Tuesday, October 21, 2008
My new old chair
I discovered this rocker on Craigslist after many weeks of keeping my eyes open for the perfect antique (or antique-looking) rocking chair to take the place of the big armchair that is currently in our bedroom. I had many criteria and am quite picky when it comes to furniture, and this one is just right! It's really well made and I think is an authentic antique. There isn't a nail or screw in the entire thing, just well cut wooden joints. It's oak (I think) but has this nice dark stain that I really like, and there's just something about it that makes it look a little classier than a lot of rocking chairs I've come across. I also like that it's kind of low, so I won't need a foot stool to feel comfortable sitting in it.
The seat cover had to go. It was this yucky beige moleskin fabric that was covered in cat hair. As I began removing the staples to take it off, I discovered that underneath that was the ugliest, filthiest pillowcase I'd ever seen encasing the non-original plywood seat base and a feather pillow. Yeah, someone had actually used a regular old feather pillow as the cushion for the chair. Weird. Anyway, I polished it up with some Orange Glow and got it nice and clean, ready for its new seat. Next I purchased some 2" high density foam from my local fabric/craft store and some polyester batting to cover that. Finally I used a big hunk of one of my chocolate brown leather shoemaking hides for the last layer.
It's clear that the original upholstery was attached directly to the chair (the seat is a drop-in that is easily lifted out), which leaves this strip of not-so-nice-looking wood around all 4 sides where the tiny nail holes are visible. I'm not quite sure if it bothers me enough to come up with a solution for it, but at the moment I think it's fine. One other thing I think I'll need to do is drill a few holes in the plywood base. Since the leather is non-porous, the air in the foam needs a place to go when it gets sat on. Right now it makes a "psshhhh" sound as the air squeezes out between staples. Hopefully a few holes will take care of that.
And for the finishing touch- a soft sheep skin purchased on eBay to add a little more tushy coziness, inspiration taken from this sweet lady's new favorite place to sit.
So here it sits in the living room, waiting for Daddy to get home and carry it upstairs to its new corner. I was naughty and brought it in from the garage to put it together (it weighs quite a bit), but I'm not going to attempt carrying it up the stairs. I forgot how much physical effort goes into just upholstering a seat. I think that's enough rule-breaking for today.