more Model 49 chairs by Erik Buch

I adquired a set of six of these model 49 chairs in teak by Erik Buch awhile back.  They had the original beige wool hopsack fabric.  The chairs were made in Denmark and sold by Scan in the U.S.

 

Redone in Maharam’s Pebble Wool in charcoal gray.   (photo by Rob Degenhard)

 

The fabric started out gorgeous, a soft, fuzzy wool woven of two different shades of beige/cream.  But it was very worn on the edges of the seats and backs and had many indelible stains.   Someone had even hand stitched a few small holes closed.

I think the wood was almost as bad.  Very dry, dull, scuffed, and some stains as you can see here.

 

One of the two armchairs in the set.

 

These chairs have several characteristics that I love.  One:  that shaping where the end of the arm meets the front post.  So elegant.

 

Two:  the floating seat.  And the curve of the floating seat.

 

And three:  the backrest.  Not just the way it looks, but the way it hits your back in just the right place.  This is a chair that makes it easy to linger at the table long after the meal is finished.

 

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22 Responses to more Model 49 chairs by Erik Buch

  1. Kathleen Ryan says:

    Hi, I have one of these chairs with the original beige covering. I’m missing one of the wooden plugs on the back leg. Any idea where I can get one of these?
    Thanks,
    Kathleen

    • MCR says:

      You can get these at most hardware stores and many craft supply stores, too. I don’t know of a source for teak plugs, however; best to get oak and stain to match. If they don’t fit tightly, just put a small dot of glue on the screw head to hold the plug in place.

  2. Paul Blanchard says:

    I have 8 of these chairs, two with arms. Some of the plywood seats have broken. Can replacements be found?

    • MCR says:

      Paul,
      These chairs are no longer made but I’m sure you could find a woodworker who could make copies of the seats, especially since you have an original that he or she could copy. Good luck!

  3. la says:

    hi,, i aquired 6 of these chairs and am in the process of recovering them,, i’ve reupholstered several couches and chairs before,, but none that required such precision ..with the way the corners are folded and no excess fabric can be hidden… i really really want to do them in an awesome crosshatch black vinyl i purchased,, do you think it can be done?? specifically i’m talking about the back of the chairs..you know how it was a thin piece of bendable cardboard covered by fabric.. which fit onto the back of the chair.. i can’t seem to figure out how to get the vinyl to lay super flat.. or cut it just big enough so i don’t have a lot of excess… .. thanks in advance for any tips.. also.. love love love your site and some of the chairs you’ve redone!

    • MCR says:

      This is a good book for learning basic upholstery techniques: Sunset Furniture Upholstery

      This chair is not a particularly easy first project, by the way, and vinyl isn’t the easiest material to work with. Good luck!

    • MCR says:

      Sorry, missed the part about how you’ve already done some upholstery projects. Still, these chairs have some quirks that are not exactly standard procedure.

      It sounds like maybe the vinyl you’re using is too thick or stiff. Vinyls come in many weights and with varying degrees of stretch. It’s also my personal opinion that Buch chairs are best done in black vinyl as some originals were, or in a good quality wool as the rest were done. Wool upholstery fabrics are much more forgiving than vinyl.

      • la says:

        thanks so much for your answer… funny enough,im still working on the chairs.. I’ve also acquired 4 more.uggg.. although I believe these aren’t eric buck , but some other ,,I have it written down somewhere.. anyway,, so. I just ordered that book.. although, I have several..maybe this one will add more knowledge.. so,, would it be possible to consult you on the phone at your convenience to ask some questions.. ??

        these seat backs ,compound curves, i am still stumped.!

  4. MCR says:

    Sorry, I don’t do phone consultations or any kind of instruction. I do upholstery for a living and have a heavy workload all the time that doesn’t allow for helping people other than answering simple questions here. What you are attempting to do is difficult, especially on the more curved pieces. You may have to take some classes or just have a professional do the work. Good luck.

  5. Rich says:

    Hi, I have six of these in a rather nasty fabric, and would like to re-cover. How easy are the backs to remove? Thanks.

    • MCR says:

      Rich,
      You have to ease the screw caps off with a very thin blade of some sort, then it’s just a matter of removing four screws and getting them off the dowels. Good luck.

  6. Bradley Robinson says:

    How do you take apart the seat backs? I’m refurbishing some Erik Buch chairs right now and that is the only thing that is a little tricky.

    • MCR says:

      Other people have asked that same thing in comments here but to save looking for it, I’ll repeat it: You have to carefully pry off the wooden buttons that cover screws on the side of a the frame. Use a very thin, sharp blade (mat cutting blade is perfect) to get in under the edge, then tease it out, being careful not to scratch the frame. Remove the screws and gently spread the frame apart and get one end of the backrest free from the two dowel holes, then the other end. Done.

