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Thread: Antique Demo Chairs

  1. #1
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    Antique Demo Chairs

    LOML's mom and her sister received a pair of these as presents in 1944 from a family friend who owned a furniture store. The story I'm told is that furniture makers used reduced scale models as floor pieces so folks could order full size pieces of the ones they liked(?).

    She is after me to repair some failed dowel joints which I am OK with. She also wants them refinished to which I am opposed. They do look like chairs that have been used by children. They have since been used as decorative pieces throughout the years.

    Seats have obviously been re-fabric-ed (is that a word?) but the original finish is cool although damaged. I'm in favor of a good cleaning and leaving the finish as is. Anybody want to back me (or her) as far as refinishing?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails JansChair-1.jpg   JansChair-2.jpg  
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  2. #2
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    As far as refinishing the chairs that would depend. Personaly if I am going to reglue the joints on the chair I will refinish it. If you against refinishing due to the takeing away value, well that is a myth. Here is a link to a place that has info on it http://www.refinishwizard.com/index.htm

  3. #3
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    Thanks Al. Excellent info for the uneducated (me). I too fell under the impression that refinishing was bad. She has been offered $1000 for the pair but states that she will never sell them as she plans to hand them down. It seems I should reconsider the refinishing question. This brings to light that I am probably no where near qualified to refinish the pieces and maybe should recommend a professional if she feels strongly about the appearance (?).
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  4. #4
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    Glen I have posted some info from another WW forum on my posting ( if that is not too confusing) about the antique furniture I am dealing with right now. You might find something useful there in dealing with the finish. Like you and I guess many others besides myself we are less than knowledgeable about restoring old furniture. Hope this helps a bit.

    Drew
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  5. #5
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    Al, thanks for the link.

    Drew
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  6. #6
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    Glenn,

    I wouldn't hesitate to refinish those. They're not something left over from the revolutionary period, after all. Now, if you're looking for a way to avoid the hassle, that's another story...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  7. #7
    I'm not convinced about the demo story. Most demo pieces were considerable smaller. They did, however, make children's chairs and furniture, of that quality. Expensive, they were, and rare to find in as good of condition as you have. I too would go ahead and refinish the chairs and if possible open and reglue the joints. But I would not "Strip" them. as that would result in sanding and re-establishing a color and all the tripe that that offers. Sinse these don't have paint or other deforming coverups i would like to preserve the Patina (actually Patina is the green associated with carroded copper but we often misuse the term to fit our needs) and the dings and scratches created by the fun and gaity of children over the years and generations, Too fine of a finish forbids future generations from enjoying them ("...she will never sell them as she plans to hand them down.")

    I would determine the finish material and use an appropriate thinnner to clean the surface. Possibly use a product like "Formby's" that cleans and dissolves old finishes, leaving the wood intact. After dressing up the piece, I would finish off with Gloss Wipe-on Poly (I would select Gloss as you can bring down a shine but cannot brighten a semigloss as semigloss has chemical reflactors to prevent any glossy reflextion. Several coats of Wipe-on poly w/scuffing between, allow a couple of days for hardening and finding places that need improvement. give a rub-down with Pumice & oil to optain the sheen that you desire.

    Looks like a great project and the results will be a fine keepsake, the already imbedded scars from your M-I-L and Aunt's playing and growing up enjoying the chairs will remain with this type re-finish approach and a good poly finish will be able to withstand future distressing childplay.

    Your next project should be to make an appropriate Queen Anne Style Table to accompany these chairs.
    Last edited by Bill Simpson; 12-07-2007 at 06:44 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    Now, if you're looking for a way to avoid the hassle, that's another story...
    Was I really that transparent . . . ? You're on to me.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #9
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    Cool chairs, Glenn. Makes me think of the miniature tent models that are sometimes displayed in stores. I always wanted one of those.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    ...(actually Patina is the green associated with carroded copper but we often misuse the term to fit our needs) ...
    I agree with your suggestions Bill, but the wordsmith in me feels compelled to point out that "patina" is not at all limited to just copper. Messrs. Webster, Thorndike and Barnhart agree with me on that. Patina on wood, leather, granite, etc. is not misuse at all.
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  10. #10
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    I think re-upholstered is the word you were looking for. Cool chairs but Id refinish them too.
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

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    one."
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