Monday, April 6, 2015

Necessity is the mother of invention (learning something new)

I had mentioned last week that a new project had moved to the front of the line.  Last night, after I finished up some work on another project, I got started.

My next project.
I hesitate to call this chair an antique, well-used would probably be a better description.  My wife and I purchased this chair a couple years ago because it loosely matched our dining room set and we were guessing that we would eventually need more than our six existing chairs.  It came as part of a pair. We knew at the time of purchase that we would eventually reupholster the pair. But when catastrophe struck last week, eventually became now, at least for this chair.

Joint failure.
Certainly, I am no Don Williams, and this chair is definitely not among America's treasures.  But it is a useful and necessary seat.  So down to the shop it went.  My first step was to remove the seat.  It was an extremely easy job as three of the four screws holding it to the glue blocks were overly loose.  The fourth was a Phillips head replacement.  That accomplished, the chair frame will be more accessible for gluing and clamping.

The seat.
At this point, I decided to continue along and remove all of the old upholstery from the seat board. The embroidered cover, a muslin lining, horsehair fill, burlap underlay, and finally the webbing straps gave way to a very loose seat frame.

Some of the layers.

The frame discovered.

Factory made and doweled together.
The loose frame, will probably require some work before I reupholster it.  As it is so far, I have already glued a chip back into place.

The chip.

The treatment.
Now on to more decisions.  How much work should I put into the chair.  Aside from the structural issue and the upholstery, there are several additional issues with the chair, including sloppy repairs and some more than average wear to the finish.  I'll be discussing this with my wife over the next few days and coming up with a plan get the chair back into service.

Wear and tear.

Excess glue from a repair made by a previous owner.

More wear to the finish.

And a plea to all of our readers: Any suggestions as to books or videos on upholstering?  I'd like to have it be as close as possible to the original, but being a newer reproduction, we will be willing to make some compromises for cost an comfort.

And finally, I hope that all of our readers who observe Easter had a warm and joyous holiday with their families.  

The candy binge commences.

This Day in (Mostly American) History

1776: The Continental Congress opened all colonial ports to international trade.
1830: Establishment of the Mormon Church.
1832: The Black Hawk War Began.
1841: John Tyler Inaugurated as 10th President.
1862: The Battle of Shiloh began.
1896: The first modern Olympic Games began.
1909: The expedition led by Robert Peary reached the North Pole.
1917: The United States entered World War I.


  1. At least it looks like that none of the dowels are broken. Loose is easier to fix then missing/broken.

  2. I am fortunate in that way. I don't think this will require too much effort.