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Kofod Larsen Spear Chair straps

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Repair
- 21 May 2017 -
51 posts / 0 new
#1

Hi


I recently acquired a Kofod Larsen Spear Chair. The chair seems to be in good shape except for the straps which have been taken off and replaced with straps that were stapled onto the frame. Those need to go but where can I get the straps with the dowels to replace them? AND once I get them how are they installed on the frame? Straps with a loop on them or straps wrapped around a dowel? Also which straps? Pirelli or Fagas? It's hard to find photos of the original installation. Any help is greatly appreciated.


Brian


Kofod Larsen Spear Chair straps

Comments

- 21 May 2017

The dowels are long enough to fit loosely in the 4 slots under the seat frame. It is probably a 3/8" diameter dowel. And one side of the dowel is flattened a lot. This flat part goes up against the seat frame. Use a roll of Pirelli webbing. It goes around the dowel. And you cinch it tight. The flattened part of the dowel keeps the dowel from rolling in the slot and loosening the strap.

- 24 May 2017

I this "pirelli" webbing then? or are there knockoffs?

- 25 May 2017

The 2" Pirelli webbing looks right.

I can't seem to find a photo of the bottom of a Selig chair with the cinch tight straps right now, but this detail might help. You can see the end of the strap going down through the hole and coming back up. What you can't see from the top is the flat sided dowel underneath that the strap loop around.

- 25 May 2017

Does the flat part of the dowel face up or down?

- 25 May 2017

It has to face the front or back if its purpose is to keep the dowel from rolling.

- 25 May 2017

It looks like you are thinking the dowels are about 2" long and that there would be one dowel per strap end. This is incorrect.

There are 4 dowels total. They fit into the 4 shallow grooves on the underside of the seat frame. The flat part sits up against the seat frame. Thus the dowel can not roll in the groove.

Does this make sense?

- 25 May 2017

I can't see it too well. Two dowels per end? I did find this photo however. Is this what you were talking about?

- 25 May 2017

I can't see it too well. Two dowels per end? I did find this photo however. Is this what you were talking about?

- 25 May 2017

I can't see it too well. Two dowels per end? I did find this photo however. Is this what you were talking about?

- 25 May 2017

Nope.

Look at the first image you posted on this thread. Shows the underside of the seat frame.

Observe that there is a groove along each bottom side of the frame; so there are 4 grooves in total. The through holes for the straps are inside these grooves.

The 4 dowels fit inside these 4 grooves. The flat of the dowel rests in the groove; thus the dowel can not spin.

- 25 May 2017

Ah! So it's one long dowel per groove (per side of the chair)? It seems like it would be tricky to get the straps around the dowel and then tighten it down. Am I wrong? Also would you know the circumference of the dowel needed?

- 26 May 2017

I think the dowels are 3/8" diameter. And the flattened side probably has about 1/8" removed. It has been a while since I looked at the bottom of one of these Selig chairs.

- 26 May 2017

And the length of the dowel is just a bit shorter than the groove it fits into.

I did not have any trouble getting the straps around the dowel. Attaching the first end of a strap is easy. The opposite end is a bit hard because you sort of need three hands: one to hold the frame, one to pull the length of the strap, and one to pull the end tab of the strap. But it isn't exactly rocket science.

- 26 May 2017

Yes. The straps should be really tight. Consider that a 200 pound person can be sitting on them. The comfort comes from them supporting the foam cushion.

- 26 May 2017

I just got the chair and it's missing a screw that wasn't missing in the photos. Does anyone know where I can find one?

- 09 Jun 2017

I just acquired this type of chair with loose nylon straps in which the nylon straps are looped around the dowel and stapled to itself. Is this the conventional way to strap these or do some straps include loops already?

I'd imagine once one side is looped and pulled against the hole using the dowel, then you would stretch the strap to the other side and loop it around the other dowel and just staple it against itself while stretching it?

Sorry for the noob question but it's not exactly clear to me.

- 09 Jun 2017

Nylon is very likely not the original strap material, and it is very slippery, which is why it does not hold against itself and needs staples. If you use rubber straps you will get comfort and no more need for staples.

- 09 Jun 2017

The mover miraculously located the screw and I've ordered the Pirelli Straps from Evans in California. All I need are the dowels and I'm all set.

- 09 Jun 2017

Thanks. I just read that with rubber straps I just tread them through and back out and then cut. The friction holds them in place with no need for staples.

