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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/1856 Lex. Chair Co. Table, 6 Chairs

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1856 table
1856 table  

chair
chair  
Hello Mr. Klein,

I picked up this table/chair set for $175 for my young, growing family to use as it fit so nicely into my small kitchen but would still seat us all. (And I figured it would be a beautiful, functional piece; all its mechanisms work smoothly for the drop leaves and inner folding leaf.) My husband plans to replace two broken chair seats, and I'm not certain how to fix two missing rungs on one chair. As the finish is worn, I figured we'd refinish it after the children were more responsible, and let it take a bit of a beating for the time being.  (A friend offered to help, as she enjoys refinishing furniture, though I don't yet know her level of skill.)  

However, I didn't realize its age at the time of purchase.  It has survived the Civil War, but what can I do to help it survive the daily abuse of a young family?  (How clean/protect...I accidentally whitened a small area of its finish by trying to clean off the thrift store's sticker with water/vinegar, but at least there was a similarly whitened area already near it.)  Is it better to restore and sell it now rather than have my family use it daily?  What would its value be?

Additionally, what looks like the original chair upholstery has been covered by three additional coverings, which is exciting for me, although I haven't removed the layers yet to determine its condition.  If in good condition, would it be best to just have it professionally dry cleaned or would hand washing and air drying be better?  If I continue using the kitchen set, I plan to at least use a clear plastic overlay to protect the upholstery, as spills are a frequent occurrence.

Thank you so much,
Rebecca
p.s. Please excuse the photographed mess.  I knew I wouldn't get this sent to you today were I to clean up first!

Answer
The number 1856 is not the date of manufacturer of this set.  it is either the date of the founding of the company, a catalog or style number or you are misreading the number if it is a date.  This set was made in 1920-1940.  the wood is sweet gum except teh table top which is mahogany veneer.  many call this duncan phyfe style although sheraton style is better but federal style is the best descriptor

As to missing pieces, they will have to be made.   what you do to the upholstery is up to you.  it will have no effect on value.  there were thousands of these sets made, they are easy to replace and do not bring high numbers.

the finish on these table will blush with water and heat together so using pads is a good idea.  using mneral spirits rather than water and vinegar would have been a better choice but no harm has been done.  buy quick blus eliminator from wood finishers depot in Texas, lightly spray it on white areas and the blush will go away.  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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robert klein

Expertise

In regards to American antique, vintage and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing, and value. I do not study mid century and later furniture nor do I deal in lamps, and other smalls. robertsantiques@cox.net You may ask for values and I will give you current market values, I will not give you 'feel good' values. Understand that there are many factors that contribute to market value. If you want a feel good, unrealistic number, please call a local inexperienced appraiser. It is my desire to help you and in doing so I increase my knowledge as well. For that I thank you.

Experience

I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars by various organizations, institutions, and private collectors.

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

Education/Credentials
BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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