Antique Arm Chair – Light Blue (Project of the Month July 2014)

I am far behind on updates to the blog, but I will be making several “backdated” additions today.

This is the Project of the Month from this past July. This chair was an exceptional amount of work to put back together, because of the numerous layers, multiple steps, hand stitching, and repairs that were needed.

I’ve condensed this project down to a manageable 24 photos, but I had dozens more that were taken during the process.

This was a HEAVY chair. For the average person, it’s nearly unmovable. I’d say it weighs at least 40-60Lbs. Part of the reason for this (as you will see below) is that the chair has a massive wooden frame. Most of the wooden pieces are over an inch and a half thick, with the bottom rails being nearly 5 inches tall, and several inches thick. The hair also had a lot of heavy springs, and traditional horsehair stuffing (which is also quite heavy). The chair had been modified several times, and during our re-upholstery, we conferred with our client, and decided to return the chair as much as possible to the way it was originally.

Before:

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The deep-tufted back was a later (foam) addition. This photo shows the majority of the original upholstery.

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The front of both arms were originally round at the front, and someone cut them to be square.

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The entire chair frame had been “repaired” by adding a large number of metal plates with lots of old wood screws. Despite all these added metal plates, the frame was loose and rickety, and we had to disassemble it and completely reglue it. It’s hard to tell the size/weight of the frame, but just compare the size of the springs to the wood. The springs are around 4″ wide on the ends.

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Frame after repairs/re-assembly.

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New webbing and spring ties.

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Burlap, hand stitched to the springs.

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Webbing on the back.

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All the back springs were originally individually wrapped, and we redid this on the new upholstery. This takes more time than simply tying the springs to each other.

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Because all the springs are basically “loose” from each other, they also need to be carefully hand tied to the base layer of burlap. Also note 3 large (very heavy gauge) lower lumbar springs. These were part of the reason that the client liked this chair.

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First layer of stuffing (hair) and edge roll, hand stitched in place.

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Second layer (horse hair/mixed hair).

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With added cotton and muslin “rough cover”.

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Arms repaired, and ready with rough covers, seat fabric installed (all painstakingly hand stitched under the piping band).

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Arms upholstered, and base layer (edge roll) installed on the back (see white muslin) followed by main horsehair stuffing.

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Cotton layer added, followed by rough cover.

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And finally, after more careful stitching, positioning, buttons, panels, skirts, and a bottom fabric, we have the completed chair.

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