Mason Monterey Smokey Maple A-Frame, 1

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We have combined several A-Frame chairs to create this post on the process of reparation.

Our first task is to thoroughly document the original condition the chairs arrived with pictures, and taking more thorough notes than might have been completed on-site.

The chairs are then excavated, below, and more information is discovered, including parts that might not want to disassemble.

Once the chair was disassembled, closer inspection of tenons and connecting joints can be accomplished.

Each part was thoroughly cleaned in a mild detergent.

Once cleaned and dried, reparation began.  Some of the chairs had been coated with a top coat of paint, and Drips were removed, and a light sanding was completed in preparation for the new finish coats.  The chairs were sometimes used as workbenches, and so white paint also was removed.

Chair #357 had three legs which were still usable, shown below.  The kerf were cleaned of the wedges using saw blade, left.  Until the end of the project, everything is kept until we know we don’t need it.  For instance, the wedges were sometimes useful to determine original color, as in the Spanish Red A-frame, bits shown, shown right.

All parts were cleaned and readied to be reassembled.

A new leg was created for #357, and properly shaped and distressed to match the others.

It needs to be rounded and distressed, left and below, then fitted and tailored to the seat and floor.

Of the three original legs, one had to be repaired after the wedges were removed. This was a screw hole that had to be filled with a hard dowel, shown below.


Once the legs, old and new, were prepped and fitted, the wedges are fit into the kerfs.  The wedges are then tamped tightly into the kerf which is filled with hide glue for added security, below left.  They are leveled to the seat height, below center, with saw and then a block plane.

The chair has two splits happening in the seat.  (An example shown in another chair, right.)

  • One along a right-facing seam,
  • The other behind the rear right-facing leg.

Keylocks were used to secure the seams and other breaks or cracks so the splits could not continue, shown left.

Once the locations were determined, a router was used over a template of the proper size keylock hole to be created.  The router is rough, so further hand-chiseling is needed to clean and shape.

Keylocks were given further shaped before they were inserted.  They were inserted, then glued into place.  Right, the finished keylock repair.

The seat had a break on the left-facing side, and a repair was created and installed on the underside, above.

The seat-to-stile connections were compromised.  Loose holes were drilled to accept new hard dowels, and a split was also glued and clamped to cure. Excess hard dowels were trimmed, and a new hole for the screw was created.  The proper hardware, that is, a screw with nut and ring, was used to reassemble the stiles to the seat on each side.

The splat and the mortice on both seat and top rail were cleaned of old glues and a woven material that helped hold the glues and splat in place.  Because of this precedent, we also used a small piece of linen when we reassembled the splats.

Small cosmetic fixes were also completed before the finish treatment, such as the beginning of a potential break in the back of the splat, shown right.

Next page, finish on the Smokey Maple A-Frame.

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