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Finn Juhl Egyptian Chairs found! Now questions.

- 31 Mar 2017 -
19 posts / 0 new

Greetings! I just found a set of 6 Finn Juhl Egyptian chairs. Easily my greatest score to date and possibly ever. What is the best way to restore the leather? A couple will need to be reupholstered, where does one find the appropriate leather to match what was originally used? And for the teak, just teak oil without additives and 0000 steel wool?

Now for the photos:

Finn Juhl Egyptian Chairs found! Now questions.


- 31 Mar 2017

If they're for resale, don't touch them.

- 31 Mar 2017

tktoo - everything is for sale right? Regardless of what I do with them, I want to keep this as true to original as possible. I shouldn't even clean the chatter marks on the backs of the legs? What about conditioning the dry leather and teak?

- 31 Mar 2017

Or take them to a pro that knows the difference between "conservation" and "restoration" and where and when to draw distinctions.

"Original condition" can mean a lot. Tart them up at your own risk.

If they were mine, I'd give them a gentle but thorough brushing off and then store them, covered, in a safe place until they appeared in an appropriate auction.

- 31 Mar 2017

And offered gratis. Not everything is for sale.

Congrats on your fortuitous situation!

- 31 Mar 2017

Do you want to continue to own and use the chairs? Or do you want to sell them?

Teak really does not need to be conditioned. Oiling etc is all about appearance, not durability.

Leather is an entirely different thing. I can pretty confidently say that the leather on those chairs is vegetable tanned, and it is the most fragile of leathers. After the oil in the leather evaporates it is prone to damage. Those seats have already started cracking and may be beyond restoration to usuability.

Another way of saying this, is that if you plan to use them you may discover that you decrease their value significantly in making them usable. Your chairs your choice.

You should extensively read up the care of leather. And note that this is not a simple topic because there are many very different things that go by the name "leather." And depending on which "leather" you have certain products can do great, great damage. For instance, almost all soaps are very damaging to vegetable tanned leather, including saddle soap.

If you are shipping them off to an auction house, then take tktoo's advice. If you are keeping them, then you have a lot of research to do before you even touch them, at all, including cleaning.

- 31 Mar 2017

Thank you Leif, my inclination was to "do nothing" unless otherwise advised and even then; research, research, research before I did anything.

I think they're beautiful the way they are, minus perhaps the black duct tape residue on the leather.

- 31 Mar 2017

Leif is right. It's long since time to put this whole notion of "feeding" leather and wood to rest. They're DEAD, folks. They died when the organisms they were once parts of did. They're done needing food!

And, not to put too fine a point on it, discerning collectors want to see any and ALL evidence of an item's history. In this case, consistent patina and patterns of wear are important indicators that the set has remained intact since new.

FWIW, this set is one of the best I've ever seen here.

- 31 Mar 2017

Thank you tktoo. I think the greater question is one of investment. Fine furniture value will ebb and flow, of course, so perhaps I will tuck these away like a fine wine and decide when and where to offer them.

- 31 Mar 2017

Final suggestions:

Make copious quality photographs. Collect as much documentation of provenance and chain of ownership as you possibly can. Get a written appraisal and insure appropriately. Consider storage in a secure, climate-controlled facility specializing in fine art. Don't be intimidated by high-end auctioneers or dealers.

Best of luck and thanks for the treat!

- 31 Mar 2017

For want it is worth, vegetable tanned leather may be something that does need periodic care to stay supple. Chrome-tanned leather does not need any sort of maintenance really. As I said though, "leather" is a very complicated subject made far more complicated because it is not properly understood to be a very general term encompassing a wide variety of different things which have vastly characteristics even though they frequently look the identical.

Sunlight and excessive heat are two non-obvious things that can damage veg tanned leather, so do take tktoo's advice about climate controlled storage.

- 02 Apr 2017

Whoa! Those are really beautiful chairs, congrats!!

- 17 Nov 2017

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- 17 Nov 2017

The value in the chairs as a whole is the design and the Finn Juhl / Vodder logo. Also the difficulty in locating a set of six in any condition. If I planned to keep the chairs I would replace the leather and clean the wood and use them happily in my home. If my plan was to sell the chairs, then I most certainly would not do anything, allowing the next owner to do what he/she choose. Cleaning and reupholstering will not lose one dime of value if done appropritely with the right material. Most buyers just want the chairs to use in their dinning area as they are just gor-geeee-ous.

Whatever you decide to do don't sand and you'll be ok. Sanding will change the original design in one way or another.

- 24 Apr 2018

No, they have been transferred to a new home where they will be better preserved.

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