Wednesday, January 30, 2019

House history

I just found an interesting thing. There is a collection of historic maps of Pittsburgh & vicinity, accessible online. One of them, dated 1915, shows a structure built on my lot, but the Allegheny County real estate portal says that my house was built in 1925. I knew there was something funny about that, because I've seen historical photos of my street that are dated earlier than that, and my house is already there.

You can find the collection of GM Hopkins Co maps here.

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Chair Project, Part 2

I finished the chair in time for Thanksgiving last year, and I'm just now getting around to posting the photos. So here, we go.

Purchased all the special materials from the Interwebs, and applied the webbing. 

Reused the old springs and sewed them to the webbing with "Ruby" twine,

Covered springs with burlap.

Reused the old coir filling.

Added a layer of new cotton upholstery batting.

Covered with muslin.

And, finally, covered with upholstery fabric. This print might look familiar, as I have a ton of it in my stash. Also applied the gimp and decorative nails to the edges, and put a dust cover on the bottom. I like how it turned out, and guess what? I have another chair just like it, waiting for me to do all this again. I'm hoping the second one goes a bit faster since I know better what I'm doing now.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Chair Project, part 1

There are actually two (matching) chairs that I inherited from my maternal grandmother's mother (my great-grandmother Bridget H.) They sat in my grandmother's basement forever, until I grabbed them, and then they sat in my basement. I have been wanting to get them fixed up and in usable shape for some time, but it seemed too daunting a task. I started making some home improvements this year, and needing to move stuff around in the basement, I finally resolved to do something about the chairs taking up space there.


It was a formidable task, indeed. It took several weekends (and weeknights), and the ordering and purchasing of many various tools and supplies. Some, very specialized items.

I started by stripping the chair. This mainly just involved a tack remover, and pliers for some of the more stubborn tacks. This thing had a bazillion tacks in it.

There is a padded roll in the front of the cushion, to help keep its shape, which I removed and reused.

The filling is Ginger or Coconut Coir, which I saved. 

The springs looked ok, so I saved them.

I suspect that the complete label inside reads, "G. Buehler & Co., manufacturer of Parlor Furniture Frames, Allentown, Pa." I would not be surprised if it came from this Buehler. It makes sense, considering the location and timeframe. 

The pile of old webbing, and all the other materials that I pulled off the chair was extremely dusty, dirty, and disintegrating.  I discarded most of it.

The back was also webbed and padded.

Luckily, the frame was solid. I did not want to strip and refinish the wood. I just cleaned it, and filled the tack holes with wood filler. I wasn't sure what to clean it with, so I tried a couple of things: 1) Denatured alcohol, and 2) Mineral spirits, and I used a fine grade of steel wool. I still can't tell which is better. I probably took some of the finish off, but it brightened up the wood considerably. There are lots of scrapes and scratches, but I don't mind. I will follow up some paste wax to polish and protect the piece.  

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