I spotted the woven top on this bench in a thrift store and of course had to check it out. It was marked Made in Yugoslavia, which was no surprise–it has the same look as the folding lounge chairs that are so common. But I’d never seen a bench before!
The lacquer on the beech frame was very chipped and there was permanent water staining on bottom of the base. It was a perfect candidate for stripping and ebonizing with India ink.
I also didn’t like the way the weaving had sagged; this is the nature of this particular weave but it’s more pronounced when warp strands have to span a longer distance like they do here. Chair seats are not usually this saggy with this weave.
First I stripped all the lacquer off with acetone and applied the India ink. Then after giving it a lot of thought, I decided to convert it to a Danish style weave with L nails on the inside of the frame. I added about 170 nails in all. There was just enough room for the nails in the inside edge of the frame and it worked out pretty well.
This weave is way less prone to sagging and it has a firmer feel. It’s so flat that the bench could even be used as side table.
I think the ebonized frame gives it a much more stylish look. I’m a big fan of paper cord on black!
This bench will be available at Home Anthology beginning Sunday, Dec. 19, 2015.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have lost my workspace and will be suspending upholstery operations. The set-up I had there just doesn’t exist anywhere else, unfortunately. I am making this decision after many months of careful consideration.
I will still be doing weaving with Danish paper cord, rattan, fiber rush, etc. I will also be adding some limited specialty cushions in the coming months and will post about that here. I plan to keep blogging, so stay tuned! Thanks for all your wonderful comments and support in the past.
I recently redid a pair of these Wegner CH22 chairs. The seat on this one wasn’t too bad but the other one had the typical broken strands along the front rail. The wood on both had been treated with some kind of tinted furniture polish that left it blotchy and dull.
This may actually be the other of the two, I’m not sure! The wood on the back is more even in tone now, though it looks pretty dark here (probably due to lighting). I think people use those tinted polishes to get their furniture to match other furniture in the room. Gah.
A broken strand or two opens a gap like this.
Paint is hard to get out. Maybe impossible.
While I really like the patina of old Danish cord in good condition, I think fresh new cord looks really stunning on a vintage chair.
Wegner chairs with cord seats often have small slots at the arm posts and/or back spindles where you have thread the cord through instead of wrapping it around the entire frame. This requires very accurate weaving because it diminishes the margin of error by a lot. The slots are always the width of a specific number of strands. I love the precision of it.
The back of the seat has this very handsome detail that makes it impossible to use a shuttle when weaving, so the whole process takes longer. But it’s so beautiful!
I bought this rarely-seen lounge chair by Bramin of Denmark for myself because it was so comfortable and I loved the look. It consists of a styrofoam shelf with foam padding on a teak frame. However, that upholstery…it is a beautiful Maharam fabric called “Radiant” but even with the right type of padding on this chair, this fabric doesn’t have enough give to it to hug those curves.
I stripped all the old foam and polyester batting off the styrofoam shell and put new foam on. The new fabric is Maharam/Kvadrat’s Hallingdal #830, which has blue threads in one direction and bright olive in the other. I had some Tonus fabric all picked out for it but at the last minute I saw the Hallingdal on Modern-Fabrics.com and snatched it up!
See that big dart where the back meets the arm? And the general bagginess of the fabric? You really need a slightly stretchy fabric for this kind of chair. This one is beautiful, but it’s not right for this chair.
Hallingdal works better. Tonus would be even easier to work with but I was swayed by the color combo of that weave!
This is the underside of the seat. The entire outside of the chair is just one piece of fabric with the only seams being along the bottom sides where they don’t show. It takes a lot of smoothing and tugging and readjusting to get them just right, then they are hand stitched in place. The previous upholsterer just stretched the outside back fabric from seam to seam without trying to get it to conform to the contours of the shell. Or maybe he tried but gave up in frustration, which I could totally understand.
The fabric has to be glued to the styrofoam shell where it curves around the back perimeter. This is tricky to do. And you can see here that those seams along the bottom sides are hidden so all you get is that wonderful curved expanse of beautiful fabric.
I redid this Overman sofa recently. I know Overman production shifted to the US at some point but this was made in Sweden.
