I Broke My Valentine’s Leg

Yes, it was a violent encounter, on-lookers were horrified.  Did I mention that my valentine was the wing chair I am working on restoring? I was not going to miss my upholstery class for a half-baked holiday that makes couples force romance and singles force smiles.  So yes, I spent Valentine’s Day upholstering. Well, there was no actual upholstering; I was trying to salvage my relationship with my valentine.

I started class by loosening all the joints of my chair so that I could glue them back together to be sure my chair would be a steady one.  After applying wood glue I put my chair in traction with large, heavy metal clamps so that the joints stayed tight as the glue dried.  As I was tightening one of the clamps that ran from the bottom of the rear left leg up to the top of the chair’s back I heard a loud CRACK! The leg of my chair had snapped right off, but it was not a clean break.  I gasped, then whispered to my chair “It’s not you, it’s me.”
My chair’s broken leg
Maybe I should have seen this coming, friends told me he would never amount to anything, but I saw something in my chair that I had not seen in others.
I was emotional and heartbroken as I held his leg in my hand.  Heartbroken that a relationship that had started out so promising — and one in which I saw so much potential for the future — was irrevocably broken, snapped in two pieces with painfully jagged edges exposed.  We had a deep connection my chair and I.  We were compatible on so many levels.  Sure, I wanted to change him, but it was for his own good.  I could see his potential.
My teacher assured me that all was not lost. There was hope. It would take hard work (and a plethora of wood glue) but we could get this chair back on track and we would still have years of happy reclining to look forward to. I pulled myself together and squeezed glue all over the breaking point as if it was my only hope for a happy ending. I stuck the broken leg back in place, used some staples just to be sure, and carefully, reapplied the clamp.  It was touch-and-go there for a minute, and I will not know for sure if we have a chance until I return to class next week.  But I am hopeless romantic, and I think this may be it!
Reapplying the clamp after the breakup
If only all relationships could be fixed with wood glue and some clamps…

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Back At It

Those of you have been reading this blog for a while know that one of my first endeavors was upholstery, and I really fell in love!  I may have actually found my passion on one of my first tries!  It combines the physical challenge of breaking down a chair to build it back up, with the creative challenge of choosing fabric, piping and just how cushiony you want your chair (A very important questions as I have discovered). It is the ultimate form of recycling: giving a tied old chair with great bones, a brand new look and a new life.
This chair has great bones, but this fabric is terrible
After bringing one of my grandmother’s piano benches, and an ottoman back to life, I have begun my next class at the Eliot School of Art with a very challenging project: a wing chair.  I found the wing chair on ebay for $99 for a set of two (amazing deal), and I found some gorgeous Hinson & Company fabric at Griswold’s fabric outlet (a treasure trove of designer fabric at deep discount) and hauled it all to Jamaica Plain this past week.
It took over three hours to break down this chair and it was not easy (I have cuts all over my hands to prove it). I pulled out hundreds of stables, yanked the ugly, worn, peachy fabric to shreds and battled some very old, rusty springs.  At one point I was standing on the naked frame of my soon-to-be-beautiful chair pulling at a tiny strip of fabric as if a mugger just stole my purse.
Hinson & Company Fabric
My teacher tells me that it could take me several months’ worth of classes to finish this chair, and I will have to get very comfortable with a sewing machine.  As a result, you won’t get as many updates this time around, and I won’t get the sort of instant gratification that I received from my smaller projects last spring.  But I promise to post tons of pictures of the final product!
My naked chair
Until then I will be hard at work creating my dream chair! And those of you who have asked if I take custom orders, this project should get me to a level where I can reupholster your furniture without losing any limbs (both mine and your chairs’)!