Sunday, September 6, 2009

Victorian Spoon Back Parlour Chair

A petite seat with delicately curved cabriole legs and no arms - as demanded by the billowing skirts of 1880's fashion. The chair purchased by customer at an estate sale had a stained and worn velvet seat, but in good contour and spring-state. It did need some frame repair and an update in upholstery.

Not just loose joints, but some good sized cracks threatening to chip right off...

The seat had kept it's shape so nicely over the years but surely in a chair of this age, the burlap covering the springs will be is, and in fact the jute twine shows signs of finally fraying and giving out, too. I'll simply keep what's there, reinforce with new twine in a 4-hand tie and slip in some new webbing from underneath.

Why only 4 and not 6 or 8 ties? Well, could be the light frame of the chair wasn't meant to handle that tension. 4 ties are all that kept this seat so beautifully trussed up for years, so I figure it's good enough for another 50 (or more). The springs had been handtied to the webbing too, so I like to replace them one at a time with new webs and since this chair was small, I used a curved needle and strong thread on them too, instead of my klinch-it tool. Sometimes the old ways are best..

It looks great in a heavy cotton faille printed with a magnified red and white floral. Purchased at Treadle Yard Goods on Grand Ave., the jacket or dressmaker fabric was heavy enough for this application.


  1. A very beautiful chair. I'm getting ready to do my own set of Victorian chairs and this helps me know what to look for.

  2. We are trying to re-upholster a set of his and hers spoon back chairs that are totally gutted. All we have to go by is the frame. When you put the first layer of webbing on the bottom before you attached the springs how did you attach it to the front? ours curves down like yours does and we don't know if we're supposed to staple it right to the bottom of that or inside the front board. We need help!


From Start To Finish

Here's a post from a while back that had lost it's image links.  Someone was asking about Cogswell chairs just yesterday, so...