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Restoring Kai Kristiansen Model 42

- 09 Oct 2017 -
29 posts / 0 new

I just got six Kai Kristiansen Model 42 teak chairs, probably my favorites, and right now I am in the middle of restoring them. It's my first restoration project so I'm new to this (and I am fairly exited). It's fun and all but three questions have arised:

First: The chairs were made by Schou Andersen I think but there isn't any makers mark. Are they ever marked?

Second: It appears to me that they used different wood for the front and back stretchers, but I am not sure at all. The stretchers kind of look like teak but they are lighter and have a different feel, I'm thinking of maybe stained beechwoodl. Does that make sense?

Third: I'm not sure about the finishing. I don't want to use any laquer, i like the feel of pure wood, that's why I'm thinking about just applying a few coats of teak oil an leave it at that. Are there any downsides to this? Should I sand between the coats or youse steel wool for any effect? What would you advise?

Thanks for your help

chairs & stools
1960 - 1969


- 09 Oct 2017

I had a set of those in rosewood long ago and reupholstered them. They're very, very comfortable chairs! Just be aware that they're not the strongest chair structurally, I think because the back legs are little closer together at the bottom ends than where they meet the seat. Or something. I eventually traded mine for some Møllers because I was tired of policing my somewhat rambunctious family about how they were scooting the chairs up to the table and such.

Anyway! Yes, you can absolutely just oil the teak. Oil is the original finish on a lot of Danish teak furniture. You don't need to do steel wool between coats if you use a teak oil that doesn't have varnish in it. That's the kind I use for most stuff. If you go with an oil with some added varnish, then I think you might need to go over it with steel wool between coats--just see how it feels.

Rails are typically beech, not teak, since they are completely covered and beech was less expensive. Clear close-up photos are necessary if you want help IDing the species.

Are you doing the reupholstery? The backs are a bit tricky to do.

- 09 Oct 2017

this one's not brilliant, I know I should have made a close up, But this is what I have. You can see the freshly oiled up side and front stretchers.

- 09 Oct 2017

spanky: I had to glue three of them indeed, they had loose joints. One or two have certainly been repaired but that's ok. They have to be reupholstered, the seats are completely worn out, but this is way to tricky for me. So I'm having that done professionally. I know some upholsterers who are specialised in danish modern so that won't be a problem. I'm just not sure about which color. I tend to fabric, darker colors, meybe grey, maybe darker blue, maybe the bluish green that we call "petrol" in german, I don't know if you have that in english. Black would also be worth considering. I even thought about having the backrests and seats made in a different tone. Dark blue seat, ligh blue backrest or so. But I'm not sure yet. Do you have any suggestions?

- 09 Oct 2017



bargain eBay the yard (or less).

4 different seat textiles (patterns).

and 4 totally different back textiles, Maharah or Girard will be fine.

professionally done.

proudly presented.

I'm tired of everything matching (this month).

shake it up.


Aunt Mark

ps I'm in therapy.

- 09 Oct 2017

Meh. Don't like patterns. Maybe small patterns. Very small patterns. Tiny little patterns. No, wait. I hate patterns.

- 09 Oct 2017

Schou Andersen had a wide range of markings over the years, with most of them being stickers that are easily removed.

Here is your chair, with teak and rosewood options (at least at the time of this catalog)

- 09 Oct 2017

Thank you! So I guess the stickers fell off the cushions, they were removed or the chairs have never been marked for some reason.

- 10 Oct 2017

I have reupholstered lots and lots of teak dining chairs and the most stunning fabric choice was Maharam/Kvadrat Hallingdal #180, which is a charcoal gray with random flecks of lighter gray. It looked quite sharp. I think I've talked my son into this for his teak chairs.

I would not do black, at least not in a fabric. Leather--sure. Fabric, no--because lint and crumbs will be very visible on black fabric and you'll be forever brushing it. They don't show as much on the Hallingdal 180 because the lighter flecks are already there.

- 10 Oct 2017

spanky, thanks a lot. That was the kind of insightful advice I was hoping for. Would you ever consider to youse velvet on these chairs? I was also thinking about that.

