Howdy Pardners

Well, (such a deep subject for such a shallow mind) my blog experience is closing in on 6-8 months now. The winter here in New Mexico has been cold so I have not been able to work in my unheated upholstery shop. The weather is turning and warming up so I may be able to get back to submitting upholstery how-to's and projects soon. As you can read I am still going to the Universtiy of Phoenix and selling in my eBay store. Both experiences have had there challanges. I appreciate all of those (world wide) that take the time and find a tidbit of interest in my bantering. You all take care........Duane

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Transformation of A Vintage Chair or the Combination of Cultures

Howdy. In the furniture upholstery business and particularly if you are dealing with an upholster that is at the master craftsman level you can think "out of the box" with how you want to recover the chair. In the thirty plus years that I have been in the upholstery business I have found no "rule book" that says that you have to recover your own furniture in a certain fabric, to make it look a certain way or to stay within the realms of the style and age of the furniture. Today "the sky is the limit" and I say if you want to take an antique or vintage piece of furniture and make it look southwest or southeast or north or south. Hey more power to you. As a craftsman I rather enjoy doing this kind of work.

A customer in Santa Fe contacted me to just that with her chair. The chair is in wonderful condition and the fabric (actually a blanket) had vibrant colors and geometric design that are fairly typical of a southwest fabric. According to my customer, who is an antique art and pottery dealer, she purchased this chair in France. It is a large, high back arm chair with heavy wood carvings. When I first saw the chair I was thinking along the lines of a Rococo style of furniture. But after looking at it further you can defiantly see the French influence. The chair also has a hint or look of a Spanish influence. So let's call it an international influence.

Upon closer inspection, of the chair, I determined that it was a manufactured reproduction and its vintage probably was around the late 1940's or early 1950's. When I remove the back fabric I found the original fabric underneath. That is how I determined the age of the chair.

The chair was in very good condition with the hand tied spring system nice and tight and the wood just needed a little polishing to bring out the character of the grain and the detail of the carvings.

This is the fabric that my customer provided. Like I said it is a chenille throw but it is colorful with great southwest motif. After I took the seat fabric off I found that the springs were covered with a layer of horsehair and a very thin layer of polyurethane which I believe was added when it was last upholstered. I retained all of that padding and added a thin layer of cotton batting over the top.

Once the seat cushion cover was expertly applied I then had to apply the numerous decorative tacks (over 600) to the chair. The tacks are nailed in one at a time with my trusty little tack hammer. It is a "pain in the ass" process especially with this chair being made with such hard wood. I probably threw away about 100 tacks because they didn't go in straight. But the effect is dramatic.

So the next step was to remove the fabric from the back and apply the new fabric and place the decorative tacks. When I finished with the back I applied a little "Mar-A-way" to the wood. This product, which I have been using for years" doesn't remove the finish but removes dirt, old polish and covers up little nicks and scratches.

This chair is not for sale but I do have a few pieces in my eBay store that are for sale. Check 'em out.

Well, that's about it for now. After last nights election I have to go learn how to make "tea". But I will never drink the "tea" (or  kool-aid) like so many Americans did last night.

Until next time
Happy Trails


No comments:

Post a Comment