- 10 Jun 2017

Correct. Just bear in mind that you thread the strap through so that the tail end comes out underneath, in other words trapped between the seat frame and the span of strap crossing the frame. Cinched tight it stays in place.

Nylon however has the worst habit to loosen itself. It is a major annoyance with knots in nylon string. No matter how tight you pull a knot in nylon string, if you wiggle the knot around for a bit it will start to work itself loose. Same problem you would encounter with a nylon strap. In fact I once had a belt that was a piece of nylon webbing with a pair of D rings at one end. You cinched it tight in a similar manner, and the thing was infuriating, because it was constantly slipping loose. It took about ten footsteps and pants would be falling down. It was the most pointless belt in history.

- 10 Jun 2017

Thanks for the response Leif. So I plan on buying the Pirelli rubber straps that presumably comes in a roll. I'll thread it through as you described, tighten it and cut the end as I make my way through the entire chair.

How much then should I buy in length? Perhaps an extra 4 inches per strap? 2 inches on each side or so. What I don't want is too buy too little or too much.

- 10 Jun 2017

You have to stretch it tight, and it is hard to say exactly how much you will gain from the stretching, so it is hard to say how much exactly you will need.

If you work off the roll (put one end in, then the other, stretch it tight, then cut) you don't need much extra to pull on except for the very last end of the last strap.

If you run a flexible measuring tape along the route of the strap you should be able to get a decent sense of the length you will need. At least you won't over order that way, because stretching it will make it go further than the tape.

- 12 Jun 2017

Done Deal. Pirelli Straps from Evans in California. I added about 4 inches extra to each end of the strap to wrap around the dowel so about 8 inches extra per strap.

- 12 Jun 2017

Looks great bermannyc! Where did you get those replacement dowels? Are they plastic?

Thanks for the info. I'll be getting them with 4 inches to spare each as well!

- 12 Jun 2017

Wood dowels from Home Depot. 7/16". Leif suggests cutting a flat edge on one side to stop slippage but I don't have the tool for that. I decided to see what happens without doing that. If there's a problem I'll cut the edge.

- 13 Jun 2017

The flattened side of the dowel is how the original is done. In other words it is not just my hare-brained idea.

- 13 Jun 2017

@Leif I know. It's just that I'd probably need a table saw to shave off a side of the dowel. Which I don't have. Another question, for the wood, should I use some 0000 steel wool on the chair with some danish oil? teak oil?

- 13 Jun 2017

If you don't have access to a table saw, you could rub the dowel back and forth on a sheet of fairly rough sandpaper (taped to a board or table to make it easier) to create a flat edge.

Having said that, I've used round dowels with no problems. The strap tension is held due to a combination of 1) compression between the folded straps and frame, and 2) friction between the faces of the folded straps.

- 13 Jun 2017

I'd flatten one side of a dowel with a block plane if I had to do it. Ripping a dowel on a table saw is a dangerous operation and should be avoided.

- 13 Jun 2017

I should have clarified that you do not want to try to rip a small diameter dowel on a table saw by itself, as tk has noted. For close cuts like that, it is best to securely tape the dowel to a larger piece of scrap wood (perhaps with a groove cut for better stability and precision) before running it through.

- 13 Jun 2017

If you MUST use a power saw for this operation, a band saw is the one to choose. But, why take risks? With one clamp, a flat surface, and a sharp block plane, flattening a 36" x 7/16" hardwood dowel would take less than 10 minutes. No machines, noise, sawdust, fossil fuels, or unnecessary risk involved. And you burn a few calories to boot.

Don't get me wrong, though. I'm no zealot. Nobody loves their machines more than I do and I have a variety of expensive ones in my shop. I just try to limit their use to appropriate operations.

- 14 Jun 2017

I flatten the dowels on my jointer, but I get that not everybody has one of those. (It is a mid century design relic, being an old Atlas cast iron beast.)

Oh, and barryman, your chair is stained beech with a VERY thick lacquer finish. I usually find these chairs after they've turned green from the desert sun, so I I usually have to remove the finish and stain to get the color back. Or more precisely, I never will do that again. I am not sure what I would do with one that is still the right Selig "Saddle" color. Maybe start a new thread for that specifically and see what others have done? (I will think about it).

- 16 Aug 2017

I know I'm a bit late to this thread, but I wanted to thank all of the posters in here for the photos and instructions. I just refinished two Selig chairs that have this original seat and was totally puzzled at how to install the straps. Now I know I just need to get some dowels - easy peasy!

