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Moller 57 Armchair, please help!

Section
Repair
- 21 Mar 2017 -
44 posts / 0 new
#1

I picked this up about a fortnight ago. It was listed as purely as 'Chair' and was £8, so this is possibly my second best score of all time.


Firstly I am really baffled as to whether it's rosewood or not. There's very dark figuring on the armrests and some really beautiful dark figuring on the backrest, but I know you can get pretty dark figuring in teak too. The end grain on the arm rests is the part that makes me think it is rosewood. It's fairly evenly spaced and not in any particularly pattern. And then the legs look entirely devoid of ANY figuring teak or otherwise. Doesn't help that the finish is well past it's best cracking and even quite opaque in some areas.


So the next point for me is, how do I deal with them?

-Is the finish shellac now? What's the easiest way to find out and remove?

-Is it okay to sand the wood down, or is that against the idea of conservation?

-What is the traditional finish on these chairs? Oil and wax? Shellac?

-How easy is it to reupholster one of these? Is papercord preferable?


Thank you very much for reading all that. I've attached some pictures to help.


Kyle


Moller 57 Armchair, please help!
Designer(s)
Country
United Kingdom
Functions
chairs & stools
Periods
1960 - 1969

Comments

- 21 Mar 2017

That is teak. the interesting grain on the front of the one armrest is the very edge of a knot; a small branch came out of the tree right there, displacing the grain around it.

Strips with piping hot, strong Murphy's oil soap, then re-oil with a teak oil.

I prefer cord on a Møller chair, but it is personal preference.

- 21 Mar 2017

I second Leif on almost all points.

Definitely teak.

I also prefer cord on my Moller chairs. If you prefer upholstery, though, it is not a difficult upholstery project. Probably the most difficult part in my mind would be replacing the foam. It is usually contact adhered to the beech, and somewhat sculpted to get good curves around the edges. I am a novice, and not clear on how best to scupt foam. If you are not an experienced upholster, it is worth your time to remove all of the staples, and try to get the fabric off intact. It will give you an exact template for your new piece of fabric.

The only original finish that has ever been used on Moller chairs is oil, as I understand it. If your finish is oil, then Leif's suggestion is certainly a way forward. There are others that are equally valid, and you can pretty easily find these online.

That being said, if you are seeing actual finish chipping off, and clouding, then I would be suspicious of whether a different finish was added at some point by a previous owner. It is extremely rare for oils to build a film thick enough to chip. If you are seeing finish chip off, then you probably have shellac, lacquer, or some sort of poly/varnish. There are specific things that would remove each of these, but Methylenechloride will remove all of them. Personally, I would not even mess with solvents if I had decided to strip, and just do it right with a proper stripper.

As far as sanding goes, it is not a restoration faux pas to sand, if you cannot tell that you ever sanded. In other words, you better know what you are doing, if you are going to take sand paper to wood in a serious restoration.

There are many people that prefer the patina, so not doing anything is certainly an option, as well.

- 21 Mar 2017

It's fine to convert this chair to paper cord if you prefer that look, but you will have to either find someone to do the work and do it correctly, or learn to do it yourself (a little daunting but not impossible). The materials will cost more than fabric.

It's not at all hard to redo the foam. It's only 1/2" thick and all you do is make the rough cut big enough to cover the sides plus another 1/2" to 1". Wrap it and mark a line where it covers the entire side and a little bit to the underside (the rails are curved so you have to eyeball this a bit). Cut through this line perpendicular from the top surface to the back, undercutting at about a 45" degree angle. This gives you a nicely thinned-out edge that leaves no ridge when the fabric is pulled tight to the underside of the seat frame.

The fabric around the leg posts has to be clipped just so to fold under smoothly. You want a nice continuous curve with no fold and no angles. This is easier with (most) fabrics and leather than with vinyl. But any good upholsterer will know how to do this.

The fabric should be finished on the underside by cutting very close to the staples and cover the cut edge with black tape. If you can find black cloth bookbinding tape, great---otherwise I think black gaffer tape is an acceptable substitute?

Get a good Danish wool fabric, of course. I think there are some excellent English wools that would be perfectly acceptable.

