Process: Gustav Stickley Ladderback Chair Upholstery, 2 Show Cover

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Continuing from the Gustav Stickley Ladderback Chair Upholstery, 1 Buildup post,
(Or to begin at the beginning go here.)

Buildup is complete, and we are ready to prepare
the Show Cover of 4-5 oz. vegetable tanned strapping leather.

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Above, the original leather, much aged, and the new leather.
The new leather is a bit pinker than shown — fluorescent lighting!

2015 7 31 CK STICKLEY CLR SKINS 0082015 8 6 CK STICKLEY CLR SKINS 092The first step: we thoroughly cleaned
the leather, above, with Fiebing Dye Prep.
Human hands and factory conditions can add unseen grime which interferes with dying.

We tried several dye combinations in
1-2 coats on bits of leather that were unusable before we found the one that worked.
We used Fiebing Pro dyes, and finally
hit on a formula of approximately
50-50 Mahogany and Chocolate.
We surmise the original may have been closer to Mahogany,  but wanted the leather to also work with the deeper tones of
the aged varnish on the chairs and
the other Stickley pieces our client owns.

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A glamorous life, this messy finish work!

First coat of dye applied, swirled on in overlapping layers, and sometimes
requiring deep rubbing to penetrate the skin even after cleaning.

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The camera brightens and exaggerates the dye pattern a bit but you can see the
first coat left the skin coloring a bit uneven; we let it thoroughly dry overnight.

2015 8 6 CK STICKLEY CLR SKINS 086
After each coat dried, the surface was polished, removing excess color.
The second coat deepened the color saturation and evened the dye pattern. Dying done, the leather is ready to be upholstered after another 24 hours and a good polishing!
The dark black spots are blemishes which we must avoid when upholstering.

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The original decorative nails are quite bent and must be carefully straightened.
Again, each nail is labeled to be replaced into the original conserved hole.

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The shank is placed into the vice and pressed, then re-positioned and pressed
again until the shank is straight enough to be replaced into the chair.
Sometimes a gentle tapping is needed to make the top cap lay flat again.

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We are ready to begin; all preparations in advance are complete.

A pattern was created from the form of each chair,
noting center-line, placement and shape.

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Leather was carefully cut to avoid blemishes.

The edges were dyed, then waxed and burnished.

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A very thin (remembering that the Stickley sits rather flat) felted cotton batting
was placed over the muslin onto the seat form to act as a buffer between the muslin and leather and helps prevent wear as the seat is used.  Mitchell feathered and sculpted
the batting to be as he remembered the seat.

The cut seat show cover is placed onto the seat and tacked into place.

The original Craftsman paper label was too old and brittle to be replaced onto the chair.
We made a photocopy of the original label, and added our conservation date.
This was placed onto the underside of the chair, and the original was placed into a protective covering and given back to our client along with other bits of historical material.

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The seat is ready for decorative nails.  Pilot holes are drilled into the conserved original holes, and the decorative nail ever so gently tapped into place.  In the four chairs conserved, only one decorative nail was broken and was repaired by our  blacksmith!

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Completed conserved chair is ready for action at the dining table!

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She’s a beauty!

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2015 8 17 CK STICKLEY LEATHER CLR COMP 002 AA final image, comparing the new leather
to older Stickley original leather!

 W15 CK STICKLEY1 LINE ©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url +copyright is used as reference.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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One Response to Process: Gustav Stickley Ladderback Chair Upholstery, 2 Show Cover

  1. Pingback: Process: Gustav Stickley Ladderback Chair Upholstery, 1 Buildup | Mpfconservation's Blog

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