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Antique Furniture/Old wooden rocking chair


Vintage rocker 2
Vintage rocker 2  
Vintage rocker 1
Vintage rocker 1  
QUESTION: This rocking chair previously belonged to a woman born about 1912 who got it from her mother. It appears to be in good shape except that one of the slats in the seat has separated, leaving a crack that I plan to repair, if it will not decrease the value of the piece. It has fairly ornate carving in the t-back and along the top and there is also a carved piece like the one at the tom that was attached to the bottom front of the seat (it has fallen off) and will be reattached. The end of the arms, where your hand would be if you were sitting in the chair are joined with wooden pegs. It also has a large circle branded/carved under the seat but otherwise no markings. Any ideas?

ANSWER: chair is from around 1900-1915 by style and finish.  wood is birch stained with a water based dye to look like mahogany.

to repair properly you should consider taking the chair apart then glue the seat.  dont use gorilla glue. best is hot hide glue but net would be making sure joints are clean and using titebond yellow or brown glue.

as far as an idea on the circle,  what i think is that it was put into the machine wrong or the beginning cut was wrong when trying to cut out the sculpted seat as it is on what is the top.  Many times i have seen a cut on the back side of a piece of furniture that was the start of a machine cut but could tell it was set up wrong when compared to  the opposite side.   this one looks like the router cut was too deep at the center line where the raised part is on top center.

restored properly this victorian/empire style chair would sell at 350-425.

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QUESTION: Thanks soooo much for the information! After I glue it with titebond yellow or brown glue if I can find it, do I need to add some sort of brace underneath to support it or will that ruin  it?

it wont ruin it.  I actually do that on many of the seats i have to glue.  use at least 1/2 inch thick piece of wood and screws to secure it.  I dont usually glue the piece on the bottom so it can be easily removed if needed.

glue can be bought at almost any home improvement store or hardware store.  check date on bottle you dont want 5 year old glue.  When gluing, both surfaces must be clean of old glue, dirt and such.  butter the glue on both surfaces, smooth with finger.  have wet rag nearby to clean up glue squeeze out and hands.

pieces to be glued must fit tight, no gaps.  fit like a spoon in a spoon.  

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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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