|Project by Roz||posted 06-04-2012 05:01 AM||1400 views||0 times favorited||8 comments|
This set of 8 dining room chairs is of an amazingly high quality of craftsmanship. I found them at my local antiques dealer, “Its All in the Past” and they got them from a Meridian MS based furniture business that was closing after over 100 years. It seems that these chairs were bought for the family’s use but somehow got stuck in the attack of the store and forgotten somewhere around 1980.
Closer examination led me to discover they were made of Oak, in England by a renowned manufacturer “to the finer families of London and England” and by a Royal Charter to the King, several of them. These guys furnished many royal yachts. The Plate on each chair was marked Warring and Gillow’s. I discovered the two companies merged somewhere about 1870 which helps date these chairs.
The firm of Gillow had workshops at Lancaster, Lancashire, and was prominent cabinet-makers during most of the eighteenth century. They had a showroom in Oxford Street, London (later the site of Warring and Gillow’s showroom), and sent their finished goods south by sea. Late in the century they sometimes used a metal stamp with their name to mark their pieces, and are the only English firm known to have used this French method of marking before about 1820.
Each chair has a stamped mark on it in Roman Numerals which seen to refer to the craftsman that built that piece. There are two market” II” for example, and the other marks range from 1 through 9.
After years in a hot attack, apparently near a window, the chairs were very dry but the finish intact. The leather covered seats were rotted. The padding was pounded fur and wool over cotton straps. One seat frame was missing and I made a replacement of pine.
I oiled all the chairs repeatedly until they stopped absorbing oil and let them dry for 3 days. I followed this with 6 coats each of finish wax. I like Black Bison, but several are good. Then I rubbed, and rubbed, and rubbed until I got a nice luster. It is like they came back to life!
To cover the seats in leather was going to cost more than the chairs themselves so my upholstery buddy Larry Marsh suggested a product made from leather cuttings called Recycled leather. It must be some sort of leather/vinyl product and it looks and feels more like natural leather for much less.
The result was fantastic and we now finally have a complete set of dining chairs. I had a few odd chairs upholstered to match which helps them all look better together and will use them when the need arises.
-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."