Ladson Antique restoration is your chair repair expert in Melbourne, over the years I have been successful in repairing and restoring many pieces of antique furniture and wooden chairs. Chairs seem be my most popular job as most people are using them in their daily life. They seem to get more use and abuse than most other pieces in your home. You also get to see a lot of bad repairs where people have tried to fix it themselves. People put screws in joints and use the wrong type of glues for the job. This ends up taking more time and costs more to repair when it can be done right the first time by an expert.
Mentioned below is a step by step process which will give you a clear picture of how I mend a broken chair when it is brought to me.
The chair mentioned below is an antique chair which was originally constructed in 1900. When it was brought to me it was very wobbly and loose. Lucky the chair was bought in before any further damage was caused.
The first thing I needed to do was detach the wooden plugs which are used to cover the screws located at the arm-to-back and arm support-to-seat. As soon as the screws were taken out, the arms of the chair came off. I also removed the seat and the corner blocks.
After that, using a rubber mallet I dismantled the stretchers, legs and arms. All of the detached parts were examined for any kind of breakage or cracks. As it is seen in common cases the back frame of the chair was solid and it did not need to be removed.
After the whole chair was dismantled, all the residual glue was removed from the joints.
Now while all of this process is going on one thing to keep in mind is that the parts of the chair have to be dismantled in a proper way so that they can be put back together. If a mistake happens, it proves to be very damaging as even if one part is misplaced the overall appearance of the chair gets affected.
To avoid this mistake, I have found a step by step procedure which makes my work a lot easier. I use some tape on the parts once disassembled and then mark each joint so it is easier to identify when it comes to reassembling the chair.
Then all the disassembled parts were cleaned and also the joints on the oak chair were cleaned, I then re-glue the parts using the correct glue for the job and put back all the dismantled pieces as they were before. Clamps are used to pull the joints tight and the chair was left to dry overnight. Many of the missing wooden plugs were restored. Wooden plugs are found in countless shapes, sizes and species of wood.
To finish up
For the last bit of finishing a fresh coat of light oak furniture wax was applied and it was buffed to a soft sheen.
Does your bentwood chair need a new cane seat?
I am going to be brutally honest with you, there is not a single readymade replacement seat that is already caned.
If you want your cane seat to be replaced, here’s a quick list of things that you might want to do.
Sturdiness and stability is a must for any chair, when it comes to replacing the cane seat you also have to keep in mind these factors. Glue is only needed to join the top of the front legs. All of the other parts are joined by screws.
Hand cane or cane webbing:
Before replacing the old cane seat, you need to make sure if it is hand cane or cane webbing. A hand cane is woven by workers strand by strand and it goes through holes in the wooden frame. To identify a hand cane, you just have to turn the chair over and if you find the cane on the other side the seat it is definitely a hand cane. If you want to identify a cane webbing look for the spline around the surface of the chair.
Antique bentwood chairs mostly have hand cane seats. Though many have been transformed from hand cane, to cane webbing. There are two main reasons for this, time and money. Cane webbing is the affordable option when compared to hand cane. Such conversions are one of the services I can provide in my shop. The main reason behind doing such conversions are that it is cost effective and does not decrease the strength of the frame. For Bentwood style chairs it is very easy to identify which type of cane has been used as on the top it will either have a spline holding the cane in or you will be able to see the cane threaded through the holes underneath the chair frame.
Replace the cane seat
The most difficult part of restoring the cane webbing is removing the spline and cleaning the groove. Once this is completed, a pre-woven sheet of cane is cut exactly to fit in position and installed and a whole new spline is glued in.
Once that’s done the chair is left to dry and the cane is stained to match
Make the new look old
This procedure is especially important for antique furniture. Even if the seat is new, we carry out this process to match the chair to others especially if the chair is part of a set.