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baby carriage
baby carriage  

baby carriage
baby carriage  
Recently I restored a wicker baby carriage from parts my dad had stored in his basement for years. Can you provide any historical information regarding this carriage? There is no name plate or other identification marks on the carriage.

Is a polyurethane finish recommended?

Answer
Hmmm so Jim, you put this together using parts your Dad had in the basement? Do you know if they are all from the same original carriage, or are they made up of parts from different carriages? Looks like you did a fantastic job of putting it all together, congratulate yourself, that probably was not easy.

Judging by the intricacy of the woven base and the wooden wheels, I would venture an educated guess at this being from the 1890s, however there's really no way to tell who the manufacturer was unless you can find a maker's mark or find the exact same carriage in a manufacturer's catalog.

It's too bad the wheels have been painted white instead of left natural to match the woven basket base, but since that's the case, perhaps you'd like to paint the rest of the carriage too?

Have you examined the woven basket base to make sure there are no broken strands that need to be repaired? If any repairs need to be made then they should be done first. Check for a wicker expert or chair caning expert on my National Furniture Repair Directory to find someone that can perform the restorations for you. http://www.WickerWoman.com/furniture-repair-directory

Otherwise if you'd like to leave the basket base in the natural color and it does not need any repairs, I'd advise using a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine to "feed" the reed first. Then use an oil-base wood stain of your color choice and then use either a shellac or varnish as a final finish coat.  Get details from my website on the Wicker FAQ page and the Wicker Repair and on the Articles section.

Best wishes and enjoy your lovely baby carriage! And check out my website for more information on wicker carriages and antique wicker furniture in general.  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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The Wicker WomanŽ-Cathryn Peters

Expertise

I will answer any questions having to do with antique wicker furniture, wicker furniture repair and restoration, chair caning and all other types of chair seat weaving techniques and patterns. I DO NOT GIVE APPRAISALS or free WHAT IT'S WORTH valuations, nor do I buy/sell wicker furniture at this time.

Experience

Since 1975 I've been repairing and restoring all types of wicker furniture from the 1880s-1940s, with a special interest in the Victorian era. I'm proficient in the repair and restoration of all types of chair seat weaving; hand-twisted cattail and bulrush, paper fiber rush, chair caning of all types, Shaker tape, Danish cord and seagrass. I also teach chair seat weaving at folk schools, basketry conventions and private individuals or groups. I also offer consultations, and will demonstrate and lecture on the craft topics of chair seating, wicker repair and basketry. I am also web master of WickerWoman.com, online since 1999 and founder and moderator of the Seatweaving & Chair Caning Forum since 2004.

Organizations
Founding member and first President of The SeatWeavers' Guild, Inc. (TSWG 2007-2011), Seatweaving & Chair Caning Forum founder and moderator (2004-present), charter member of the National Basketry Organization, numerous regional and state basket guilds, and member of the Basketmakers' and Chair Seaters' Association (BA) located in the United Kingdom.

Publications
Woman's Day Budget Decorating Ideas 2006, Country Living August 2004, Finishing & Restoration Magazine, October 2002, Barbara Brabec's Handmade For Profit, Homemade Money-Starting Smart! and Homemade Money-Bringing in the Bucks!, Collector's Journal, Basketry Round-Up #2 by Shereen LaPlantz, Splint Woven Basketry by Robin Taylor Daugherty, 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women by Priscilla Y. Huff, Ralph & Terry Kovel's Yellow Pages of Restoration Experts, Small Town Minnesota from A-Z by Tony Andersen and monthly Wicker Furniture columnist for Minnesota's The Old Times newspaper in 1993 & 1994.

Education/Credentials
High school graduate, self-taught, and "school of hard knocks" for all the rest!

Awards and Honors
I've been involved in several unique wicker restoration projects such as weaving two wicker chairs for the Johnson Wax Replica Sikorsky S-38 Amphibian Airplane in 1998, then two more in 2000 for Buzz Kaplan, owner of Born Again Restorations, the company that created the replica Sikorsky, and did the restoration of all the wicker furniture in the Itasca State Park, Bemidji, MN during their Centennial celebration in 1995. I've also served as Chair Seatweaving Mentor to an apprentice through the Minnesota State Arts Board Folk Art Grant program in 2000, been the recipient of a McKnight/Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC) Career Opportunity Grant in 2004, and the recipient of a McKnight/ARAC Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2005.

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