- 10 Oct 2017

I wouldn't use velvet on a dining room chair seat. It's hard to clean and the nap tends to wear rather easily, at least with conventional cotton velvet. Mohair velvet is probably better in those regards. Synthetic velvet is out just because it's not of that era and thus is inappropriate for the design.

Also, fabric panel on the back of the backrest is glued on, which is tricky to do neatly---or you can sew it on by hand. Neither of these two techniques will look neat in any kind of velvet though--the nap will be crushed down in a less than perfectly even way around the edge and it won't look very good---in my opinion, anyway!

- 10 Oct 2017

Mark: You´re right, I may have been too harsh. This pattern is quite nice and probably worth considering - although I prefer to stay with one instead of four different patterns. Thank you..

- 11 Oct 2017

One thing to be aware of when choosing the upholstery fabric or leather: if you want to go a little crazy with it, it will probably make the chairs less marketable if and when you (or your heirs!) decide to sell them. If this is decades from now, no big deal--most fabric will need to be redone by then anyway. But if you're like me and you cycle through a few different chair designs before settling on the one you want to keep long term, then go with something classic. (Ask me how I know this, though I probably thought when I chose the patterned fabric for my Kai Christiansens that I would never part with them.)

- 11 Oct 2017


No doubt, spanky...but I dig leif's idea of 8 shades of tonus.

I'd perch on the model reupholstered with the turquoise seat/ lime green back..and a printed textile on the back of the back (if it's textile, also...and I think that it is...maybe it's wood). And maybe I'd want to sit in the pink and orange chair for desert...depending on desert, natch...oh and Miller stripe on the back side of that one. What fun.

This way, when the red wine gets messy, or the kid pukes...or your grandmother potties on a seat, you can easily clean up the damage.

I guess,

Aunt Mark

- 11 Oct 2017

The real question is, Aunt Mark--would you sit on a chair that compliments your pants or contrasts with them?!

I will take my cake comments to the other thread!

- 11 Oct 2017

Hi Sugar,

Oh my outfit would need to compliment the chair...but I have been known to bring an outfit change to a dinner party. One look for cocktail hour, and something different for dinner....and usually nudity (or duct tape) after dinner. Sartorial drama on the verge.

why not,

Aunt Mark

- 11 Oct 2017

I'd probably not going with eight different colorways of Kvadrat Tonus, I am not this wild and crazy. I'm just looking for a nice, fitting and elegant look that makes me smile everytime I see those chairs. I happen to have a pelican chair in gray/black which turns every day into a better day. This is why I can well imagine to also have the Kristiansen chairs upholstered in two colors. But they should all look the same nevertheless. Well, one is for my daughters room, maybe I could go a litte crazy there. But on the other hand I've rarely seen any dining chairs with differently colored seat and bäckrest which fully convinced me. And spanky: Could it be that you finaly parted with the chairs BECAUSE of the patterned fabric? Just kidding. You are probably right about the marketability but that should not be my main concern. If I am convinced, I'll go for it. We are not talking about Juhl chairs here, not even rosewood ones. I just want them to be as nice as possible.

- 11 Oct 2017

No! I loved the patterned fabric until the bitter end! it was just the wobbly frames that I couldn't live with. In fact, I was terribly insulted (not really, just a little surprised) that they took so long to sell. They finally went to a conference room in some fancy office, and I kind of winced at the thought of them being scraped back and forth on the floor. I don't want to think about that.

In the end, upholstery is not a permanent alteration. Do what makes you happy!

- 11 Oct 2017

No, sadly it was long ago before I got into the habit of taking photos of everything I worked on. The fabric was from Unika Vaev, which was originally a Danish fabric company that was bought up by an American one (but still goes by the Danish name). This was also before I had access to good Danish wools. I still like the look of rosewood with this fabric though I wouldn't use it again on these chairs.

- 15 Oct 2017

I was asking about the stretchers and what wood they were made of. I took some pictures today, hoping that the experts can tell if this is teak, beech or someting else. It's all the same, photos taken from both sides.

- 16 Oct 2017

Silly me. It never occured to me that they would use veneer on these parts of a chair. But also I've never heard of it. Was that a common thing?

- 16 Oct 2017

It was common enough. It was more prevalent later on and amongst makers that were trying to be more price competitive.

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