Antique Chair Restoration – Part 1

Posted on

Antique Chair Restoration – Part 1

Its another beautiful day in the Hoppe shop, and yet again we find ourselves taking on a challenge outside our traditional service scope. This antique lounge-style chair is showing its age. This chair is more of an art piece than a chair, however it sits in an area that gets direct sunlight 8+ hours a day. The UV rays and general wear and tear have taken their toll. The leather is stained and sun-beaten, the wood portions have small signs of damage everywhere, and the base does not have any type of protection so it is damaging the hardwood floor it sits on.

One of the main points the client requested we address is a solution for the points of contact to their hardwood floor. Being delivered with nothing, the wood bases were very damaged on the chair itself and the wood floor did need repair. We sourced some adhesive felt strips that we carefully cut and applied to the areas. It adhered well, and offered a perfect solution to the problem with virtually no loss of style.

Once we felt that we had a solid solution for the bases, we stripped the entire chair of its countless strips of high-end leather. The leather was unfortunately the most damaged portion of the chair, and the most difficult to repair. The following images show how complex the design is and just how many interlaced pieces there are!

This image below shows several things. First, the large single piece that the strips are laced through was protected from the sun and shows the original tone, this is our goal to restore the rest of the damaged pieces to this state. It also shows our first attempt to clean/prep the 3 lower strips. Unfortunately this method dried the material out even more and caused a drastic color change. Not being leather experts, we were a bit out of our element with this project, so we abandoned this method and did some more R&D on a different solution.

For now, we have solved one of the issues, but the leather treatment is proving more difficult to repair than expected. One of the common themes we continually employ at Hoppe Brothers is persistence. With the highly customized nature of our service offerings, we often have to make several attempts at solving an issue. The key is not giving up and continuing to press forward! For now, we’re at a stopping place. More to come soon-