both chairs needed extensive and time consuming repairs.

Chair No. 1 is a beautiful arm chair with a 5-spring stuffed seat. The old webbing straps had pretty much deteriorated, and the chair frame was also loose.

The chair is beautiful quarter-sawn oak.

Note the condition of the seat bottom. It should lay nearly flat, with very little curvature. This is not the case, since the straps are broken, and the springs are now pushing against the thin bottom fabric.

Chair No. 2 is also quarter sawn oak, and it is more of a dining room chair. It has been stripped and refinished at some point, and it has had several poor repairs. The arms are also missing the lower blocks that would finish the end "rolls". The carved arm ends would have continued over these in a more rounded shape, but both pieces are gone.

The previous upholsterer did not trim their fabric, or bother to install a bottom fabric.

During the disassembly, we discovered that chair No. 2 originally had a leather seat.

In a fun twist, we also discovered that chair No. 1 also had a leather seat. Here is chair 1 with the upholstery removed.

Leather scraps found on chair 1.

Chair 1 has also had some previous repairs. This side rail was recycled from another old chair, and it doesn't match the other rails (which are all square). The owner asked us to repair the chairs, but to keep them as-is, since the repairs were part of the chairs' "unique charm".

Chair 1 was mostly disassembled, but not completely, since many of the joints were still very secure.

Chair 2 needed a new seat board, since the existing board was starting to delaminate, and has some damage on the edges which would have been difficult to fix.

Chair 2 was extremely difficult to disassemble and repair because someone attempted a repair by nailing all the pegged joints together. This made it insanely difficult to take the joints apart without destroying all the components of the chair. It took hours.

New webbing and newly tied springs on chair 1.

The finished chairs:

I love the texturing done on the feet.

The back rail had been nicked and gouged from the previous upholsterer, so we touched-up all the marks with stain and specialty touch-up markers.

1962 Wing Chair - White

It's fairly rare that we have an exact date for old chairs, but this particular chair came with a few stamps and a card, which gave us this information.

The chair is a well made wing chair built in 1962. We're not quite sure what company made it, but it was made for "Morgans" as the card states (see photo).

The chair had been stored in a damp basement, and had also been ruined by cats, and the owner had the upholstery removed from it, thus the reason our before photos only show the bare frame. The original upholstery was a bright lilac purple with hints of light blue. Only threads of this were found on some of the remaining tacks (which we removed).

The grey padding is rubberized horse (or pig) hair.

Curved side rails.

As the card states, the chair was made on April 3rd 1962, and two additional office date stamps on the sides stated May 1962 (presumably when the chair had upholstery applied over the frame).

A few "in progress" photos, including re-padding with foam and cotton.

Preliminary (rough cotton) covers.

Arms and wings attached.

And finally the finished chair. Again, this one was in white, and belongs to the same customer who also owns the white love seat, and the other white (Coombe) wing chair (see past posts), as well as several other chairs we've posted.

Oak Eastlake Dining Room Chairs - Imitation Leather

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:

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.