This chair came into the workshop needing quite a bit of work. The seat obviously had seen better days, but that was just the start…
The whole chair was loose, there should be a curved rail at the very top of the chair called a ‘shawl rail’ which was missing. At the end of the arms there is a ‘mushroom cap’, a decorative turning which unfortunately on this example, one had gone missing.
The back of the rockers had also proved to be a tasty snack for a dog at some point as they were both partly eaten!
First job was to carefully take the chair apart and clean off the old glue. Once that was done to all the joints it was reassembled again using animal glue to secure it.
The curved rail was next. Maple doesn’t steam bend too well so I decided to laminate the bend instead. First I needed to work out the curve. After looking at other examples on the web, the curve seemed to pretty much match the curve of the chair back so I made a template from a piece of hardboard. This template was used to create the correct shape on a piece of scrap pine. The maple for the shawl rail was then cut into fine strips, glued together and clamped in the pine former until the glue was set. As you can see in the pictures the maple retains the curved shape - it can then be shaped by hand using a spokeshave.
The arm cap mushroom was then turned on the lathe. Fortunately my customer had one of the original caps left which made my job a little easier to get an exact match.
New pieces were spliced onto the rockers to replace the missing sections- (I should’ve taken photo’s!)
The chair was then cleaned up and the new pieces polished to blend in. Below you can see the finished chair complete with its new parts and new seat.