Selig Plycraft lounge chair and ottoman

4/27/13:  UPDATE!  I’m downsizing and have consigned this chair and ottoman to Home Anthology for sale.  Please contact them if you’re interested in purchasing.

Plycraft lounge chairs are a good alternative to the Eames lounge chairs for those of us who like the look but don’t have the checkbook to match.

 

Unfortunately, they usually come in this faded tan leather which has often turned kind of a greenish shade on the arm rests.  I think some were even done in vinyl and often you find them redone in strange fabrics.  The foam is usually shot, too.

 

They are comfortable when redone with new foam.  Some people even find them more comfortable than the Eames chairs.  They also tilt, which for some is a plus.  And of course, there’s that price point.

 

I redid this one in an espresso brown leather from Kyson Leather on eBay.  I love working with Kyson–they are always happy to send swatches and will also pick out hides from their stock that isn’t listed on eBay if you tell them what you’re looking for.  (And nope, I don’t work for them in any capacity–just a satisfied customer!)

 

Often these Plycraft chairs have simple platform arm rests.  This one was made by Selig (not sure what the relationship was to Plycraft but the chairs are so similar that I think there must be a link).  It had curved arm rests like the Eames chairs but with no welt, so it looked…ok, cheap.  I restyled them with welt on both top and bottom edges.  It just looks better, I think.

I also stripped and refinished the plywood.  Plycraft/Selig finished these with a tinted varnish, I guess to even out the grain pattern…?  Anyway, it invariably gets scuffed and scratched, showing the lighter wood beneath.  Also, in evening out the grain, it dulls it.  A natural finish of oil looks so much better and is easy to touch up should the chair get a little scuff.

 

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50 Responses to Selig Plycraft lounge chair and ottoman

  1. dave schwain says:

    You do beautiful work! I have a question…..I have a plycraft chair with a deep chinese red finish which is scratched. Any ideas for a stain color to be a relatively close match for some touch-up? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks very much.

    • MCR says:

      Sorry, I don’t do that kind of refinishing so I have no idea. You should probably determine the type of finish and go from there. A good furniture refinisher can probably help. Good luck!

  2. Lukas says:

    Hi,
    I bought an Eames Lounge Chair in that espresso brown as on your picture http://www.modernchairrestoration.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/selig6.jpg but it didnt come with an arm rest. (ebay). Would you be able to make them for me? If yes, for what price? Where are you located?
    Thanks
    Lukas

    • MCR says:

      I’m sorry, I don’t do any parts fabrication. You’d probably have to find a metal fabricator to make the bracket and then someone to cut the plywood base that goes on top.

  3. Carly says:

    Hi
    You seem to know alot about these chairs… I have one I am interested in buying… would it be possible to send you some pictures of it so that you could tell me in your opinion if you think its a plycraft or a selig??
    Also – the person I want to buy it from it almost positive that its pleather… I had thought that reproduction eames chairs were still real leather… is that not true?
    Just hoping you know, if you dont thats totally fine.
    Thanks,
    Carly

    • MCR says:

      Carly,

      My knowledge is mostly in how to reupholster these. I’ve noticed that there are many different versions by one or both companies and the only way I know of to tell them apart for sure is by looking at the “Do Not Remove” tags on the bottom—if they’re still there! Otherwise I’m afraid I can’t be of much help.

      All of the ones I’ve seen so far with original upholstery have been leather. It’s a cheap grade that many people mistake for vinyl.

  4. Murray Slovis says:

    I need info on refurbishing my Eames Lounge chair and ottoman.

    I have and Eames lounge chair and ottoman that I am looking to refurbish.
    It is about 18 years old with the following label attached:

    Code: 7 Line: 305 Style: 767-13/10 Description: PLYMSTR/OT.TO TP/GRN/LEA BLACK.

    CAN YOU HELP?

    Murray

    • MCR says:

      First, are you in the Baltimore area? I only work with local clients. I don’t do any shipping at all.

      Second, is it a genuine Eames lounge chair? The label doesn’t sound like it is, but I’m not an expert on Eames labels. If it is a genuine Eames chair, you’re better off contacting Herman Miller about restoration or one of the few places around the country who do a lot of Eames chairs. They can be found online.

  5. Brady says:

    I have a Plycraft with an ottoman that needs a base. Do you know where I might locate one?

    • MCR says:

      I would just keep an eye on eBay. They occasionally show up there and you might get one for cheap if the wood part is chipped badly enough (and they often are). You can set up a saved search so that you get emails about new listings, that way you don’t have to look when there’s nothing new. Good luck!

