Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rockin' and Rollin'

Hello Hello!  For your viewing pleasure, I have here a 1940's leather rocking chair...

Ain't she a beaut?? The leather was, to say the least, dry rotted. The springs were sagging and poking through the bottom, and the cushion was far from cushiony. But my client was rocked to sleep in this chair by her mother when she was a baby...hard to not respect that one. So, trying to keep as much of the original integrity in tact, I got to work.

The first thing I noticed was that the entire back of the chair was stuffed with horse hair.  I knew that was what they used to use, I had just never personally worked on a chair this old to have come across it before.  The second thing I noticed, and was completely surprised by, was that the seat cushion wasn't actually a cushion.  When I pulled back the original leather, straw started to fall out.  It was EVERYWHERE!  The seat was actually straw that had basically disintegrated into dust.

What a MESS.

Instead of real leather, which can get pretty pricey, my client opted for the vinyl substitute (you can't tell the difference).

The nailheads that were originally on it pulverized when I tried to pry them off.  So new ones had to be purchased as well as new leather strapping for trim.

All in all, I think she turned out pretty good - a far cry from where she was when I got my hands on her.

I found this emblem on the back of the chair and thought it looked pretty cool.  The BL Marble Chair Co. in Bedford, OH (not far from where I live).   So I did some Googling and found this article from the Bedford Historical Society.  Apparently, it was a big office, factory, and, residential chair company that also built airplane propellers (random) during WWII.  Just a little factoid that makes working on this particular piece quite an honor :)