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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