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Antique Furniture/Carved chair from Mandel brothers


Chair front
Chair front  
Chair back
Chair back  
QUESTION: Dear Mr. Klein:
My neighbor was hired to take this chair to the dump!
Fortunately he was given permission to keep it.  It has the Mandel Brothers plate, but no date.  If I understand properly, it is not possible to trace the specific maker, but can you give us an estimate of its age?  Was this part of a dining room set, or rather made to go against a wall?  Was it originally a caned chair?
Do you have suggestions for restoration?
Many thanks, Bill Zuerner

ANSWER: please use the follow up function and post a full view front view.  thanks

before you do anything, buy some briwax in a walnut color and wax the chair, it should take about and hour to do right.  use a shoe brush in the carved places, both to apply and to buff.  so not gob it on, a small amount will do.  application brushes for shoes are round and have small wood bodies, then the polishing brush is like a um, shoe brush.  clean fabric. does not look like it would have been cane, check under seat for a bank of holes around the seat.

probably part of a set, wood appears to be walnut.

made around 180-1900 and would sell in a shop cleaned and waxed at 750 minimum.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Front view
Front view  
QUESTION: Here are further views of the chair.
Thank you very much so far, we were told not to touch the finish on such an antique chair, tho I was thinking wax initially.
Can you clarify the earlier date?
Thank you again, Bill Z.

missed the 9 key

whoever told you not to touch the finish is not entirely incorrect.  It served the purpose of having you think about what to do.

Each finish and each piece must be evaluated on several fronts.  Generally an original finish is desirable but this must be evaluated by an expert as there are a few reasons that the finish history must be started over.  That being said, best not to touch until you know how, why, and what the finish is and the effects of whatever materials you are using.  Remember this too, we can assume, by appearance and experience if a finish is an original one or an older one but without scientific methods using spectography, gas chromatography, and chemical testing we can not be 100% accurate.

I recommend Briwax as it is easy to use, contains no mineral or silicone oils and comes in color.  Mineral and silicone as with other non drying oils is not a good thing for wood.  It never dries and works only as a contaminant collector much like the filter in a clothes dryer.

Johnsons Floor Paste Wax is also good but is only in a neutral color.  However, if you have some artists oil colors on hand, winston/newton or grumbacher, you can color just what you need and save the rest for another project.  

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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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They deserve privacy, sorry.

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