Arts and Crafts Rocking Chair

My wife and I are both fans of the Arts and Crafts style.  We're slowly remodeling our home in this fashion, including furnishings.  A couple of years back my wife bought herself an arts and crafts rocking chair.  I was jealous and thus we began searching for one for me.  So back in February we finally came across one at an antiques shop that, although a grimy and in need of repair, was basically solid and seemed comfortable to me.  And best of all, it only cost $50…  

Arts and Crafts Rocking Chair (before)

I hadn't noticed it before buying it, but one of the rockers had previously been broken and repaired.  It has a small steel plate bolted to the bottom, but it's far enough back that when you rock you don't rock onto it.  It's also far enough underneath that you can't see it.  And unless I pointed it out, or you were inspecting it (better than me apparently) you wouldn't even know it's there.  This might have cause me to shy away from it had I seen it before I purchased it, but I'm really glad I didn't.

So we bought it and then it sat around the house for a few months before getting a good initial cleaning by my wife.  Then it sat for a few more months before I got around to the repair work.  Nothing major, mostly just a lot of joints that needed to be reglued.  But the side seat rails also were split along the grain both above and below where the corner blocks were located.  Getting glue into some of those areas and getting it clamped up so the face surfaces were level was a bit more work.  Once that was done it sat around a few more months until summer when I could take it outside and give a good clean and polish with tung oil.

It was looking good, but it definitely needed the seat reupholstered.  So then began the long journey of reviewing the various fabric swatches that my wife picked out.  We finally decided on a solid brown leather with the a more colorful throw pillow.  This chair is fairly deep and a bit reclined.  It definitely is more comfortable with a pillow, although it's not bad without it.  Thus the journey to find the leather to cover it with.  You see the swatches we had were actually a high quality pleather, not the real thing.  We like to do things the right way and we both liked the idea of real leather.  That it until we started pricing it.  So after failing to find a reasonably price piece of leather, we opted to save some cash and use the pleather she had previously found.  Not ideal, but it's actually pretty good…and affordable.  I don't recall the exact cost but is was somewhere in the $25-$35 range.  The plan is that someday when we can better afford it, we'll redo it in real leather.

So one thing I'm not is an upholsterer.  So it was off to the upholstery shop to have the seat recovered and/or repaired.  The original seat, which probably isn't original to the chair, was a 1/2 inch plywood base with an inner spring.  It's only supported at the edges so unfortunately it was warped and sagging a bit toward the middle.  Not knowing anything about this sort of thing I left it up to the upholstery guy to decide what was was the best way to fix it.  And I'm happy to say I'm thrilled with his work.  He completely chucked the old seat and built one from scratch with a hardwood frame, flat bow springs and stuffing.  It's a very comfortable seat now and it only cost $65 to have it done.  And it's looks pretty damn good as well now that it's all done:

Arts and Crafts Rocking Chair (after)

Thus I too now have a super cool arts and crafts rocking chair!  And with a bit of foresight, elbow grease and about $150 I've got a really nice piece of furniture.  I'm sure I could find a nicer one, but not at this price.  And we've been seeking out antique pieces, not new ones anyway.  This is a real thing that was previously used by real people somewhere.  And I'm certain it's bound to have a long happy life in my household.  :)
November 28, 2008 @ 09:49 pm | Category:
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