I've used Murphy's Oil soap to clean teak and I just prefer to go over the wood with oil and #0000 steel wool unless the piece is caked with grime. The oil plus the steel wool will break down any dirt and will remove enough old, oxidized oil to noticeably brighten the wood and make it glow again. If you aren't satisfied with the results, you can always more on to a stronger cleaner from there.

I don't see anything on your chair that would indicate that it's been lacquered or shellacked. Some Møller chairs have a harder oil finish on them, giving them more gloss than others. If there are chipped or alligatored areas that you didn't photograph, you can test for shellac with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. Shellac will dissolve almost immediately and will have a deep gold color on the swab. Use nail polish remover (acetone) to test for lacquer in the same way--it will not leave so much color on the swab but you can look at the test spot at an angle and see if there's any gloss left.

I disagree with Zephyr about not messing with solvents to remove lacquer or shellac and to go straight to methylene chloride. I used to do that many years ago but found that methylene chloride actually gummed up shellac and turned it into a sticky mess that was a pain to remove, whereas alcohol dissolved it the way hot water dissolves hardened sugar syrup. I don't think you get the same gummy reaction with lacquer but considering that you still have to do a final wash with a solvent of some sort after stripping with methylene chloride---unless you use a water wash type, which I try to avoid on better wood---well, it's quicker and less expensive to just go with a solvent if you can. If you are working with parts and can rig up a container for dipping, so much the better! Dip for 5 minutes, wipe down with clean solvent on paper towel, done.

- 21 Mar 2017

I don't like scrubbing with the solvents.

The last time I tried to remove shellac with DNA, it was as more of a mess than if I had just used methylene chloride, and 3 times the scrubbing and elbow grease. I prefer to just brush the MC on, let it sit for s bit, and then scrape it off. Sure you have to rub it down with a solvent afterward, but that is just a light scrub to remove the remaining MC that did not get scraped.

I am probably just not doing it right, but I go for the method that I know works and that I know how to do. I would love to swing by your shop Spanky and get some pointers, .... if only I were around your location.

- 21 Mar 2017

Thank you so much guys. The grain is on both of the arm rests - not just the knotted side - and the flash certainly didn't accentuate the contrast in tone on the backrest. Just trying to justify why I thought it may have been rosewood. I feel kind of silly now, but it is really hard to tell between unfigured rosewood and dark teak sometimes.

I also compared it to the solid rosewood I have that's been sunbleached and thought it could be that, I do have some really faded rosewood. Besides, the advice you guys have given will be helpful regardless of the the wood I am sure.

As to that advice - I am certain someone has put a finish on, it's not a horrible one, but there IS cracking, especially on the joints between the arms and beside the scratches and some really opaque parts all up and down the legs and the backrest. I also plucked up the courage to lift up the seat meaterial and I can see a line between the finished wood and the non finished. Incidentally, this was another factor that made me question the type of timber.

My concern is that it's a teak oil or something that's had lacquer in it, and it's been built up, not a shellac or the like.

So I will see if it comes off with some alcohol and if not I'll use some stripper I already have. Presumably I can forgo the Muphy's at that stage(presuming I can even pick Murphy's up in the UK).

Then I will do a really light and fine sanding and re-oil.

Is Teak oil advisable then? I feel like something more basic like boiled linseed would be better? Any opinions?

- 21 Mar 2017

Just to be clear, alcohol will remove shellac. Acetone will remove lacquer. If neither of these solvents work to remove the finish, then it's probably varnish or polyurethane and then you absolutely do need to use stripper.

Hold off on the sanding until you have the finish off and the entire surface clean of all residues and dust and bits of steel wool, etc. It may not need sanding at all.

Teak oil is just the name of products sold for oiling teak, it doesn't come from teak trees at all. Most of it is just linseed oil with a solvent to thin it out, and some brands have added varnish to give the finish more protective qualities. Leif can tell you about tung oil finishes.

- 21 Mar 2017

Just to be clear, alcohol will remove shellac. Acetone will remove lacquer. If neither of these solvents work to remove the finish, then it's probably varnish or polyurethane and then you absolutely do need to use stripper.

