Most projects have a story.
For example, the chair to the right was originally in a 1960’s Southern California beach house. After the original owners passed away, the chair ended up in the backyard of one of the grandchildren, exposed to the elements. Rain, salty sea air, the sun and any number of other contributors caused serious damage to the piece. Finally, a grandchild rescued the chair and brought it to me. After extensive repair, it enjoys new life indoors in his San Francisco home. This item looks great and is ready to be passed along to future generations.
Since designing chairs with woven seats is a specialty of mine, I am often called upon to repair and re-weave old and damaged chairs. Often these chairs are worth the time and elbow grease to get them back to new, especially if they have family history or if the piece is particularly unique.
Original Materials and Adhesives
I repair furniture with the finishes, woods and glues that had been used originally to build the piece. For example, most chairs built before the 1950’s were glued with hide glue, which was a natural glue made from scraps of discarded leather. I have successfully replicated hide glues in my shop to keep repairs “period correct”.
In order to keep the piece as original as possible I recommend keeping the original finish. Often it can be cleaned and the original patina preserved. If the piece needs to be refinished I will remove the finish by sanding, not with harsh chemical strippers. I will then apply a finish of shellac or linseed oil, which is low in any harmful solvents.