      The back panel is a piece of chipboard covered with fabric. Gently work a knife blade under the edge and pry it off, then peel the fabric off. The chipboard is almost always reusable if you take care with it.

  7. Kevin says:

    Hi, I have six of these chairs and a table (got off CL today). ( four regular and 2 captain’s chairs”. I was wonder to clean them up should I use teak oil? I used teak oil on two danish teak book cases I got off CL a few years ago and they really cleaned up nicely. Would these hold up for daily use? They have oatmeal upholstery which might not show dirt and I would think last a long time. I love them but my wife wants me to sell them after seeing them on Ebay. Love you site and really great information.

    • MCR says:

      Sure, just go over them with teak oil on a soft cloth if they’re already clean. If they’re grimy, use #0000 steel wool with teak oil, then wipe off after 5-10 minutes. Buff a few hours later for a soft glow.

      I can’t tell you whether to sell them or not. There are tons of them around after decades of use so I would say they hold up very well to daily use (assuming you’re reasonably careful with your furniture). They are one of the most comfortable dining chairs I know of.

  8. Phyllis Heyburn says:

    I just bought 6 of these chairs. I guess they were getting wobbly and someone tried to “repair” them and put screws right through the legs into the wood piece that goes across the front (sorry – don’t know what that’s called – the front seat rail?) Can you suggest what I can do to mitigate the damage? We are going to remove the screws and would need to fill the holes. Also – is there a way to make the chairs so they don’t wobble? They were only $30 each so I thought I’d give it a try fixing them up. I’m a complete novice? Thanks so much!

  9. MCR says:

    These chairs are made with screws going through the legs into the front rail of the seat frame, but they are neatly countersunk and capped with a matching wooden plug. I can’t tell from your description but I’m guessing that the wooden plugs are missing? Or did they put an extra screw in besides the one that was already there? My photos clearly show one capped screw hole at each leg and two on each side of the backrest. If you have more than this, the extras can be either countersunk and capped, or those screws can be removed and the holes filled in with a good quality wood filler and grain-painted to match the surrounding one. That requires some skill, however.

    To tighten joints on this chair, you must remove the original wood plugs which usually means damaging them beyond repair when they are the flush type like these. Tighten the screws, and replace the caps with new ones that you have stained to match the teak color of the frames. This also requires some skill. I believe it’s possible to get the exact size from European sources, and you may even be able to get teak ones somewhere. It may be possible to cut new ones out of scrap teak if you have the right tools. I have settled on the closest size I can find in the US and I usually use oak and pick out the individual ones whose grain closely matches teak grain. The closest size that fits into the hole without trimming (trimming is a pain in the neck to do accurately), will be slightly small. I stick a small bit of museum wax in the hole l to hold the plug in. This is secure but not permanent and the plug can easily be removed if the chair ever needs to be tightened up again.

  10. Phyllis Heyburn says:

    Thanks so much. They just added extra screws – some legs have 2 and 3 screws in them – not countersunk. I actually didn’t notice wooden plugs on the legs, but I just got them yesterday and need to look over more closely. Some of the backs are missing the wood plugs. Do you have a name for the European sources you mentioned – could you give me an idea of the size you use? Thanks so much for your advice!

  11. MCR says:

    You should tighten the original screws and see if that does the trick, then decide how to repair the damage from the extra screws.

    I think I saw metric plugs on Ebay awhile back but it’s been awhile and I never ordered any. I spent a lot of time looking online and did not find much other than that. It was several years ago and maybe there are some available now.

    Measure the openings with a metric ruler to find the diameter needed. I don’t know what it is off the top of my head.

    The backs have a different style plug. It looks like a mushroom–has a stem and a cap rather than being a cylinder with a slightly rounded top. The size on these isn’t quite so crucial because the cap part hides any gap. Still, you can get pretty close with American plugs.

  12. Phyllis Heyburn says:

    You’re the best, thank you!

  13. E. Brown says:

    Greetings,

    I recently purchased a set of these Erik Buch chairs and I am deciding whether or not to attempt to reupholster them. Do you have any photographs of the back of the seat-backs once you finished upholstering yours? I am interested to see how, from an aesthetics standpoint, you joined the two pieces that make up the seat-back.

    That said, did you use some kind of glue to join these pieces or some kind of velcro?

    • MCR says:

      My method is described in this thread on the Design Addict board:

      http://www.designaddict.com/forum/Identification/Thoughts-these-chairs-Erik-Buch

      The originals were glued together but without precise templates you risk getting adhesive on areas where it will show. I sew the outside back to the inside back using a ladder stitch. This is a lot easier to do if you avoid getting any adhesive on the fabric at the very edge where you need to pull the needle through. (I’m talking about the adhesive that is necessary to glue the fabric to the chip board back—it is only on the fabric that is folded around to the inside.)

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