Our client’s Louis XIV Revival Fauteuil, above.
We started, as we always do, with an assessment.
Then patterns were made and the textile and buildup was excavated.
The frame finish was conserved.
The tapestry was cleaned and small reparations performed.
The frame was repaired.
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The cleaned and conserved textile still had two issues
to be overcome in the upholstery process:
1) The edges had been trimmed to the edge, giving us no comfortable tacking edge.
2) The edge had thick embedded glue in the tacking margins.
Mitchell stabilized the edge prior to cleaning. To give himself a comfort area
during re-upholstery, we chose a strong olive Dupinoni with which to create a backing. Mitchell had trouble with the stitching because of the needles hitting the hard glue edges;
he is quite adept at the sewing machine but the glue pushed the textile around.
The backing allowed him an edge to tug on while applying the textile later.
Another perk of the lovely color is that if the needlepoint/petitpoint looses threads
at a later date the olive is a good complimentary color underneath.
Webbing and Spring Tie
The original thin webbing was used to obtain maximum drop over time.
The center of gravity on the seat originally dropped in the seat center,
while the edges remained firm. Mitchell chose a 11 lb 2-inch jute webbing to
replace the original, which was a metric width and just over 2-inches.
Original copper springs were still viable; they were stitched to the seat.
As the former holes were filled, new holes were carefully drilled when necessary.
Spring twine was waxed as it was tied.
Four-way Spring Tie was completed.
Springs were covered with a hessian burlap,
and a holbein stitch used to lash them into place.
Coir was placed at the edge and stitched.
The original seat pod was cleaned and conserved, then placed over the seat deck.
The stuffings from here up are all new stuffings,
as the seat was robbed of its second stuffings.
Original seat pod wrapped in burlap to preserve, and hand-stitched into place.
A layer of hog and horse hair is added and stitched into place;
the depressions made by the stitching pattern is filled with a bit of loose hair.
All this is topped with a layer of organic cotton batting,
and a hemp broadcloth secures the entire seat deck.
One more topper of thin organic cotton batting, and the original conserved needlepoint/petitpoint textile is reapplied and tacked into place, ready for the gimp trim.
Next step, the arm and back buildup.
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Written by Kate Powell ©MPF Conservation.
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