Sunday, May 30, 2010

Heirloom toddler chair

On a recent trip home to Kansas, my hubby and I made a side trip to his dad’s house in order to pick up a special heirloom for our son, Cameron. Over 60 years ago, around 1950 or so, Cameron’s great-great uncle…also named Cameron (yep, that’s where we got the name)…built a rocking toddler chair for my hubby’s dad. Uncle Cameron had a lot of jobs, and one of them was in a custom furniture and upholstery shop. He designed and built this chair himself, as well as did the upholstery work.

Unfortunately, time and storage had done a number to the chair…it would have to be reupholstered. We decided to take it apart ourselves, though we may end up having it upholstered professionally, so we could take a look at its construction. It was well worth it.


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We started with the arms and front of the chair.


You would not believe the amount of tacks we pulled out. And no doubt they were all put in by hand (no pneumatic nailers in 1950)

Two front panels, sandwiching some piping, were removed. The upper edge, where the panels attach to the seat, were stitched in. I love thinking about Uncle Cameron sitting there with a big upholstery needle and thread, stitching this chair together for his little nephew. So awesome!

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The side panels came off next.

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Then the arm layers came off. Under a typical layer of wool batting, there was a layer of, what we’re guessing is, horsehair padding. Wild!


This is my favorite picture. We found an old candy wrapper within the layers. And some old pennies. Cool!! You can even make out Uncle Cameron’s handwriting on the wood frame, reminding himself which piece is which.



The frame was covered in burlap, which sandwiched the springs inside. What a neat chair…they don’t make them like this anymore!


My hubby will clean up, sand and possibly refinish the wooden rockers. In the meantime, I will either decide to tackle this project myself or just have a professional do it. Not sure which yet. But either way, Cameron is going to love his new chair!


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