Recently I completed the restoration of a few side chairs that were made in the style of what are known as Duncan Phyfe lyre back side chairs. Properly stated, these chairs are made in Neoclassical style that dominated the early 19th century, but most people identify them with Duncan Phyfe. Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854) Was a Scottish born cabinetmaker who came to America in 1784. Ultimately, he opened a shop in New York city and made fine furniture in the Neoclassical and later American Empire style. For more info on Duncan Phyfe, here is a link to the Wikipedeia page concerning him:
The chairs I worked on were reproductions, and lacked some of the refinement seen in originals or high end reproductions. These chairs were made in a factory and, as is often the case in factory furniture, ease of repeated manufacture dictates design choices. All of that being said these chairs have nice lines and look great restored.
The chairs are made primarily from Birch with the exception of Mahogany used on the lyres. The chairs originally were stained during the finishing process, with the result of making them uniform in color and hiding any defects or color variety in the wood. Likewise, the grain of the wood is also obscured when this process is used. Because of this and the fact that there was some significant dings and scratches overall, the customer decided to have the chairs refinished.
besides the finish work, the chairs were loose and needed to be glued. There was also one glue block missing and one turned finial on one of the lyres that needed to be replaced. Below you can see some photos of the entire process.
Here is a photo of one of the chairs as it came to me.
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