New Life For Two Old Chairs Through Loving Restoration

A friend contacted me saying that her brother had given her two chairs that were in pretty bad shape and could I please take a look at them to see if they could be saved.

I must admit that “bad shape” was an understatement. The wood was cracked, crumbling, the joints were coming apart, the upholstery had been home to mice. It was not a pretty sight as you can see from the images.

But I could also see that in their day these were beautiful chairs with understated elegant lines and curves and gleaming wood that would have been beautiful to behold.

I told my friend that yes, it can be done. The restoration would take time because there was a lot to do, but I was up for the challenge.

I set about carefully dismantling them and did all of the following:

  • labelled up all the joints
  • sanded & cleaned up all the old varnish finish
  • glued up all the cracks
  • filling all chipped broken pieces
  • re-fitted all the joinery
  • re-cut both dowels & re-boring mortices
  • re-shaped elements that were cracked beyond repair
  • re-fitted all the pieces
  • re-glued & clamped up everything
  • & finished it with a good quality replenishing oil to bring out the beautiful natural grain.

Finally the chairs went off to our talented upholsterer. My friend chose wonderful fabric and the result of everyone’s time and effort speaks for itself I think.

My friend was overjoyed and could  barely believe that these were the same chairs she had dropped off at the workshop. And so the restored chairs became the restoried chairs. They now live in Pringle Bay and my friend says that she sometimes carries one out to the stoep and she loves running her hands over the satin smooth wood. 

Hearing this and seeing the pictures she sent of her chairs in their new home warms my heart. This is why I do what I do.

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