- 19 Dec 2017

I’ve since acquired more Selig pieces that are missing the dowels. For those that have used round dowels, without flattening one side, how have they held up over time? It’s much easier for me to go to Home Depot to buy and use round dowels than to go through the effort of buying tools to flatten them down or cut them in half.

Also is there a place I can simply buy flattened dowels? Several Selig pieces I’ve gotten have flattened dowels that look like they were bought that way. Different widths as though some one cut them to length (not exact), but the flattened sides are clean cuts.

- 19 Dec 2017

How about getting round dowels and sanding them down a bit by rubbing them against sandpaper laid on a hard, flat surface? I don't think it would take long at all if you start with 60 grit to most of the work.

The ones you saw that "look like they were bought that way" may have been run through a jointer or something---that would produce a clean cut though I'm not sure how it works on something as small as the diameter of the dowels for these chairs (done before cutting to length, of course). The woodworkers here will know for sure.

- 20 Dec 2017

So far the dowels, and the tension under the seat, are fine without flattening one side of the dowel. That being said, if I were to do it again, I'd get a planer and take down one side just a bit. I don't have one to reference so I'd just wing it. Using a sanding block could be an option too but the planer seemed the best idea to me.

- 22 Dec 2017

Thanks Spanky. I wanted to keep true to the original design so I ended up making my own dowels. I bout 48” dowels and cut them down into 4 inch pieces. I then used 60 grit sandpaper and sanded them down. Took almost 2 hours of work but I have 36 dowels ready to go.

- 22 Dec 2017

Question for anyone that would know regarding the use of the long dowel on one side and three individual dowels on the opposite side. Is the purpose of this to yield even tension across all theee straps. Presumably in this setup, one would cut the straps to the same length and then once cinched through and pulled out, then you can easily tell which one might need to be evened out.

I’ve personally been strapping using three individual dowels on either side. I don’t have anyone to help me and it makes it easy to do by myself. I kinda just pull each one as tight as I can and compare it to the rest to get it as even as possible.

In other words is one way better than the other.

- 22 Dec 2017

Can you attach a photo of the bottom of the chair?

- 22 Dec 2017

Here is the bottom. Restrapped using the dowels I made.

- 23 Dec 2017

looks good. Instead of 12 short single strap dowels, originally it would have had only 4 dowels, each the full length of the groove underneath. So 3 strap ends would wrap around each dowel. Just for the record.

- 30 Dec 2017

Just for the record, Leif, do you think it is more difficult to mount the 3 straps if you have only one dowel, rather that a strap for each as shown here? That's what I would expect.

Leif, I have also another question for you that I'm keeping since a while: I find the system of the elastic webbing very smart and super easy to replace. I think that combined with a teak frame of good quality, a chair will last very long. But then I recently worked (and still I am) on a Grete Jalk armchair made by france and sons, and I cannot understand why they did not adopted the same system of the elastic webbing. It's so much more elegant that using nails and metal eeee springs. You very often find the same Jalk chair where they have replaced the eeeee springs with tissue webbing and a lot of staples. Very unpleasant solution, which would not have occurred if elastic webbing were there in the first place.

Thank you for your opinion on this and best wishes for the New Year.

Ernest.

- 31 Dec 2017

It is probably easier to use 4 long dowels than 12 little ones. The first straps you put on hold the rest in place, so you don't need extra hands for that. Not much difference either way. I just prefer to do things exactly as they were done originally.

Both France and Søn and Selig were in the business of flatpacked furniture. I believe that France and Søn, at least in the early years (pre 1960s say) and even into the mid years (1960-1966) was interested in building extremely high quality flat pack furniture.

Selig was more of a budget minded company. However many of the Selig pieces, especially the ones from around 1960 that were made by Chr. Jensen Møbelsnedkeri, were excellent pieces of furniture. I have never been fond of the common, cheap stained beech versions, but the ones made in teak, rosewood, or walnut are excellent and classics.

Pirelli webbing degrades VERY quickly in oxygen, but it is easier to replace as long as you can source the product. From all the wrong replacements you see it is obvious that even back then sourcing the webbing was too hard.

France and Søns system was significantly more durable, although, after 50 years of brutal use, sometimes the eeee springs come loose. And re-attaching them is significantly harder.

Trade-offs.

- 23 Jan 2018

My parents bought this pair of chairs in 1955 so it’s been fun to restore. The hardest part is definitely tightening the pirelli straps around the dowels. I stumbled on something that helped a lot.

Insert 2 zip ties as shown in the pic before tightening. It was about 80% easier to tighten. Then simply pull them out when you are done.

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