Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Antique Living Room Set (4 of 4) - Antique Sofa Chair - Beige/Cream Abstract

Here is the final piece in this set. This is the sofa chair that matches the previous sofa, and wing chair. The set is likely from the 1920s or 30s. The chair was completely stripped down (see wing), refinished, repaired, and put back together.


Here's the chair stripped down, refinished, and re-webbed. In the background, you can see the sofa frame being glued back together.

New spring ties (8 way hand tie):

New webbing on the back springs. These ties were still in excellent shape.


New burlap, with all the springs stitched.

Edge roll attached:

Here is a good photo that shows how the arms are stitched. As previously shown, the flat wooden arm tops are made round with the use of compressed straw. Over time, the burlap had gotten stretched and loose, and as a result, the arm couldn't maintain a nice shape. The arms were not originally stitched, but having them stitched this way will help keep the arms/stuffing in place longer. The straw is stitched in a triangular pattern (one row down the centre, and against the edge of the wood on either side).

Seat/deck stuffing before rough covers (original straw and cotton, with the addition of new cotton as needed).

Deck completed, and back in progress. Because of the way the back/arms are attached, the back panel had to go in before the arms (the same for the sofa, but the opposite of the wing).

And here's the finished chair!

I love the back on this style of rounded-top chair.

More soon.

Antique Living Room Set (3 of 4) - Antique Sofa - Beige/Cream Abstract

Here is the matching sofa that goes with the previous wing chair, and the following sofa chair. This is a set that we believe dates from around the 1920s or 30s.

While the wing chair was finished in a dark grey/black print, the next two pieces are in a much lighter beige/cream colour, with an abstract wavy horizontal pattern.

Again, this piece was completely stripped down, repaired (the back was broken on one side), and refinished to match the other pieces. Skirts were removed, and the original front wood appliqués were (refinished and) reattached.

As with the other two pieces, note that the front band just under the cushion is incorrect (loose and baggy, and should be attached to the front spring wire).

Sofa Before:

Again, the bottom webbing is incorrectly installed. It should always be basket woven.

While the back webbing is not technically incorrect, with this little amount of webbing, it won't be long before it starts to stretch and bow-out.

Like this:

Frame 90% stripped.

All the spring ties were quite worn. It was also the (likely original) old 4 way tie (we only use 8 way since it's much stronger/longer lasting).

One of the many busted twines.

The back was a mess.

Here is the broken back rest that we had to repair.

We also reglued both arm fronts. Otherwise the frame was in good solid shape.

I don't know how it happened, but I forgot a photo of both the bottom webbing, and the newly tied springs. You'll have to use your imagination (or visit another one of our antique sofa blog posts). Hopefully you can see the difference with how nice and square, and even the springs are sitting. Also note refinished frame.

Stitched springs:

Edge roll attached:

Base layer of straw. The original straw was quite lumpy and misshapen, so we disassembled it and redistributed it into an even layer. Over this went some cotton, then the rough cover.

Back re-webbed, springs re-attached, and re-strung. Note the additional webbing (straps) used, for a longer lasting back.

Burlap, and stitched springs:

The arms and back were finished in the same way as the wing, and sofa chair.

Finished Sofa:

Note: the client wanted no more ribs/piping to divide the back, and she wanted only one long cushion, rather than 3.

Detail of refinished wood work:

Antique Living Room Set (2 of 4) - Antique Wing Chair - Black/Charcoal Geometric

This is one of 3 pieces in the same antique sofa set. We estimate that the set is from around the 1920s or 30s. The client had already had them reupholstered a few times in the past, and the last time she got them done, she had skirts added, and decorative front appliqués removed. She held on to these, and she wanted us to remove the skirts and reattach the appliqués. Since the appliqués were much darker, and none of the wood tones on anything matched anymore (as well as this particular chair having a broken foot), we refinished everything in a very dark walnut colour (it may appear black in some photos, but it is in fact brown).

Wing chair before:

Note hat the front (portion just below the seat cushion) is incorrectly upholstered on all 3 pieces (this chair, the sofa, and the other chair). The fabric should be attached to the wire edge of the springs, forming a crease here (see finished photos). As is now, it's very baggy and not appropriate for the style/age of the piece(s).

Over the years, the arms have become quite deformed. This piece (and any very old piece stuffed with straw) needs to have the foundation work redone every once in a while (20-30 years I'd guesstimate) but a lot of upholsterers don't bother. We care, we do this work. We strip antiques to the bare frames and start fresh.

There haven't been that many advancements in upholstery techniques, when it comes to antiques/traditional pieces, but this could have been done with hand stitching instead of all the tacks. Tacks are faster, but they definitely don't look that good. We will be doing a piping, and using ply grip (a flexible metal track that is hidden and holds the fabric).

Lots of little tacks, and a double piping that just ends abruptly.

Partially stripped frame. Note how loose and baggy the side panels have become over time. Some (lazy) upholsterers would either tack a new burlap on top of this, or do nothing, and simply add more stuffing to build-up the arms.

This is the first layer (deepest layer) of straw on the arm(s). This should be very tightly compacted, giving the flat wooden arm top a curved surface. As you can see, it's extremely loose and baggy.

Busted spring twines.

Correct (but deteriorated and probably original) 4-way tie. We no longer use 4-way, preferring 8-way ties, which are stronger, last longer, and support the stuffing better.

This shows the first stuffing (straw) on the other arm, after the old burlap has been removed. The stuffing is just lifted off (in one big chunk) and set aside for now.

I've never seen someone screw-up webbing like this. It's not uncommon to have to alter one row, but to completely forget to "basket weave" the webbing makes it incredibly weak. ALL 3 pieces were like this.

So much better:

Before I forget, note the broken front foot.

Completely stripped chair (before refinishing though - note colour difference between the legs and back), and with the new webbing, new spring ties (8 way). Also note flat arm tops.

Seat stuffing before putting it back in place (and arm stuffing on the bottom).

Skipped the edge roll, but you can see it in other posts, and on the other chair. Here's the chair with the seat foundation done (with rough cover), and with the arms redone, firmly compacted (original straw), new burlap, and the straw hand stitched. At this point the legs and back have been refinished, and the broken foot is repaired.

Stitched springs, and stuffing/rough covers on the wings.

Arm stuffing put back in place (again, lots of straw, and cotton), covered with rough covers. Seat (deck) in place. Note the rib where the fabric is attached the front edge (spring wire).

Nearly there.

DONE. I actually really love this piece. Both the colour/pattern, and the shape/look of it. The dark wood plays nicely with the black/charcoal grey print.

The seat cushion(s) in the entire set were replaced.

This was the broken foot. The dark stain really helps hide the joint.

Beautiful crisp arms, with a nice tight side panel. Also note the wing, with no more unsightly tacks.

The double piping goes around the wood band all around.