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Re-varnish TeVe chair

Section
Repair
- 08 Nov 2017 -
17 posts / 0 new
#1

I bought this TeVe easy chair (photo from the auction listing, can provide more photos by friday) and would like to restore it to something as close to it's original condition. The wood is laquered beech and through the years some of the laquer has chipped off. Is my only alternative remove and replace all the original laquer? If so, what are the key success factors in terms of tools and, potentially, chemicals to use?


Re-varnish TeVe chair
Country
Sweden
Periods
1950 - 1959

Comments

- 08 Nov 2017

Lacquer is typically easy to spot repair if there is no underlying damage to the wood itself. Someone experienced with French polishing techniques could make quick work of it for you.

- 08 Nov 2017

Ok sounds great. However I will try and do the job myself, that’s ”part of the project” as I want to learn more about renovation of vintage furniture. I’ll do the upholstering as well, but have more experience in that field.

- 08 Nov 2017

There are many online resources for research but, often, the best advice can be found where wood finishing products are sold. Fine furniture retailers and larger household moving companies often have specialists on call that will come to your house for minor finish repairs. Sometimes this avenue is a convenient and cost effective alternative to assembling the various hazardous solvents, safety gear, and experience needed to make successful repairs on your own. Far be it from me to discourage acquiring new skills, though! Many on this forum (including me) have had great results and experiences doing exactly such. Just be warned that it can be addictive!

Forward detailed photos of your particular project with any questions. There are friendly and helpful members here!

- 11 Nov 2017

Kind words, tktoo, which are truly appreciated as I will surely need support in this project. I have now received the chair, and immediately realized I will have to include a few more steps to the renovation process that I had originally planned for... I have never had any trouble disassembling furniture, but this one had me a bit stumped.
I would like to remove the wooden vertical back struts (is that the word..?) in order to get better access to the upholstery of the seat. But I simply can't understand how, given that the metal holder fixating the seat to the vertical back strut is not removable unless the vertical strut is firstly removed from the lower horizontal one.
The only way to remove the struts from each-other is to somehow dissolute the glue used to fasten them together. Is it possible to dissolute glue for this purpose? I hope the pictures can provide an idea of my crux.

- 11 Nov 2017

It does appear to be a bit of a puzzle at first glance. Better photos, perhaps more close up and with brighter lighting, of the underside where the back support (style?) and seat join might help to find a solution. It's difficult to see exactly how the metal bracket is fastened in the photo you've posted.

- 11 Nov 2017

Ok, I try (am really struggling with the website randomly rotating my pictures) and upload a few photos of:

1) the metal holder, which has an about 10cm long threaded rod attached to it which goes through the seat frame and is secured by a nut on the inside of the seat frame, and
2) the junction where the vertical strut is glued to the horizontal (which I wonder is possible to detach by dissolving the glue, then the problem would be solved).

- 11 Nov 2017

It's possible that the chair was assembled after the seat was fully upholstered, though this isn't the usual way furniture is made. If this is the case, then you can work around it by slitting the fabric on the underside just enough to go around the back post. Pull it snug to the underside and fasten. If it has enough give to it, you may be able to turn the edges of the slit under a bit to get a very neat finish. If your new fabric tends to ravel, this would be a good idea. If it's tightly woven and/or has a stabilizing finish on the back, you can probably get away with just stapling down the raw edges.

Slits like this are done all the time on conventional upholstered furniture with back posts. They're just more concealed than this chair will allow.

If there's no way to get the seat off, this is the solution. Just make sure you don't cut any farther into the seat fabric than is necessary to get past that point of connection! Cut a little, then test, then cut a bit more and test. When you can tug the fabric to the underside smoothly with no ripples, stop cutting. Oh, and tack the fabric at a bunch of points on the sides, front, and center back first.

- 11 Nov 2017

It's possible that the chair was assembled after the seat was fully upholstered, though this isn't the usual way furniture is made. If this is the case, then you can work around it by slitting the fabric on the underside just enough to go around the back post. Pull it snug to the underside and fasten. If it has enough give to it, you may be able to turn the edges of the slit under a bit to get a very neat finish. If your new fabric tends to ravel, this would be a good idea. If it's tightly woven and/or has a stabilizing finish on the back, you can probably get away with just stapling down the raw edges.

Slits like this are done all the time on conventional upholstered furniture with back posts. They're just more concealed than this chair will allow.

If there's no way to get the seat off, this is the solution. Just make sure you don't cut any farther into the seat fabric than is necessary to get past that point of connection! Cut a little, then test, then cut a bit more and test. When you can tug the fabric to the underside smoothly with no ripples, stop cutting. Oh, and tack the fabric at a bunch of points on the sides, front, and center back first.

- 11 Nov 2017

Yes, I also have come to the conclusion this the the only way to remove the existing fabric, and later add the new if not being able to detach the metal holder.
Still, this will be my plan B, as someone at some point in history did a rather crappy job at gluing several joints together, they look a mess.
Thus I would really like to detach the joints, remove glue stains and do a better job reattaching the chair myself. While doing so the upholstering job would also be easier.
I'm starting to understand what the answer is, of course, but again, is there no way of dissolving glue?

- 11 Nov 2017

There are a few methods of softening/dissolving old glue depending on which glue it is. Most involving water, heat, steam, weak solvents, or combinations thereof. That joint in your photo, though, looks compromised and possibly already loose. If there is any movement there at all, I'd start by just giving it a good tug.

- 11 Nov 2017

Aha! As the old saying goes, if violence does not work, use more violence :)

- 11 Nov 2017

If I had to guess, hammers likely compete with any category of tools that I own as far as numbers. Carving gouges, screw drivers, and ratchet wrench sockets are up there, too. Oh, and clamps. No such thing as too many of those.

But can I ever lay my hands on one of three 12' tape measures I own when I need one? NOOOOO!!!

- 11 Nov 2017

Do you have a rubber mallet? That's the best thing for knocking apart loose joints. You can start with light taps and work your way up to more serious whacks. Just alternate opposing joints so you don't end up exerting too much force on the ones you're not working on.

- 11 Nov 2017

If a rubber mallet is a rubber hammer I do! And I found it right away too, tktoo :) I ended up using exactly that and my hair dryer and look and behold, success! Hard to imagine a better saturday afternoon, even more so as I did all of the above while sipping a glass of nice bordeaux. Thanks for the help (!), I am sure to return with more questions shortly

- 11 Nov 2017

In the images showing the underside of your chair, there are two that look like hex(?)) bolts, is that how those metal rings in the back vertical wood parts attached to the seat? Maybe you just need to loosen those 2 to separate the back piece from the seat.

I was referring to item # 1 of your post that you described as a 10cm threaded rod.

You probably had done it already, remove/unscrew the back from the 2 vertical wood parts then unscrew or loosen the nut that looks like secures the metal ring part from the seat & the vertical back piece should just pull out of the hole into the horizontal back rail(?)

- 11 Nov 2017

I did try that, but due to the glued joints at the bottom horizontal back rail it was not possible. I tried pushing the hex bolts (thanks, cool word!) out from the seat frame but I would’ve broken the vertical rails had I pushed them any further. I finally managed to deattach the glued joints at the bottom, so problem solved regardless. In any case, thanks for trying to help!

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