  6. Michael Bedford says:

    Hi. Nice work on the selig chair and ottoman. I was just given one of these yesterday by my in-laws. I really like how much it looks like an Eames lounge (which I’ve lusted after for years). From your photos, I think it’s in “slightly” worse shape than the one you worked on. I think I’d really like to try the renovation of my chair, but I have no skill in chair making (or pattern making… leather cutting… or sewing…). Would it be posible to hire you to craft the leather part of the chair, which I could then apply to the wood frame (and new foam which I’d take care of). I know it’s an odd question, but let me know if it’s something you’d do. Thanks,

    Michael

    • MCR says:

      I only do whole jobs, but you can just use the old parts as patterns. That’s one of the easier parts of doing this. If you’re willing to tackle the rest of it, I’m sure you can figure out this part. A conventional upholsterer might be happy to help if you really aren’t comfortable with it. Good luck!

  7. dALE says:

    I’m looking at getting a worn out Selig in the barfy tan leather. Do you have any recommended products for the stripping and oiling of the wood? I used to have some “orange” gooey product in the garage for stripping – I think it was called citristrip or something. And for oiling it I have some plain old linseed oil – is that good enough or are there better products you can recommend? Finally – if the plywood is badly chipped or if it is cracked (I haven’t seen the one I’m considering in person yet.) is it pretty much a loss? Thanks so much – and thanks too for this informative post!

    • MCR says:

      Try lacquer thinner first on the finish, then just a regular stripper product, either citrus type or methylene chloride.

      Linseed oil can promote mildew growth. Best to stick to teak oil or tung oil varnish, both easily available.

      Veneer can be patched but usually looks best replaced entirely. I would pass on a badly chipped Plycraft chair unless you like the battered vintage look. It’s not worth the cost of repairing or replacing. That’s just my opinion, though. Maybe you can find someone skilled enough to do nice veneer patches for not a lot of money.

  8. Lisa says:

    I have a 3 piece set of plycraft/george mulhauser — 2 chairs and 1 ottoman — and live in D.C. suburbs. They are in horrible condition and need reupholstering & new foam. Do you do this work? If so, could you estimate the cost? Thanks!

  9. Miguel says:

    Hello. Would you know where I could find a foot that attaches to the Selig or Plycraft chrome base? The feet with glide attaches with a screw and not a bolt. I’ve looked locally in upholstery shops, searched online, Metro Retro in Phoenix, and looked on Ebay for sellers selling feet or chrome bases and we have come up empty. Any help would be appreciated! v/r Miguel

  10. Julian says:

    Hello,
    I recently found a Selig lounge chair off the side of the road for FREE :-)))). It’s in OK shape, I’ve always like the style. I would like to reupholster it with black leather. About how much would that cost?? Thank you!

  11. Hannah says:

    Do you have any advice for products to use to remove cracks/scratches in the leather of a plycraft chair?
    Thanks!

    • MCR says:

      No, sorry, I have never had one that was worth touching up, but I know there are places that do that kind of thing. Do a search for leather refinishing. Good luck!

  12. Kelly says:

    I found your blog by googling for reviews of kyson leather – but coincidentally, I’m working on an Eames-esque lounge refurb as well. How may square feet of leather did you find you needed? Mine is an ebay score (here) – I think I can reuse the padding luckily, but obviously the surfaces are pretty shot. I’m torn between re-doing it in a cream leather from Kyson or a hair-on cowhide, although I wonder if working the cowhide would be a little out of reach of my skill set. Do you have any advice on the buttons? I’ve done fabric covered ones from a Jo-Ann’s kit – but they were super chintzy and I want to do this right. Thanks in advance!

    • MCR says:

      You will need at least 50 sq ft of leather for the set, more if you want extra in case of cutting errors. Get an upholsterer to do the buttons for you. Good luck with the chair!

  13. Tim says:

    Hello Dave,

    Thanks for the website and information it provides.

    I have a Selig Chair (Eames look-alike) that I’d like to reupholster and was hoping that you might answer a few specific questions.

    What density, resiliency and ILD foam do you recommend for the seat, back and arm rests and how thick for each? I’m wondering if the foam for the back needs to be a little denser due to the ergonomics of the chair?

    Who do you recommend for the leather, you mentioned Kyson Leather, are you still a fan of theirs or might I find something local in the Southern California/San Diego area?

    This next question may be blasphemous, but if I don’t use leather can you recommend a “natural” fabric that would work well for this chair, keeping in mind durability and appearance over the long haul? Natural here means wool, cotton, linen, bamboo, hemp, etc., it could also be a blend.

    Thank you again and for not sharing my email and information,
    Tim

    • MCR says:

      Tim,

      You’re probably best off consulting a local upholsterer with as many specific questions as you have. I’ll just say that I don’t track foam by ILD, I just go by what feels best for each individual piece. And I do recommend Kyson Leather. Good luck with your project!

