“Bishops Chair” Upholstery Conservation #2: Excavation

by DKP (Interviewing Mitchell)

German Gothic Revival Fauteuil ca. 1860

CATZ owner Sammy zips into the studio for the photo-shots. “O-U-T!”

Part 2 finds us excavating the chair, which means to thoughtfully
take the chair apart to be repaired with an eye to how it was
originally assembled, and therefore how best to approach repairs.
Mitchell treats it like an anthropological dig!

The show cover is removed, and slowly the ties are cut that secure the natural fiber (Algerian) and horsehair seat pad onto the spring seat, exposing the burlap below.

Mitchell lifts the burlap dustcover, and exposes the springs below.
Carefully tacks are pulled from the frame, and unusual tacks and
a sampling of all tacks are saved and identified as to their original positions.

The excavation is in full swing now, and Mitchell is finding evidence
of the history of the chair, and uncovering some of its mysteries.

The spring seat exposed, above; below, bits of the
first and second generation upholstery show covers.

Original algerian will be cleaned and placed back into the chair, as well as horses hair used to create the fiber pods, though they will require extensive rebuilding.

Samples of all items found are identified as to their nature and
positions on the chair, then recorded, and will eventually be
tagged and bagged for our client, as well as our own files.

The arm pods are disassembled, especially as they will
need rebuilding: the burlap is worn and disintegrating.

Tie and stitching patterns are also recorded;
in some cases they are replicated.

The chair is down to the frame.
Mitchell can see clearly the repairs that will be made to
strengthen the chair for another century!
And in the case of the “Bishops” chair, all parts are to be
disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled.

Mitchell disassembles the frame and in the process finds
checks and splits which need reparation.
The chair completely disassembled, below.

Next post: #3, Repair, Reassembly, Reupholstery!

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About MPFConservation

We are a conservation and restoration firm located in the Pacific Northwest, specializing in objects: furniture, but also other objects; wood, stone or metal furniture or objects; lacquered and painted furniture or objects; traditional finishes on furniture or objects; quilts, beaded objects, and some textile reparation and interior architectural elements, such as leather or upholstered walls. When you think about conservation, equate it to restoring the furniture or object the best way possible for the history, life and value of the object. We are fully qualified to perform museum-tectbook treatments, but also flexible enough to work with private clients to allow for daily use of objects. We work West of the Rockies from Canada to Mexico, and once in a while venture beyond the West for specific treatments. Kate and Mitchell Powell are partners in work and in life; we each have our specialties in work and in our marriage. Mitchell is the cat charmer in both! To see our work visit our official website: http://www.mpfconservation.com
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