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Old Chair Redo: The Gentleman

Written By petite karinne on Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 6:36 PM

I think I have this love affair going on. I can't help it because I think he is handsome and mysterious. 

It all started when I went junking on a wintery spring day. My usual... looking for wrought iron and other metal pieces... 

when there, on top of an old bus (I wanted to take that home too, but hubby said no), I saw a leg of this chair sticking out.  

NO WAY!  An old wooden chair!  With leather and nail tacks and... a handwritten price tag of $100....?

"huh?" Who would toss out this sweet ol' thing? 

I don't know how long it was there, but the weather damage was severe. 

There is something about this old chair that makes me all "gah-gah". If it weren't for the rips and getting slivers from touching it, I would have left it as is. 

Looking closely at it... many parts of it appeared to be handmade. 

The backrest and the seat were filled with straw. 

I developed a deep admiration for it.  How old is it?  Who made it? Who sat on it? I tried to imagine its life in history.  Funny how your mind turns into wild scenarios while working on old pieces. 

I have no idea when this chair was born. I do know whoever built it, did a splendid job while carefully adding the gazillion tiny pointy nails. (joking... maybe a hundred) 

Because of my constant crush on the chair and its mystery, I decided to redo it close to the way I found it.  It won't be painted. Just "freshened up". 

Sanding took literally days. And too many more to keep count. The depth of the gray weathered wood and splits were tough to smooth out.  I could have taken a belt sander to it, but didn't want to chance losing any of its original character.  So, by hand, off and on over the last several months, I was getting to point of repair and stain. 

With glue and wood filler, I repaired splits. 

And tightened joints.

Then sanded again and stained. 

Then moved on to the backrest and seat. 

By adding this scrap beadboard, the seat will have support for an added cushion it didn't previously have.

Then upholstered it with my old suede leather coat and memory foam cushioning. 

I strategically placed the seam of the back of the coat in the center of the seat. 

Then moved on to the fragile caned area.  I would have left it if it wasn't ripped. But decided to use new material with a layer of 1/2" foam. 

To replace the cane, I used this vintage print fabric, stapled in, but still used the original woodwork. Then I felt like I should have left the canework and glued it... then hit up a farm for some hay to fill it. Guilt overwhelmed me. 

Not original, but will serve the hidden purpose. (sigh) 

Then I covered the backrest on the front and the back with more of the suede coat fabric and the original tacks.  I love the natural wear on them. 

The whole time, from finding this chair to setting him up for his photo shoot... I wondered... 

Mr. Chair: Who were you? Where were you? Did you occupy an author? Maybe you reaped in the odor of a tobacco packed smoking pipe in the evenings.  Perhaps enjoyed the fragrance of roses in the room? Or the aromas of steaming vegetables and bread baking from the kitchen? Ah, maybe a farmer sat on you while writing bills. Or, did you support a charming gentleman composing a love letter? Maybe even all of the above. I adore you. 

Well, Mr. Chair... I think you are handsome just the way you are.  I won't paint you. 

So, folks, there you have it. 

My secret crush for months! 

Featured at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House

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