Thursday 24 February 2011

The Arts & Crafts settle and more "faux" paintwork

It's nearly done, but like all big pieces of furniture with large areas of canework, it takes time - a lot of time. Here is the progress so far.

The first set of diagonal weavings are about half way across the seat.

Back to faux finishes, in this post here I was working on a faux rosewood finish and said then that there was another popular faux finish imitating burr walnut. Well by coincidence here's one that came into the workshop last week.

A 1920's cane backed chair with a medallion and very convincing painted walnut finish. The back is now recaned, tinted and sealed.

It's not surprising people believe that this effect is real walnut is it?

Wednesday 23 February 2011

A Facebook page

Okay, I said I would never do it..............but I gave in and we now have a Facebook page!

It's all a bit new at the moment, but here it is:

Former Glory Seat Weaving's Facebook

Please have a look - leave us a comment, tell us the sort of information you would like us to post about.

Word & Wisdom of the Week

Word of the week:


Characterized by great knowledge; learned or scholarly

(Ha - so it's not the two part glue then.....!)

Wisdom of the week:

"Wise men speak because they have something to say,
Fools because they have to say something." - Plato Greek Philosopher

I'll shut up now.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Word & Wisdom of the Week

Word of the week:

Watchful and discreet; cautious; prudent.
Feeling like that a lot lately!
Wisdom(s) of the week:
A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke,
The less he spoke the more he heard,
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?" - Author unknown

"Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold - but so does a hard boiled egg." - Author unknown
Okay, two this week - liked them both and couldn't make my mind up.

Monday 14 February 2011

Faux Rosewood painted finish

The chair frame is now "Rosewooded". This technique was very popular in Victorian times, take a simple beech or birch frame and then make it look super special by giving it a painted finish to make it look like very expensive rosewood or burr walnut. We see a lot of Deco period chairs with a faux walnut burr finish that is so convincing that the owners think that it really is walnut, they're very disappointed when we tell them that it's a painted effect. In the case of the walnut finish, the wood is usually gesso plastered first to give a silky finish, then underpainted before the top fake "walnutting" is applied. Whereas the rosewood effect is usually applied directly onto the prepared wood.

This is what the frame looked like after it was cleaned but before the faux effect was started.

There were lots of areas where the finish was worn through and missing.

It took a little while, but this is what it looks like now.

It's not very often you see a whole chair done in this way.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

The split cane seat rail

Well I decided to repair the rail rather than replace it. The split was glued using modern permanent resin glue and left clamped all weekend in a warm place. It's now solid so ready for the next phase of repair.

Cane puts an enormous strain on the frame, so you have to be sure that the repair is going to be strong enough. It helps to add some small hidden dowels between the drilled holes along the frame for a bit of extra grip.

Here it is. The holes have been cleared of glue so it's now ready to be fitted back into the frame.

Next job is to restore the original faux rosewood finish on the beech frame - always a bit fiddly.

Here's the remnants of the finish on the back rail that I need to copy. Not much left to go on!

Word & Wisdom of the Week

Word of the week:


From French: quick-fingeredness, from Latin praestigiae  feats of juggling, tricks, probably influenced by French preste  nimble, and Latin digitus.

Wisdom of the week:

The magician and the politician have much in common: they both have to draw our attention away from what they are really doing" - Ben Okri

Sad, but probably true....

Saturday 5 February 2011

Finishing the drop-in upholstered to rush seat pad conversion

First of all I took careful measurements of the existing frame, then knowing that the rush cord is 5mm in diameter, I marked a pencil line around the perimeter at 5mm in from the edge. This was removed with the jig saw.

The cut was made on the outside of the pencil line, then I measured the frame again before planing the newly cut edges to a smooth surface.

Final job, rush the modified seat pad frame with paper fibre rush.

Hope the customer likes it!

Thursday 3 February 2011

Dealing with splits through cane seat rails and converting an upholstered drop-in seat to rush

Cane looks so delicate when its woven onto a frame, but looks can be deceptive! One of the most common problems we see in old chairs is this:

That dainty canework has split the rail right through the middle of the holes. Why does this happen? There may be a few reasons, sometimes the wood is dry and brittle through old age, so it doesn't take much pressure to split the grain. Sometimes the cane has been woven at a tension that is too tight when wet, so as it dries and shrinks, "PING" the wood can split. But worst of all, PEOPLE WILL INSIST ON STANDING ON CANE CHAIRS!! (sorry for shouting). Please, please never stand on a cane chair, they're just not built for it and this split rail is what will more than likely be the result.

So now the damage is done I'm left with two choices - replace or repair. I'll keep you posted.

Another thing we're asked to do from time to time is to convert an upholstered seat pad into rush. Seems easy enough - take the upholstery off and replace it with rush? I wish it was that simple. Upholstered frames are designed to take fabric and fabric is much thinner than rush, so the frame won't fit back into the chair if you just put the rush straight on there. To make sure it will fit, you have to slim the frame down by the diameter of the rush first.

Another thing to consider is the condition and strength of the frame. This one is "man enough". It has tenoned joints, hasn't been split by endless nailing and is made from good solid dense hardwood. The corner blocks have to be removed, but that's not a problem. I've marked it up ready to saw off the excess wood from the perimeter, then it will have the edges chamfered off, that way they won't cut into the rush, it will also help the seat to "sit down" into the chair frame. Then we can cover the corners and rush the frame - simples!!