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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Arts and Crafts Oak "Mission" Rocking Chair (ca.1910)

I recently completed the restoration of a rocking chair made in the Mission style that was part of the larger Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th century and into the 20th. All attempts to find a maker for this chair proved to be unfruitful, but by examining the make up of the chair, I am confident that this is an original Mission Rocker from the early part of the 20th century. The chair is made entirely of quartersawn White Oak and came with its original seat which is tarred canvas. For a brief history of the Mission Style, follow this link to an article written by Pete Maloney on the subject:


Structurally the chair was in great shape, but at some point someone had decided to paint the entire chair white. This covered over all of the beautiful ray flake from the quartersawn oak that gives Mission furniture that characteristic look. The current owner of the chair had tried to remove the paint, but seeing what a daunting task this was, turned the chair over to me.

Below are three photos of the chair as it came to me.

the hardest part about this job was removing the paint from the chair which was done meticulously by my associate Jesse. I must give the man credit for this because he worked very hard to make sure the chair was free of the paint. Here is the result!

The following photo shows the chair being glued up. Overall the joinery was tight, but it needed a little gluing.

Originally, the color of mission furniture was achieved by fuming the oak boards with ammonia. A chemical reaction would darken the boards. I believe this chair was originally stained and the stain was removed during the removal of the paint. If the chair had been fumed, I believe the fuming would be evident deeper than just on the surface of the wood. At any rate, I was able to stain the chair to give it that characteristic "Mission" color. Here is a photo of the chair after it was stained.
The slats that held the seat in place were largely replaced and of differing types of wood. As a result I decided to replace them with Yellow Pine and stain it to give it an oxidized look. here are the new slats prior to staining.
These last three photos show the chair after the new finish was applied. I left the cushion off in the photos to show the new slats in the seat. Overall, it turned out very nice!


  1. Very nice job!! I am in the process of restoring a rocker that was in pieces when it was returned to me. It was my grandfathers chair and has a lot of memmories for the family. I would appreciate any information that you could give me regarding the stain. You may contact me at megbr5492@gmail.com.

  2. It's a #359 Stickley Brothers Rocker

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