We’ve not chronicled a project for a
long time and these original
Gustav Stickley circa 1900-1910 Ladderbacks are so lovely (and often poorly conserved and restored)
that it is a good way to begin again!
We will chronicle our process using the armchair, below; similar protocol was used on all the chairs as needed.
These traveled from Pasadena to the current owner, an avid preservationist.
We assessed them first in his home, right, then brought them in for a full assessment in our studio under proper lights.
We found several splits which
needed to be repaired, and had a better
idea of the full scope of work.
MPFC worked with our client, CK, to establish treatment protocol; all aspects of the armchair will be photographed for documentation and delivered to CK.
Joints were loose, and seats had split through leather and webbing.
All the original innards were intact, and the wonderful decorative nails in place!
The original finish was in good condition as well.
All the chairs needed to be disassembled (click if the YouTube does not load).
Mitchell explains why in the video above, but to leave them as-is will court a future break in the mortice and tenon joinery as they are used and they continue to rock.
The original leather was split,
and as these chairs will be used for another century, it was decided to reupholster in matching leather.
MPFC planned to color the saddle
leather to match original leather,
which was said to be jappaned originally.
All innards would be cleaned and
reused if possible, however,
many parts were disintegrating,
as you will see when we excavate the layers of the leather seat.
The finish was in excellent condition,
right, and would be treated with infill
as needed using matching traditional materials created by MPFC, then waxed.