Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Anatomy of an Antique Chair

I should have known better.
I just couldn't leave this darling little ladies chair in my neighbour's garbage. Alas......It has little porcelain wheels too!!!

This is how the chair was most recently covered. I knew it held many more layers and surprises.

Based on the number of nail holes this is likely not the very first upholstery, but it will serve as the original for this story.

A sneak peek at what's inside

Ah HA! As I suspected. Original perfectly preserved horsehair's OLD

Hand sewn burlap, covering and shaping

This I was not anticipating...a thick layer of straw in perfect condition

Burlap covering springs


Springs tied, sitting on a supporting web base

and after much careful and preserving removal. The frame!

I have fabric that I want to use to recover this little hummer. It will take a lot more work from here, filling holes, priming...I still have some of that primer left, a coat of antique coloured white paint...

Looking forward to cooler fall days to spend in the garage!


  1. I love these photos of the Anatomy of how chairs were once built. Certainly the stuffing was built to last.

    I have been on garbage picking exercises with you in the past but they were never as labor intensive as this one is going to be.

    Can't wait to see the finished product - bravo!

  2. Great shots Les....also can't wait to see the finished chair... Elizbet??

  3. Ohhhhh..that is a delightful find, indeed...
    I don't ever see anything like that in my neighbourhood...
    Can't wait for the finished product...
    Get crackin'....

  4. Wow, that looks like the antique chair we refinished. We got ours at an auction. I was amazed and a bit horrified to find the horsehair in the stuffing. Happy refinishing!

  5. This was incredibly helpful. I have resurrected an 1880's chair from my Grandmother's smokehouse. Yes, they smoked meat with it up in the rafters. I hasn't seen the light of day in over 100 years. It's only the bones, no stuffing, so hence you're blog is my savior. I have a long road ahead, but this chair isn't a total loss.