Catherine has a thing for old chairs. The problem with chairs is they take up a lot of space. The other problem with old chairs is they are taking up a lot of garage space because they’re broken. Space more valuable than the chairs themselves. Yeah, these chairs are antiques but no one wants to fix them. It’s simply not worth it. We couldn’t even give them away to an “American Picker” as this guy from Wisconsin sorted through Catherine’s “stuff”.
Here are a few of Grandma’s chairs in various stages of disrepair. The caning of the seats is a meticulous process. Gluing and clamping of dowels is messy. These chairs just won’t be brought back to their former glory. Except maybe this one. It wasn’t standing, but it stood out to me as a potentially fun project worth trying to piece together like a puzzle.
This is a Boston Rocker which used to be on the front porch of Catherine’s mother’s homestead on Long Island. A house that dates back to the late 1700’s. I couldn’t tell you how old this rocker is but it’s been sitting on the floor of this garage for 45 years and maybe many more back in New York.
These old chairs use no hardware (nails, screws, etc.). The spindles, runners, backs, and seats are pieced together with the old workmanship of grooves and dowel holes. A little wood glue and a couple heavy clamps gets this baby off to a good start.
Lucky for me I have a power sander, my multi-variety grit sandpaper, and some elbow grease. Hours later and 150 years of black paint stripped to the original wood and this rocker is taking shape.
Three or four coats of black exterior paint and this Boston Rocker is back to its former glory. Now, if we can get Catherine to retire, she can enjoy this chair from her front porch again. More room in the garage and back ON her rocker.