Hans Wegner CH23 dining chairs

I was recently asked to redo the seats and clean up the frames on a set of four Hans Wegner CH23 chairs plus an extra that the owner had gotten from somewhere else.  The seats on the set of four had long ago been replaced with black vinyl and the new owner wanted them redone with paper cord.

IMG_1689The set of four were also lighter in color than the fifth chair and after trying to oil the first one, I figured out why—someone had added a thin coat of varnish to them!  It was done long ago, I’m guessing by the same person who put the vinyl on the seats, and it was definitely not original because there were drips here and there.  The original owner at the time had his reasons, I’m sure, but the varnish was unevenly worn.  It also was why they were lighter in color—almost blond.

I tried to convince myself that the chairs would look good enough when simply cleaned up…but they didn’t.  So I ended up stripping the varnish off with methylene chloride stripper.  I don’t normally do refinishing to that degree but this job’s timeline didn’t allow for an extra couple of weeks at a refinisher’s.  Fortunately, the varnish came off easily.

WCH23 - dIt also left the wood very, very dry, but I expected that.  A few coats of oil and it looked beautiful again.

WCH23 - a

This dramatic before & after is the same chair!  You can see how the varnish kept teak a much lighter color.  The finished set of four and the fifth chair all matched perfectly in the end.  I had to look at the grain patterns to tell which was which.

IMG_1718I think this was the one that hadn’t been varnished.  Those odd drip stains on the back came out pretty easily with #0000 steel wool and Star-brite teak oil.

WCH23 - kThe ends of the legs looked like they’d had some water damage but oil and steel wool took care of that.  The wood still has the patina of age, which is desirable for chairs like these.

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 2.44.17 PMWater spots like the ones in the top photo come out with just gentle scrubbing with steel wool and oil.


Finally it was time to move on to the weaving!

WCH23 - e1This weave takes longer because you have to pull the cord all way through each time instead of just hooking a loop of cord onto an L-nail—also means working with cut lengths instead of pulling it off the coil as you go.  But it’s such a handsome pattern!

WCH23 - jI do as tight a weave as possible so that there is minimal movement of the strands when the chair is sat upon.  It seems to me that the less room the strands move against each other and against the frame, the longer they will last.

WCH23 - zI wish I had room to photograph all five at once but I don’t, so you’ll have to take my word for it that all of them ended up the same deep, rich color!

This entry was posted in Danish chairs, mid-century modern, Woven Danish paper cord. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Hans Wegner CH23 dining chairs

  1. Gorgeous! I redid my set of four a while back and while not as professional as yours, I am pretty proud of the results. Blogged about them here: http://queenoffiftycents.blogspot.com/2012/09/mark-them-off-to-do-list.html

    Thanks for sharing!

    • MCR says:

      Hey, my first chairs weren’t perfect, either! We all gotta start somewhere and better to start than to tell yourself it can’t be done!

  2. Paulette says:

    How remove seat for upholster on vintage Hans Rojle 3 legged dinning chairs ? please help !!!!!!!

    • MCR says:

      I don’t have any direct experience with these chairs so I can’t help but you could try posting on the repair form of the DesignAddict.com forum. That’s probably your best bet for finding someone who knows about them. Be sure to post a photo of the chair and a close-up of the underside of the seat and any other details that may help in figuring it out. Good luck!

  3. Linda says:

    Love your site! Am about to embark on re-weaving and just touching up a Moller 56 armchair I found on the street. The finish is not in terrible condition, so I just want try to clean it and oil it. You mention Star Brite Teak Oil in your post. Many other forums and chair restoration sites also mention it. However none seem to distinguish between the “golden” version in the clear bottle and the one in the white bottle. Which do you use?

    Thanks so much,

    • MCR says:

      I can’t tell the difference between the two, to tell you the truth. Maybe it’s something that matters on teak patio furniture–or boats? I’m not sure. I’ve used both and have been quite happy with the results from each.

  4. Linda says:

    Thank for the reply. I decided to call Star Brite and ask them what the difference is. Thought I would share what I learned. Essentially the teak oil in the white bottle has more UV inhibitors and to make them last longer they package it in an opaque bottle. It is also slightly darker than the “Golden Teak Oil”. The person I spoke to said for the purposes of indoor furniture the latter would be preferable.

  5. Thamara Mansilla says:

    Thank you for your post. I do have a pair of Hans Wegner “the chair”. Both of them have damaged weaving. In my country is not material to do it. What material do I need to buy? I looked in a web page The Caning Shop but I really do not know what is the right material to buy. Could you help me? Best Regards

    • MCR says:

      The CH23 chairs originally came with paper cord or binder cane—most were woven with paper cord. You may have to order Danish paper cord from an international source. You don’t say where you are located but you can always do a Google search for “Danish paper cord” and figure out which source works best for your needs and budget. One chair requires 2 lbs of paper cord. It weighs a lot so shipping won’t be cheap. Good luck!

  6. Dacia says:


    Your post is very informative. I found two CH23 chairs on the street and am about to replace the danish cord. Can you tell me how many pounds or feet are needed for the replacement? Thank you.

    • MCR says:

      You need 2 lbs of cord per chair.

      I highly recommend you get some instruction on how to weave these before you start. They’re not easy to figure out on your own. I used the book “Caner’s Handbook” by Jim Widess, available on Amazon or get a used copy on Ebay. There are probably other good instructions out there but this is the one that I know of.

      Be sure to check for loose joints first and also oil the chairs if needed. Both these things are way easier to do before you reweave the seats!

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