Hold off on the sanding until you have the finish off and the entire surface clean of all residues and dust and bits of steel wool, etc. It may not need sanding at all.

Teak oil is just the name of products sold for oiling teak, it doesn't come from teak trees at all. Most of it is just linseed oil with a solvent to thin it out, and some brands have added varnish to give the finish more protective qualities. Leif can tell you about tung oil finishes.

- 21 Mar 2017

I agree, teak vs. rosewood can be a tricky call sometimes, especially when deep down you want it to be rosewood (which is often how it goes for me).

Probably does not matter too much which oil you use. I typically don't use Linseed Oil, since the time necessary for it to set up is really long. Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) is definitely better than straight LO, but still not hing on my list for furniture application. If you are looking for a natural oil, I would recommend pure Tung Oil over BLO.

All this said, I am in the process of a complete restoration of 4 Moller 75's, and 2 Moller 55's. I have all the 75''s refinished, and two of them rewoven. I used Watco Teak Oil with great results. I started from bare wood, and applied probably 9 coats. 6 of the coats were with OOOO steel wool, and the remaining 3 with lint-free cloth. The coats were applied over a two week period, where I let each coat set up before applying the next. The final results are really pretty good. I usually try to use Starbright teak oil, but I have been out for a while now, and just haven't ordered more. The Watco was available at the local store.

I have also refinished a Moller 77 in teak, with Watco Danish Oil, and the results were also not too bad. Teak oil tends to have some reddish tone in it, which typically makes the teak more rich, in my opinion.

By the way, I also saw that chipping near the back rest joint. As Spanky said, diligent application of oil over 50+ years (especially oil products with have varnish blended in, which many do) can build a film. But, it is far more likely that someone added an actual film finish. Shellac is brittle, and clouds when exposed to moisture, so that would be my guess based on the info, but it certainly could be any of the other film finishes out there, since many act in similar ways.

Good luck, and I am sure you will get it done right.

- 22 Mar 2017

Thanks for the advice. I don't have a ton of experience so speaking to all of you is a really valuable resource.

I kind of knew I'd struggle to irreversibly screw it up, but I also know that these pieces aren't a dime a dozen and it's in everyone's best interests that I do it correctly. We don't need one less in the world.

And I also feel like a unanimous take on the type of timber was invaluable. I will probably have 3 extra hours a week in which I am not poring over every inch of the chair to try to identify which bits look like rosewood and which don't. You're very right about what I was hoping, but it's an amazing chair regardless of the wood - definitely my favourite Moller chair along with the 77 (which I now need to find a couple of!)

Once again thank you Zephyr, Spanky and Leif! I shall update when I make progress.

I will probably palm the upholstering off to a professional, I can deal with wood - but upholstery really isn't a strong point for me.

Kyle

- 22 Mar 2017

Zephyr, sorry, I missed your response to the shellac issue--sounds like the alcohol didn't have enough time to dissolve the shellac. Sometimes there are many coats of shellac and it just takes awhile to get through them. I lay a paper towel on the shellacked surface (or do a single layer wrap on legs, rungs, etc) and saturate that with alcohol, let sit. Rewet as needed until all the shellac is dissolved, then just wipe off.

I came up with this technique when I was stripping eight 6' high double hung windows, three rooms' worth of tall baseboards, nine or ten paneled doors & trim, and a staircase with bannister, balusters, and probably some other stuff that I can't remember because i didn't use a respirator (oh to be young and stupid again!) It had all been shellacked, shellacked again, and then shellacked a few more times over the years--probably because recoating seemed like the easiest way to make it look nice again every time it began to dull. The result was a very deeply alligatored texture that looked horrible. It took me 2 1/2 years to get it all done (working an average of 4-5 hours a week on it, since I had little kids and obvs could not do it when they were anywhere near.) Good times. But I did learn an awful lot about removing shellac.

And now i'm going to hold my breath and see if these photo links work...
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- 22 Mar 2017

Good morning spanky.

How were you able to post the above pictures?

