Monday, September 28, 2009

My Mother's Diningroom Chairs, P-1

I'm more than happy to do these for my mother, I love to upholster and I don't get enough of it year to year, so far I'm sticking to my new goal for this refurbish more furniture. My mother's dining room chairs needed to be done a long time ago, but better now than not ever!

Much to my surprise the edge of seat frame is tapered, plan B....instead of placing a piece of board on the will have to fit perfectly to the taper and slant towards the edge, easily done if you know what you are doing. Interesting to me..., the seat covers are original to the chairs, how do I know that? A, you could not remove the brads by simply popping the leather as the material desecrated at a touch, removing the brads became a individual pulling of each. Then we became smart and cut the edge of the material,

using a screwdriver under the nailed strip of leather, we pounded the screwdriver's end with a hammer and slide along the row, the removal went a lot easier. B, I researched the company that manufactured these chairs, it's just something I do when working with ancient things, sort of a hobby I guess.

I hate to say it but 2 out of the 6 chairs are going to give me a problem with the label because as you can see from the photo above they are attached to the leather, I'll have to figure something out.
Anyway, the label clearly shows, Established 1867....S. Bent & Brothers....manufacturer of chairs and settees...Station A, Gardner, Mass....dovetail joints used on all wooden seat chairs.....and in the highlighted square and faint, very faint number. Many people think "S Bent" stands for steam bent, a procedure used to make some wood pliable. S. Bent stands for Samuel Bent who established the company in 1867 thus the number, used in a stock recording. The logo was first branded on the wood and continued this way into the early 1900's. For the first years of the company they made spindle chairs in the colonial flair.
Do you see my template rubbing around the tapered edge of the seat? Easy, peasy, I did it with the side of a pencil, choosing and pencil with blue as the color. I must say...I found the information on this company very interesting, it's the first time I became educated in a antique and got no answer about least to my memory.
A perfect template! Time for hubby to work his magic!

While researching, I first came upon a forum which included a furniture businessman that stated "good news" and "bad news". The good news is...he had never repaired a S Bent piece of furniture due to defect or poor workmanship, it was always owner abuse. The bad news is...the furniture was massed produced so it's not that high in price as antiques go. He went on to say the company closed in 2000. Wow! That is an old company!!

The skill saw....which I still think looks like a fisher price toy.

The scroll saw...which is a personal favorite of mine. You can tell it was raining on this day, look at "Jack of all trades" shirt, he became dripped on when he went to his truck to get another battery for his skill saw, good day for a joint project!

Finally, the ever handy sander, couldn't live without one!

Wa-la! We have perfect seating! I had to replace the hideous strapped webbing that serves no useful purpose in furniture anymore. I'm sure, in a time when the wood industry didn't make a good quality thin veneer, the strapping came in handy. With a framed seat made from hardwood the straps rotted and gave way quicker than anything else, sturdy wood is better planned for such a small area. I'm pretty sure the stuffing is some mixture of horsehair and fibers, needing a updated replacement will be a good thing.

Getting back to the company though, the information I found clearly reads the S. Bent and Brothers inc was known for their use of leather in their seating.
Cool. I can remember these, being they were my grandparents, as very uncomfortable to sit in even when I was a kid, but, unique chairs. The company started with colonial type pieces of furniture and by 1870's they were making children's chairs, rockers and stools. From 1920 to the 1950's they made breakfast settees and institutional furniture. The 1960's brought a speciality in college and university chairs. What does that leave for 6 chairs of the same kind? I have no clue, I'm assuming since the label has settee in the contents, these chairs would be from a breakfast design and dated before 1960.

On a personal note, I was a little melancholy to see someone had written "lucky chair"
on one of the frames, could it be my grandmother? Or my mother? Either way, I'd removed it from the chair itself, now it will have to be a"lucky seat." I think my mother as a kid, looks like her writing.

These are going to be so nice, stay tuned. C&G Design


tina said...

I can't wait to see them done! I am so excited you are doing this!

Nancy @ La Chambre Rose said...

Interesting. I just never know what you will be up to next. We will stay tuned. I'm sending a link to your blog today from mine. Still writing so check later. Popped over to get the link and now y'all are refinishing chairs! :-)

Looks like a rainy week. Good time to get things done.

Roses and Lilacs said...

I have some dining room chairs that need new seats also. They are a fruitwood finish now but I'm going to paint them white for a cottage style look.

Jean said...

What interesting info on the maker of my chairs. The table has always been with the chairs and the same wood and finish so I assume it to be a set. I will have to see if there is a tag on the table. I keep it small now but it also has 4 or 5 more leafs with it. I do not remember writing my lucky chair under it. Nor do I remember it being there. Since I would bet that Nana would NEVER have done something like that, I think it must have been there when she bought the set. Now Dawn you did not leave here with the seats till late Saturday so you and Jack had a busy day yesterday. Since you are posting on them I bet now you wish you had taken one of the chairs instead of just all of the seats.

Skeeter said...

I cannot wait to see the final product! I restored a chair a few years ago and I too decided the webbing was a waste of time and a wood seat was much better...

Kathleen said...

I use to live near Gardiner, Mass. I still have relatives there. Gardiner was a city famous for furniture. In fact, as you entered town, there was a huge two story chair, so you wouldn't forget. Looks like the two of you are doing a fine job...seems there is a lot to put into this project. Bet these charis will be beauties when you're done. Hugs, Kathleen

Lola said...

Great job Dawn. Waiting to see final product.

Martha's Favorites said...

How wonderful that you are doing this for your Mama. It looks hard. I can not wait to see the finished product. Blessings, Martha