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Antique Furniture/Help with old chair restoration


Old black Chair
Old black Chair  

Old black chair (top)
Old black chair (top)  
What is the origin of this chair?  It appears to have been black with gold accents and some kind of woven seat.
I would like to restore it to its original appearance but I was not sure if it was of any value.  I would also like to know about what year it was made if that is possible.

this is called a thumb back or slatback chair.  the thumb comes from the way the upper posts are cut.

this is not a restoration project.  the chair could be from 1820-30 or as late as 1900,  if, and it was, built in a rural location.  think about this,  the construction and style is early but could have been built like the grandfather taught  his grandson, meaning that the same woods tools and techniques were used over three generations or at least  75 years in the same location, perhaps even the same workshop.

this should be waxed with toluene free Briwax or with johnsons floor paste wax.  neither contain mineral oil or silicone oil.  this is all that should be done.  

adding a seat is ok but nothing should be nailed into the wood.  a rush seat or a splint seat.  are you near pleasant hill ky?  i met a furniture maker there (he worked in the woodshop at shaker town) who has a shop in a nearby town with his father.  they could tell you who can do the seat or do it themselves.

the lines you see cut into the rounds are layout marks where the maker marked for the location of the slats and rungs.  this is a very cool representation of this style.

refinishing or repainting the lines just isnt acceptable on this itme.  it shoul be kept as is although a repalcement seat of the proper type, materials and technique is appropriate.

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robert klein


Regarding American antique, vintage, and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing. Please read instructions for posting.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of American antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars through several organizations.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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