With love and vodka,

Aunt Mark

- 22 Mar 2017

Nice work Spanky, that is one heck of a big job, and clearly, from your pictures, made a world of difference.

I am ADD to the extreme, so I just dont have the patience to go the solvent route, especially when the piece is something I am planning to sell. I agree that it works, and that it is cheaper materials-wise, and that all things considered is less chemically dangerous than methylene chloride. I will give it another try, using the soaking method, next time I come across a shellac refinish.

- 22 Mar 2017

Yeah, ultimately we all have to decide what the best way for ourselves how to do a given task. But it's always good to have a thorough grounding in the available methods. I do find that lacquer dissolves faster than shellac---maybe because it's usually not multiple coats? Most of the lacquered stuff I've dealt with just a a very thin coat.

Auntie---I got impatient and went to Photobucket and opened an account just for photos for DA (until the glitch is fixed, that is) and used the HTML option for posting them here. Just copy and paste it into the body of the message. Don't attempt to use the "Add a photo" function. Well, you can...but i don't think anything will happen.

When it works, toast yourself repeatedly and think of me.

- 22 Mar 2017

Suddenly makes me feel like I should be getting this chair done in one weekend!

I remember when I was young and my mum stripped her stairs and bannisters one summer. Took her every single day of the summer, and she's left them virtually unfinished since - no wonder. I think she just oiled them.

On topic, I just bought some Murphy's and came to ironic realisation that it cost me more than the chair itself.

So just to go over this again: I'll try alcohol first, then nail polish remover, if neither have a huge impact I can just assume it's a build up of resins within teak oil and go with Murphy's?

- 22 Mar 2017

Oh thank you dear. I shall look into photo bucket.

I will,

Aunt Mark

- 25 Mar 2017

Started slathering the thing with methylated spirits today! It's coming off, but it's a slow old job.

Quite proud I identified the finish correctly, thought it looked too shiny to be just oil/wax.

And the wood underneath is really beautiful. Taking the scuffed finish off the lower legs has revealed some figuring that wasn't visible, it's really handsome. So happy to be doing this! Looking forward to doing a light sanding afterwards.

But this part is an intensive process, hard freeing up old shellac on such a sculptural shape. Have some wire wool coming in tomorrow, but right now doing it with a rag alone and I am smearing it about more than removing it. It's taking a lot of alcohol to absorb it into the rag.

Anyway, I had to start it otherwise I'd just end up living with the cracked/scratched surface. And given how much I love it, it deserves better.

Kyle

- 26 Mar 2017

Good to hear Kyle.

I have had the same experiences using solvents to remove the finish. There clearly is a technique to it, one which I have not yet mastered. You might try a plastic scraper, as well. The steel wool (make sure you dont use anything more coarse than 000, 0000 is most preferable) will help, but also will gum up quickly, so you need to rinse it out in a small container of alcohol often.

When you go to the light sanding, start at 150 or higher. The 150 if you have deep scratches or divots to rectify, otherwise you can probably just start and end with 220 (you can go up to 320, but I would not go further than that because it can start to cause issues with oil absorption). If you are not extremely competent with a palm sander, I recommend just sanding by hand, You dont need a ton of pressure when you sand, and wont need a block since this chair has few flat surfaces. You can certainly use a sponge wrapped in sand paper if you have concerns about even-ness, but I usually just use my hand with good results. You can use a little more pressure on the flatter surfaces, but be gentle on all the edges. It can be noticeable afterward, if you 'round' edges that were previously more sharp. Once you are happy with the sanding, make sure to romove all of the dust, with mineral spirits soaked rag, or vaccuum, etc.

Like I said in an earlier post, in my experience, you will need to do many coats of oil. 1-3 probably will not do it on bare wood. If you want really good resutls, and even luster, and some actual protection, I would suggest something more like 10 coats, over a few weeks period. I finished some Henning Kjaernulf chairs a few months back (which I still need to post on the forum) in walnut, and those took 12 coats of Watco Teak Oil, and now 3 months on, they need another 1-2 coats. You need to oil a lot at first, but as the finish builds over the first year or two, you will need less and less to maintain the finish. If you decide to use a thicker oil like tung, I suggest thinning the first few coats with mineral spirits. You should really thin the first few coats of any oil, but especially so with tung oil. you wont need as many applications of tung oil, but you will need to wait longer periods between recoating, as it can dry slower than many oils (except linseed and BLO, those take much longer in my opinion). The teak oils and Watco products are typically linseed oil, mineral spirits, varnish, and a dryer of some sort, which makes them dry faster, but also offer a little more protection with the added varnish. Don't be scared away by the fact that there is varnish included, it is only a fraction of the composition, and still thinned heavily.

