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Project by Roz posted 06-04-2012 05:01 AM 1928 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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."

8 comments so far

View stefang's profile


16133 posts in 3535 days

#1 posted 06-04-2012 07:37 AM

Those look like Queen Anne chairs if I’m not mistaken. A great find Terry!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Woodbridge's profile


3594 posts in 2619 days

#2 posted 06-04-2012 08:14 AM

good find. Your refurbishment looks great

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 4102 days

#3 posted 06-04-2012 09:02 AM

A lovely set, beautifully brought back to life Roz.

I’m surprised you’re allowed power tools on the dining table though! :-)

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3505 days

#4 posted 06-04-2012 11:18 AM

those are really fantastic and beautiful, what a great find, and to bring them back with oil and wax, if they could talk im sure they would say , oh it feels great to be out of the attic and in use again..great job here, and there beautiful oak figure now is revealed again….grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Roz's profile


1706 posts in 3988 days

#5 posted 06-04-2012 04:43 PM

Yeah Stewart, Ive got to move those. There is a fire place tile project underway in that room.

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3874 days

#6 posted 06-04-2012 11:11 PM

Great find!

View peteg's profile


4423 posts in 3024 days

#7 posted 06-05-2012 03:14 AM

You have a love affair with this beautiful old furniture Terry, I can tell that by the way you have gone & researched the background for your own interest.
Great restore

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

View Roz's profile


1706 posts in 3988 days

#8 posted 06-05-2012 04:50 AM

Yeah Pete, I admire craftsmanship and aspire to it. I also have a lot of relatives with old broken funiture….. it would seem.

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

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