We acquired this chair at the Fall Clinch River Antique Festival in Clinton TN. It is fairly solid, although it is missing the seat rail on the side opposite the writing surface and is in need of glue on several joints. The writing surface is solid and stable when raised, and folds down nicely when not in use. My husband and I re-purpose old chairs and would like to bring this chair back to useable condition because it is so unique. We would probably cord the seat after replacing the rail and would clean and refinish the surface - no sanding or striping - more like Howard's or Formby's.
We don't want to ruin an authentic piece and would appreciate your opinion on if we should proceed or not - depending on the value and any history that could influence the re-work.
Answer you have several options on restoration and/or conservation. I recently bought a similar chair for 135 at a local shop. if i were to sell it it would be priced at 300 minimum. i left it alone as i liked the look but i did clean it up with mineral spirits then waxed it with Briwax. might be something for you to consider.
this chair is from around 1880 and i see that your very best friends are in the picture!!
if the seat rail is missing or broken out this can be replaced without cutting the seat out. it is tricky but can be done if you are game. you have to carefully make one of the holes deeper-using a flat bottom drill bit called a forstner bit--so you can slide the new round into the hole then put the other end into the opposite hole then find the middle ground and when you glue it in use wedges cut from tulip poplar to hold it in place in the hole. there are a couple of other nuances doing this if yo are interested we an discuss. There is also another method as well.
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How can you beat this? An extremely knowledgeable and thorough answer in less than 24 hours. Mr. Klein was gracious to share his experience and expertise with a "newbie" in the field of antiques and refinishing techniques and that is so refreshing in todays world of "pay me first" web sites. This is a great first experience with this web site and Robert Klein is an asset to the beginners of a fascinating new hobby. Thanks so much for your rapid reply and a pleasant experience overall.
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.
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.
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.,
Antiques Dealers Association
Education/Credentials BA Florida State University
BA University of West Florida 1971