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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Late Classical Mahogany Rocking Chair (ca.1830)

The Completed Rocker

 A recent restoration project involved a Late Classical Mahogany rocker made around 1830. The rocker was stamped with the name "S. Winslow" on the inside of the front seat stretcher. Unfortunately, no other reference to this chairmaker could be found, but most likely, he was working in one of the cultural centers of the eastern seaboard during the early 19th century and produced this rocking chair. Judging by the detail and the mahogany used, I would think that this chair was made in an urban area, and not in the country. Also, the fact that the cabinet maker had a stamp (or signed his work at all) indicated that it came from a shop that was producing a good amount of furniture.

The rocker had several structural problems when it came to me. The right arm post (facing the chair) had fallen off and the joinery was generally loose. The finish was also in rough shape and after some consideration, I decided to remove it. Below are two photos of the rocker as it came to me.

The buttons were pulled on the back of the rocker, but they were very uneven. Generally, this fabric was worn and not original, so the customer and I decided to have it reupholstered as well. The button layout can be seen below.

Once the finish was removed from the chair, I set about the repairs. One quick note, the way this chair was designed, the upholstery was attached to a seat frame and a back frame that once upholstered, would fit into the frame of the chair and be screwed in place. The only fabric that was attached to the chair itself is a piece of fabric on the back side of the back. This covers the work on the back side of the back frame. Once these frames were removed, all that was left was the chair frame. In disassembling the chair, the crest rail fell off as well. This had been repaired previously several times and need to be glued in place. Below is a photo of the chair frame with the crest rail and arm removed for re-gluing.
This next photo shows the chair frame assembled and sanded, ready to be stained and finished. The following photo shows the chair after it was stained.

This last photo shows the completed chair with the new upholstery. The buttons were pulled on the back but this time they were placed a little more evenly!

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