Culvertons Antiques


01306 630018
0777 5426867

Antique chair restoration - George Maxwell, celebrated craftsman, left a remarkable, but vunerable example of his work to a descendent.

05/01/2015 10:50 PM

We were recently contacted by a descendent of Sussex craftsman George Maxwell. She was in need of our antique chair restoration service as she had inherited one of his wonderful, but somewhat tired ecclesiastical chairs.

George Maxwell was a member of The Guild of StFake Watches Review Joseph and Saint Dominic in Ditchling; establishing its first carpentry workshop under Eric Gills inspirational, creative and controversial leadership. George specialised in constructing looms and also religious furniture; examples of his simple honest craftsmanship can still be found in local churches. http://www.pricejb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Guild/Members.htm

Our representative could see that George’s chair still took pride of place within the clients’ home, but because of its weakened joints and split seat, it had unfortunately become a talking point rather than a usable piece of furniture. For this substantial, historically important, decorative and much loved ash and elm chair to be sidelined and not sat on would, more than likely, have been contrary to George’s simple and self sufficient lifestyle and ideals. Its vulnerable state needed to be remedied; our restoration workshops were directed to carry out the necessary repairs enabling future generations to use and enjoy it.

Often within a home there sits at least one antique chair. Handed down, or acquired in a local saleroom, whatever its history, more often than not it requires some degree of attention. Antique chair frames are generally well designed, constructed and are capable of lasting many generations, if the negative effects of central heating and careless use are kept in check. Once joints become loose the frame is susceptible to racking and more serious damage can follow. Using a dehumidifier or placing a water filled vessel within the room will help to preserve your antique furniture.

For thousands of years chair frames have been constructed using many different variations of the simple and strong mortise and tenon joint. Fixed into place with pegs, wedges, and prior to the, 1940’s, adhesive derived from animal hide or bones. This versatile protein based glue has some major benefits over its modern day equivalents. Even after centuries have elapsed, with the aid of heat and moisture, it can be readily converted from liquid to solid and back again. Carefully softening or injecting warm water, alcohol or vinegar will separate an existing glued joint, enabling cleaning, repair and with the application of another hot coat over the old glue, re-bonding. Making these glues the perfect choice for restorers. Fully or partly dismantling a chair frame is vital to achieving satisfactory, long lasting repairs.

George Maxwell’s chair, now back with its owner, was in fact constructed using glued and pegged mortise and tenon joints. Once the chair was fully dismantled, the necessary repairs were carried out. With the aid of multiple clamps and hot animal glue applied to the joints, the frame was reassembled with newly hand crafted pegs/dowels driven through the existing holes. Whilst these pegs do not dramatically increase the strength of the joint, they will add support to the area in the future if the glue once again fails. The split to the undulating seat was left as a satisfactory repair could not have been carried out without disturbing the colour and surface of the adjoining timber – an important consideration when restoring such an important piece.

For many reasons, some of which are outlined within subsequent pages within this website, http://www.culvertons.com/antique_furniture_valuations.ph   many antiques, especially chairs are now available to be bought at very affordable prices. Purchasing and restoring a beautifully crafted antique chair constructed of superior timber and often with wonderful patina, can be far cheaper than choosing a modern production line equivalent, and if cared for, the added guarantee of longevity.

Our impartial, competitive and confidential services.

Culvertons provide valuation, restoration, conservation and probate services, throughout central & southern England, principally in Surrey, East & West Sussex, Kent & Hampshire, and including London.

We pride ourselves on our customer service and strong ethical working practices, striving to ensure these are demonstrated in all aspects of the work we do. www.alilwatches.com

If you wish to arrange an appointment, have a question about our services, or how we would assess items within an estate you are representing, please send us an email via our contact page.

Culvertons‘ knowledge, experience and advice are just a phone call away.