Chair and Back Again

Original chair

Early in my married life, I was fascinated with country decorating.  I spent quite a bit of time buying  or thinking about buying primitive antiques, whether I needed them or not.  I was particularly fond of old chairs, and I was convinced that sooner or later I would buy some priceless Shaker chair that would make us all rich. 

Our townhouse had a cathedral ceiling, and I enlisted Mr. Artifact to hang the chairs about 15 feet in the air.

My antique dealer grandparents, the original proprietors of Butternut Place, encouraged this behavior.  Soon, I was the proud owner of a number of old chairs that were primarily display pieces and upon which no one ever sat.  Who could sit 15 feet up in the air?

Fast forward a couple years, and the country style décor was replaced with Queen Anne furniture and Waverly fabrics, a malady from which I am still suffering.   They say it is curable.  To treat this, you just need money and new furniture.  Or maybe, you just need to go get those dang chairs out of the shop where they have been tied up in the rafters for the last 25 years!

True to form, Mr. Artifact took to the challenge of restoring the chairs with a fierce-some determination.  Of course, this involved finding out “how to do it” and buying the materials, both of which he did via the web (see this good website ).  I have to say it was great fun to watch Mr. Artifact do this.  He endured some mild nagging from me about maintaining the original patina of the finish (he did) without so much as a scowl.

chair concert
My private banjolele concert
Before I knew it, he was done and sitting on the porch (in the chair) shredding “Red River Valley” on his banjolele. 
The project was especially sentimental because my grandfather, part of the duo that encouraged our antique collecting, was an expert craftsman and restored countless pieces of furniture, including hand caned chairs. My only regret is that I wished we had learned how to do this directly from Gramps.   But even so, I think he’d be proud.
So, one down, five to go!  And we will actually sit on them this time around!
This project actually was a great deal and much less than what you would pay to  purchase an antique restored chair.  Yee Ha!
What did this cost?
$7.95        Seagrass 
$5.95        Book:  Making Chair Seats from Cane, Rush and Other Natural Materials (by                     Ruth B.Comstock) 
$15.00      Paint Stripper, Stain, Varnish, Sandpaper (approximately)
$45.00      Chair
Priceless  Private Banjolele Concert
$73.90     TOTAL

3 Comments Add yours

  1. William Morgan says:

    Stacey, your blog is awesome. Today was the first time I had seen it. I do think that it’s developed such that you can sell some advertising space to any number of food related companies. Maybe ADM, they could use some exposure in a blog such as yours.


  2. Joan Dulac says:

    Great job Stace and Martin! We did a little of that years back and Mark caned a number of chairs for us that we still use of course.


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