The fabric is “Fleece” by Unika Vaev, which started out as a Danish company. The fabric is a reversible wool with bobbles of contrasting color wool in neat rows. It’s very soft and nubby and has plenty of give for those lovely curves.
As usual, I forgot to take a before photo before I ripped into it. It was covered in this vinyl with a nice pebbled cowhide look, but it had split in a few places and there’s no fixing that.
I like fabric on these better than vinyl anyway.
Call Home Anthology at 410-744-0042 if you’re interested in either the sofa or the hand-embroidered crewel pillow, also by Modern Chair Restoration.
Every once in awhile I see a Danish chair seat woven with fiber rush, or repairs done in fiber rush. Are they they same thing?
Both are made of twisted brown kraft paper, like the stuff paper bags are made of. But fiber rush, which is a substitute for real rush (as in, bulrushes, which are the leaves of cattail plants) is one ply. That means there’s only one strip of paper twisted to form the finished cord. It’s the one on the left in the photo above.
Danish paper cord has three plies, or, rarely, two. You can make them out in the photo above but that’s what’s called “unlaced”, which just means that it’s been rolled so that the plies are flattened together. Unlaced cord is the one that’s easy to mistake for fiber rush. It has the same smooth texture as fiber rush. “Laced” paper cord has more definition to the plies. It looks more like rope.
When you untwist the plies, the difference is striking.
Even though the two are about the same diameter, you can see that the Danish paper cord has twice as much paper. It’s also a better quality paper. It has longer fibers that withstand a lot more wear than those in the fiber rush.
I don’t know if you can use Danish paper cord in chairs that are meant to be done in fiber rush. I would think…probably? But don’t use fiber rush on chairs that are supposed to have Danish paper cord. It will wear out and break much sooner along the inside top edge of the front rail. Authentic Danish cord breaks there too but it usually takes a few decades.
This chair made in Sweden by Overman has an appealing shape, but boy was that vinyl tired-looking!
Knoll’s Classic Boucle in Crimson suits the chair’s personality perfectly, in my opinion.
Originally the seams were machine stitched and then top stitched.
I hand stitch the entire perimeter instead, which gives it smoother, almost seamless look.
Hand stitching is done by inserting a curved needle into each side of the seam at opposite points. This is called a ladder stitch.
After you do 6-8 stitches, you pull the thread tight and the seam closes up and nearly disappears–like magic!
(Thanks to Home Anthology for providing the setting for my photos of the finished chair.)
This Wegner CH25 chair had the usual broken strands that come with age and use. It also arrived in pieces but a competent repairman took care of those issues, leaving me free to weave. And weave. And weave…!
The variation in weave on the back is there to hide the knots.
The slots at the top and bottom (not shown) enable you to continue the weave pattern in front while doing the variation in back. Very clever!
I never get tired of woven paper cord. It’s so beautiful.
There are a lot of these folding chairs from Yugoslavia around. They were made with a tinted clear finish that is almost always scratched and scuffed, and the original hemp/cotton cord is inevitably frayed and worn. I’ve always wanted to ebonize a pair of them and finally I got the chance.
These are done in Danish paper cord, which wears better than the original cord. I also did a more Danish-style weave. (Photo courtesy of Rob Degenhard at Home Anthology).
I just love the look of the natural kraft paper color against the soft black of the wood.
This once-handsome chair was made by Ulferts Fabriker in Tibro, Sweden, according to the tag.
Reupholstered in Maharam/Kvadrat’s Hallingdal wool hopsack, it’s ready for the next few decades!
The original wool fabric was completely worn through in places and the foam of course was shot. The teak frame had some scuffs and was a little dull and grimy but not nearly as bad as the fabric.
It’s surprising what a little teak oil and #0000 steel wool can do.
I couldn’t find much about this company online. Obviously they exported some things to the U.S. because this label is American.
This is colorway 227. It looks darker on Maharam’s website. It has golden brown yarns in one direction and light heather gray in the other. I think it looks gorgeous with the old teak.
One of the things I really like about this chair is how square it is but with most of the lines softened by just a bit of curve. It has a really solid look without being hard at all. Very appealing!