Thursday, March 11, 2010

All Done

Well its been a while and I figured I should rap up this blog. I have completely restored this chair to original specifications, with one minor change. Originally I believe most of these Plycraft chairs were upholstered in vinyl, I decided to go with real Italian leather. Black of course. Overall as I said in my prior post this chair had its share of issues. It was pretty beat and needed some TLC to get it back to proper working order. The ply had begun to separate in a few places and I had to reach back to my boat building experience to remedy those areas. Epoxy and glass are wonderful tools if you use proper care and attention in their application. The wood overall on this chair was pretty chewed up, lots of scratches, dings and dents. I used my orbital sander to pretty much wipe away years of use. I did use an initial run of 80 grit to remove the older varnish. Then moved to finer grits careful to not burn out or through layers of ply. After this was done I tack clothed the each piece, sealed, stained and polyurethaned each of the ply pieces. After several light coats of poly I steelwooled each piece and hand waxed them. See my other blog for details on this process. Take your time and do a good job. The hardware on this chair was all in need of a quick recoat of black paint. So that was easy enough a little rustolium cleaned them up nicely. Upholstery work was similar to the other blog, your basic cut, center, staple affair. Then trimming it out with some leather welting and she was finished. Overall time was less than my Eames copies, I would say I tagged and bagged this chair in about 3 afternoons. If the economy was a bit better I would put it up on ebay and resell it. I thought I would dig it a bit more than I actually do. I am more of an eames guy and as neat as this chair is it doesn’t fit in with the other Eames related items in my home.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


December 2, 2009

So today I spent my time disassembling the overall chair. It is in poor shape, scratched all over and missing much of the hardware and screws it originally had. Disassembly took about 30 minutes and I was careful to document where each of the pieces, screws, bracket when. Originally, I am fairly certain this chair never had a bracket in the center of the back panel. It appears that through ware and love this chairs prior owner broke the side mounts and the chair tilted back off its proper access. They must have lost the mounts and added some other screws or the folks that reupholstered it added the bracket. Either way I am fairly certain it didn’t have this bracket in the center of the bottom and was improperly repaired with a drill hole placed in the center bottom.

Once I disassembled the chair I took the ply panels and gave them the once over with my orbital sander with 120 grit paper. During this process I noticed some sanding/refinishing had been attempted in advance but it was not done correctly. There were a lot of subsurface gouges that I needed to carefully buff out. A few hours later and I had the ply pieces fully restored back to bare wood, most of the scratches I was able to buff away so that you could not tell of the damage with the naked eye. The bases of both the chair and ottoman were in rough shape. I cleaned them up with the orbital sander and assessed exactly what needed epoxy repair.

Epoxy repair is a common wood restoration process. It can restore even the worst damage to wood. In this case I used epoxy to repair areas of this chair where the ply had separated, where holes had been drilled or where excessive wear had taken place, eg chips to the edges. Epoxy repair is relatively easy, you mix epoxy to spec and add sanding dust to it. The sanding dust mirrors the color and finish of the wood you are repairing. You simply mix up the epoxy parts, A & B plus the sanding dust to the constancy of peanut butter. You will need to work quickly once part A&B of the epoxy are mixed. You only have a few minutes to work with the stuff. The hotter the outside temp the faster the epoxy will set. Use this mixture just like you would use wood patch. It is 100% stronger than wood patch and the color will match.

Yet another plycraft chair project.

December 01, 2009

So after successfully winning a plycraft mr. chair on ebay last month it has finally arrived out here in California. Funny part of the story is that the chair has really almost gone full circle. Originally sold in Sacramento it has now come home to roost so to speak at some expense and effort to me. I was the single bind on the chair and most likely I overpaid but I wanted one of these from the first time I saw them. If you take a look at my other blog you can see I am somewhat an old hand at restoring furniture. When I saw this chair design the first time my first thought was DARTH VADER CHAIR! It really is sleek and very male and that I loved. It just says lazy Sunday, beer, football to me. I had to buy one and now I have one. The wife is steam about it but heck a man can never have too many lounge chairs as a woman can never have too many shoes I guess. Plus by the time I get through with these chairs they are fully restored and ready for another 30 years plus.

So the story goes on this one, it was purchased in Sacramento California sometime in what I was told was the 50’s but I think the 60’s or possibly the 70’s is more accurate. It had been reupholstered before I got my hands on it and the core side mounts had been improperly repaired. Overall the chair was in rougher shape than I had hoped, but the nice thing about these chairs is they are somewhat easy to repair if you know what you are doing. I have restored two Eames Plycraft Lounge Chairs, (see alternate blog) and am building a custom drift boat (see alternate blog). So I was a little bummed when I saw the overall state of this chair. I picked it up from grayhound. I will say the seller did a bang up job rapping it up, grayhound did a bangup job beating the shit out of it. Overall the condition upon receipt of this chair is C+. There is a lot of restoration work ahead but I don’t fear the work and know exactly what work is ahead.