SCORE! Seriously, major score!
Okay, so they don't look so hot right now and they didn't look any better piled on a trailer at the auction, covered in gunk and spider ick!
Which is a good thing because nobody knew what they were...which means SCORE for ME! Baumritter mid-century dining chairs! Oh my!
I know they look rough right now, but let me work my magic on them!
Truth is, mid-century furniture hasn't really hit the big time here like it has in other parts of the country and honestly, we don't see a lot of it around here. But occasionally I can find pieces here and there.
I love them...everything about them. The grain and color of the wood after it is refinished (usually walnut or teak), the clean lines, the incredible construction! I love the entire process of restoring these pieces because I know they will take my breath away when I am finished. I also know it is next to impossible to find solid walnut and teak furniture these days.
So...what is my hard-fast rule? If I bring one in, I have to take one out. So sacrifices have to be made and the sacrifice is going to be the rest of my antique Duncan Phyfe chairs! I have already sold 2 and have four left...two painted side chairs and two caption's chairs.
Last year I featured the chair I had to repair. I was so proud of myself. I glued and sculpted the chair back that was broken and then painted the two side chairs, which kind of goes against my grain but they turned out beautiful. I didn't paint the caption's chairs....
The repair lasted all of about 6 months...and then the back busted again. CRAAAAAP!
So this time I decided to "rebuild" rather than repair.
This would have been SOOOO much easier had I just gone and bought a scroll saw. But oh no...I figured I could do this with my jig saw and Dremel. And I did...but next time I am going to buy a scroll saw!
First thing I had to do was deconstruct the chair to get to the "broken back." Fortunately, these chairs are constructed with dowel rods and the top pops right off...okay, you have to beat on it a bit and chip the paint...but it eventually comes off.
Then I had to find a little piece of wood the same thickness as the back...3/8". I figured that wouldn't be a big deal. It was. I ended up finding some 3/8" pine, but it wasn't wide enough...so I had to do the ole' clamp and glue thing to create a piece wide enough.
This is no big deal...truth is, most large wood slabs, and even smaller ones, are nothing but smaller pieces of wood glued and clamped together...most table tops are constructed that way!
After I let the piece sit for a day or so, (I was busy priming, sanding and painting my bedroom furniture...can't wait to finish and share!) I used wood filler to fill any gaps in the joints, sanded the piece smooth and traced the broken piece onto the wood...
....then I cut it out with a skill saw and dremel.
This is not a job for the faint of heart, impatient people or someone who has had more than 1 cup of coffee. You have to go slow and use a light, steady hand. I actually cut on the outside of my mark and then used sand paper to sand down to the mark.
This process would have gone a bit quicker had the wood not split a time or two. It never split at the glued joints, just on the grain, which meant I had to glue and clamp the split and wait! Grrrr.....
Anywho, after hand sanding and sculpting for a few hours, I had a piece that was pretty darn close to the original! Then it was just a matter of priming, sanding and painting it.
I reconstructed the chair and hit the entire back with another light coat of paint and sealer.
Presto...ALMOST good as new! Can you tell which is which?
I can...the chair on the left is the repair. The big difference is the "lines" that are missing from the middle...after all the cutting and sculpting and sanding, I wasn't going to risk messing it up by trying to chisel lines in the wood.
And I will be honest...fitting it all back together was NOT as easy as it sounds...there was some additional sanding and grinding and even a few curse words! But in the end it turned out pretty good!
Also, I noticed the paint has "yellowed" over time. That is pretty common for "whites." Something to keep in mind when contemplating "touch ups." There is a good chance you will have to paint the entire project if the color has faded, yellowed or changed over time!
Now that it is repaired and I feel good that it will hold up, I plan on selling this chair and the matching one and the two caption chairs so I will have room for my mid century chairs when I get them refinished.
If I bring one in, I have to take one out!!!
Hopefully I will get that done before Thanksgiving...or we may all be sitting on lawn chairs!