      Katherine
      MCR

  14. Tamra says:

    Hi There,

    I’m working on a Selig re-upholstery, and am not sure how much welting I need to have made for the chair and ottoman – any ideas? How much did you end up using – repeat is a non-issue.

    Thanks!!

  15. Sara says:

    Hey there – love this blog! I’ve got a Plycraft chair missing a couple buttons (tan colored). Do you have any suggestions on where I can find replacement buttons? Thanks!

    • MCR says:

      A local upholsterer can make the buttons for you and might have vinyl or leather to match. You can also look in fabric stores for vinyl. Good luck!

  16. Linda Be says:

    I have a Selig chair and ottomon in the tan that needs a complete redo. I!’ve had it 40 years. Also have a Falcon chair that needs work. Do you know of any place in South Florida does this type of work? Any help is much appreciated

  17. Regan Atkinson says:

    Hello, this past weekend someone sat in my plycraft and leaned back to far and it broke at the fasteners of the hips of the chair (splintering the wood). Is there a place I can buy a new back to remedy this?

    Thank you,
    Regan Atkinson

    • MCR says:

      Regan, these chairs have been out of production for many years. You could buy another whole chair and swap out the back but it might be better to take it to a furniture repair person and see if the plywood can be repaired and reinforced. Often this is possible.

      It’s very common for these chairs to break at certain points. Of the six or so that I have reupholstered, four have had cracked plywood.

  18. Laura says:

    I have one of these chairs & have been trying to find some leather to match the original — one arm needs repair. Any chance you have some of the original leather from one of the chairs that you have upolstered? If so would you be willing to sell me enough for one arm rest…. Mine are flat – not the curved.

    Thanks very much!

    • MCR says:

      Laura, I’m sorry but I don’t have any original leather or vinyl from any of the chairs that I’ve redone. Good luck, hope you can find something that works.

  19. Carrie Cartwright says:

    HI there I see we have the same chair. I wonder if you have any detailed pictures of the base. particularly where the tube slides into it and then the bottom of the base when it is installed on the chair. My chair base falls off and I’m trying to figure out what is missing so I can fix it.

    • MCR says:

      Carrie,
      I’ve since sold that chair but I can tell you it had the same problem. I don’t remember it looking like it had something missing but maybe there was a set screw somewhere. Good luck, hope you can figure it out…

  20. Todd says:

    I am in the process of reconditioning the same chair. I am fabricating the arm rest, I have the brackets. Do you have any pictures of what the shape and dimensions of the plywood pieces should be. If no pictures rough dimensions would be helpful too. Nice job. Thanks for the help.

    • MCR says:

      Sorry, Todd, I sold this chair awhile back. But there are a lot of photos of these chairs online. Maybe you can find an owner or dealer who could help you if you with measurements. Good luck!

  21. Todd says:

    Thanks for getting back to me. I am hoping that you might be able to point me in the right direction. My chair isn’t a Plycraft it is actually a Cafemo. I can’t find anything hardly about them. Any suggestions. Thanks.

  22. robert urpman says:

    I have a Selig/Eames chair and ottoman. Both use glides that are mounted with sheet metal screws. All I can find is threaded machine screws w/the guides.
    I also need the plastic caps that go on the end of the legs. I would appreciate any help you can give me.
    Respctfully Bob Urpman

    • MCR says:

      Bob,
      There’s a link on the right side of my home page here if you scroll down a bit–Plycraft replacement parts. That’s the only place I know of that has glides. They might have the plastic caps for the ends of the legs, I’m not sure. Back when I had a chair that was missing one of those, I thought about making a wood plug instead and painting it black. Never got around to it, though.

  23. Shelley W says:

    Hello – I came across your blog like many others. I am trying to redo a similar chair. I have been in contact with Kyson leather and I was interested in doing my chair in a similar color to yours or black. Is there any reference to the quality of the leather. From previous posts, it was mentioned that I need at least 50 sq feet. Could you give me an idea of the leather costs for the one you did from Kyson.

    The vinyl on my chair needs replacing but it is not in terrible condition. I noticed there are some people looking for vinyl pieces to fix theirs. I can save some if anyone needs it for buttons or arms. It is the camel brown color. Thanks.

    • MCR says:

      Shelley,

      Kyson lists square footage of their hides and they also list prices so you can get an idea of costs by clicking on their items for sale. As far as quality or color, always request swatches first. They can help you with that.

      I’m sure there are people who would want scraps or buttons from your chair but I don’t have the means to keep track of requests like that. Maybe there’s another venue somewhere where this is possible.

      Good luck with your renovation!

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