06 Sep upholstery fabric chair
Not too long ago I worked on two chairs made in France circa 1800. It’s a little difficult to firmly put these chairs in a single stylistic class, although I conservatively lean in the direction of the French Empire Interval which lasted roughly from 1804-1814, I have good motive to assume that no less than the arm chair was made previous to 1800 which strictly speaking would put that chair within the Directoire-Consulate interval (1795-1799) that bridged the gap between the Louis XVI interval and the Empire period. Each chairs are made primarily of Mahogany with Beech used as a secondary wooden. The chairs are also decorated with Bronze Mounts that had been once coated with a gold and mercury amalgam referred to as Ormolu, wherein the mixture is utilized to the forged bronze after which heated, removing the mercury and leaving a skinny layer of gold utilized to the bronze. Over time this layer has been eliminated by cleaning, but evidence of the original gold was visible in many locations.
the arm chair specifically was very broken and the customer and i decided the perfect course of action was to take away the upholstery so that I might access the damaged areas higher and make higher repairs. Ultimately this meant eradicating the back from the chair and dismantling it. Beneath is a photograph of the chair as it came into the store adopted by some photographs of the damage to the back legs of the chair.
Upon eradicating the upholstery from the chair, I found a signature on the rear seat stretcher. the signature was written in India ink and appears to say “Filjame” adopted by a date of either 1798 or 1793. This date was very arduous to read and the extra I checked out it the more I felt prefer it may say something else! Under are some images of the signature.
I spoke with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Metropolis regarding the signature. The museum homes a big collection of Continental furniture and so I figured they may know of this maker. The had not heard of him, however steered that this is also the signature of an upholsterer. My feeling about it’s that it’s the signature of the cabinetmaker due to the inside prominence of the signature. This signature is well executed and centered on the inside of the rear seat stretcher. It was meant to be seen ( as soon as the upholstery was eliminated) and it almost appears to exude pleasure in workmanship. Although this is all speculative, it is my feeling on the matter.
As far as the date is concerned, being signed in the 18th century would make the chair older than the Empire period by a number of years. All of these types advanced and a number of other design motifs spanned intervals, particularly once they have been short lived. The tendency we now have to place a chunk of furniture in a specific interval is comparatively trendy, and to the maker and the original owner, it could have been a chair made in the newest style. Both manner , it’s a nicely made chair that employs beautiful West Indies mahogany and great design.
Once the chair was dismantled, the first step in repairing it was to glue all of the damaged pieces in place. These had been all centered across the joinery in the back of the chair, in one case the place tenons for a seat stretchers meet the rear leg and in another, the place the crest rail is joined to the rear leg. In both case, these areas have been weakened by elimination of wood to create mortises and additional weakened with the introduction of pegs, used to safe the joints. At first, these joints had been sound and the lack of wooden was countered by tenons glued in place. After 200+ years, the glue failed and the wooden became brittle, resulting in the structural failure. Under are a few pictures of the damaged items being glued in place on the best rear submit (The course is given as if you have been facing the chair).
The left rear leg, seen under was in a lot worse shape.
Right here is the left rear leg after it was glued back together.
One drawback in this leg was that when the joinery was pegged, the holes from the pegs broke the internal shoulder of the mortise, making this shoulder structurally pointless. I decided to rectify this by removing a bit of wood and putting a patch that can be stable and bridge the decrease and higher components of the leg. Again, the location of this mortise is at the seat stretcher/leg intersection.
To create this patch, I employed a brand new methodology for me. It entails making a adverse area for the patch with a stacked dado blade (image a bunch of round desk noticed blades sandwiched collectively in the table noticed). I first clamped the leg to the desk saw fence and secured it in position, and then raised the blade into the stationary leg. This may be seen under.
Leg clamped to the fence, the blade is lowered into the table.
Element of the photograph above.
Whereas the blade was running, I slowly raised it into the wooden, eradicating the broken materials and making a detrimental space within the diameter of the blade.
Below is a photo of the leg with the arced adverse house minimize by the dado blade.
An analogous procedure was accomplished on the other leg, the place the crest rail met the right leg.
A detailed up of the broken area.
The broken area being eliminated by the dado stack.
Once the unfavourable areas were made. I milled a bit of mahogany to the exact thickness of the space cut by the dado stack. I then used a compass to hint an arc at the identical diameter of the dado blade. I then lower the arc out on the band noticed, giving me a patch that match completely into the detrimental space made by the dado blades. Beneath is a photograph of me scribing the arc. I clamped a piece of poplar to the mahogany to offer a heart point of the compass and then drew the arc.
Clamping the patch on the rear right leg.
The patch on the rear proper leg as soon as it was pared flush with a chisel.
The patch on the seat stage on the rear left leg earlier than and after it was pared flush.
Drilling out the patch on the rear proper leg to create a mortise that would accept the crest rail tenon.
The accomplished mortise.
I learned of this methodology of patching by discovering it’s use in a chair I used to be reparing. While not handwork, I like this patch as a result of it’s an effective method of repair and can be hid inside the workpiece so much simpler then a hand lower patch. I’ve used it in a number of eventualities and have discovered that it really works nice each time.
The side chair was in much better shape structurally and really all that it needed was to have the finish cleaned and the upholstery changed to match the armchair. Right here is a photo of the side chair because it came to the store.
A detailed up of the ormolu mount on the splat. Neoclassical themes abound!
To wash the Ormolu, I decided to use alcohol on a delicate rag in opposition to an abrasive like fantastic steel wool. This may preserve any gold left on the bronze. Below is a photograph of the identical hardware cleaned.
Right here is a photograph of the aspect chair with the end restored able to go to the upholsterer. Because I didn’t need to fix any structural issues on the chair, I left the upholstery on and the upholsterer eliminated it.