Antique Childs chair

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Project by Roz posted 05-24-2011 05:34 PM 2617 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I found this chair it was in pretty sad shape. I refused it as a project for 6 months or more but something about its look and construction kept calling me back. It was a wreck with a broken back post, missing slat and rotted seat and years of dirt from life in a barn.
I made the repairs to the post; cut, bent and replaced the missing slat, cleaned and sanded it down. I stained the frame with Minwax Fruitwood stain after a coat of Lemon oil. I then replaced the White Oak Splint seat. Even though it did not originally have a finish on it, I applied a Minwax Antique Oil finish to brighten it up a bit. When I began to work on it I realized it was likely much older than I had assumed it to be. It is completely assembled from pegs and hand shaped. Not one nail in it. The joints are still tight and are mortised and pinned. The community I found the chair in was going strong by the 1830’s. That is old for a state settled around 1816. The chair could be as old as the 1830’s. When working on an old piece like this I like to consider the journey it has made, the skill and character of the maker and the lives it has touched. I suspect this chair brought joy to several children over its years of useful life. Now the little chair can offer many more years of service and joy. I had planned to put it in a local antique shop but my wife claimed it for our nephew’s youngest son, age 2 years. That’s fine by me because I can’t get my big ^$ in it. I hope Gus enjoys his chair, and some day his children too.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

10 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3361 days

#1 posted 05-24-2011 06:03 PM

Well worth saving Terry and it has some subtle shapes on the front legs too. I couldn’t see the other images enlarged. For some reason it didn’t work. Just one pic popped up.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3813 days

#2 posted 05-24-2011 06:06 PM

Sorry about the pics Mike. The chair’s front legs are tapered on the back side which reall adds to it’s look. The spindles are all tapered except for the lowest one in front which is worn from many little shoes rubbing on it. The maker of this chair was definately accomplished at his craft.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View NaFianna's profile


523 posts in 3053 days

#3 posted 05-24-2011 10:47 PM

Definitly worth the effort. Love restoration projects like this.

-- Cad a dheanfaimid feasta gan adhmad.......?

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3699 days

#4 posted 05-24-2011 10:51 PM

Terry thats a nice chair.

View peteg's profile


4299 posts in 2849 days

#5 posted 05-24-2011 11:55 PM

Terry, I think pic’s 5 & 6 tell it all, that’s a fine reconstruct job indeed, & you managed to keep the genuine antique look.
well done :)))

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3813 days

#6 posted 05-25-2011 01:19 AM

Thanks for the kind comments. It was a fun little project.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3217 days

#7 posted 05-25-2011 07:37 AM

It’s a great looking old chair, I spent some time rebuilding
my sons drawers in his dresser…It’s fun to do the work and
share what we thing the age of the piece is, and explain how
we figured. Working with new wood gives us all a special
appreciation for the wood workers before us.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View STL's profile


68 posts in 2858 days

#8 posted 05-25-2011 12:07 PM

Excellent job; like all your work it’s a pleasure to look at! Thanks for sharing!

-- Dan Siggers, Alabama,

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2693 days

#9 posted 05-28-2011 06:12 AM

Like all your projects this is great
A labour of love

thanks for the post


-- Kiefer

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3867 days

#10 posted 07-02-2011 10:34 AM

Another fine job you have done again.
I’ll have to get my son to help me get some pictures posted here of the latest project I just took on yesterday. The frames doesn’t look too bad. In the fact that at least every thing is there. It’s just loose and for the most part just needs some hide glue and the seat needs replacing. I gon’t know how many summer Jerry has had this Rocker out on the porch. He has a beautiful log home with a huge porch that wraps around the house, and it is protected from direct rain but not from the dew that covers everything at night.
This restoration stuff is a new adventure for me to learn. A freind just dropped the chair off at my shop. I told him it’ll be a first for me, I’m great at building furniture from scratch. And over the years I’ve done a fair number of repairs but not on anything as old as this rocker. My biggest concern is that I don’t want to take it’s charecter away by removing all of it patina.
Where did you find that sell the material for redoing the seat?
I am looking forward to the challenge that I have been presented.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

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