Anyways, let us know how it goes, and you should definitely show us some after pictures as well.

- 26 Mar 2017

The only trick to stripping shellac or lacquer is to make sure the solvent is on there long enough to dissolve the finish. Both alcohol and acetone evaporate very quickly and you will most likely need to rewet the surface more than once before the finish is finally dissolved. If you start wiping it off before it's completely dissolved, then yes--it will still be gummy and you will need to scrub with steel wool or scrape with a scraper.

If you wrap it first with a single layer of paper towel (I've tried multiple layers and it didn't seem to make any difference), the evaporation will slow down a bit and the solvent will stay in in contact longer with the finish, giving it a little more time to work. The wrap also makes rewetting easier; the solvent soaks into the paper towel instead of just running off the surface. (Both solvents have a very low surface tension too.)

It took me awhile to figure this all out. I spent a LOT of time scrubbing and scraping thick old shellac until I realized all I had to do was wait a little longer and rewet the surface a few times.

(The same thing applies to removing wallpaper paste. It has to be reconstituted completely before it can be wiped off easily. Steam will saturate it in seconds and then one swipe with a wet sponge and it's gone.)

Both these solvents, especially shellac, will dry the wood out, so only leave them on long enough to dissolve the finish. Even that will leech a lot of oil and moisture out of the wood (though I've never had a problem with it loosening the joints--it doesn't penetrate that deeply.) So yes, you will need more coats of oil than you would normally.

 photo Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 11.37.24 AM_zpsqi4kgqf4.png
This is a Wegner CH23 that i did awhile back--it had been varnished so i had to strip with methylene chloride but this is what alcohol does to wood, too. But I think all i had to do was 2 coats of oil so it wasn't nearly as dry as if I'd used alchohol.

And these are some Wegner Cowhorn chairs that I restored. They'd been shellacked several decades ago and the finish plus whatever products had been used over the years on them had darkened them to the point of nearly obscuring the grain! I don't have pics of the stripped wood but it was like the above. I put two coats of oil on and they still looked very unevenly dry-ish, so I used a different brand of oil that had added varnish. That did the trick. I can't remember if it was one coat or two with that oil--maybe two but definitely not three.

 photo Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 11.28.34 AM_zpsr98ucdh4.png
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- 26 Mar 2017

Yeah, I was concerned about the alcohol getting in the joints, could it possibly weaken any glue in there?

I also have to admit at one stage I tried diluting the spirits with scalding water, and it KIND of worked. Admittedly it left the chair a state afterwards,it looked like I smeared chalk all over it. But another wipe around with pure alcohol sorted that out and left a lot of shellac on my rag.

But it sounds like your way might be best to finish it.

- 27 Mar 2017

I've never had a problem with alcohol loosening up glue! I wouldn't worry about it.

Water will leave white marks on a shellac finish so that's probably what happened when you added hot water to the alcohol. Sounds like a kind of dicey thing to do with a flammable liquid but I dunno...I never took chemistry, I just do a lot of googling.

- 28 Mar 2017

Makes sense, that must be why you get white rings from hot mugs! I think by the time it's diluted it's quite a bit less dangerous, the vapor is more dangerous but not the kind of quantity you'd get from <100ml.

I've been sanding this evening, I'm still baffled guys; did they do them in walnut back then? I don't know half as much about walnut, but it doesn't look like teak at all. I'm starting to think it's walnut. It just doesn't have that gradient of pores in the end grain that I associate with teak - and usually the figuring in teak is fades in for each ring.

I'll take some photos before I clean it all up so you can see what it looks like sanded! I went crazy and spent a couple of hours sanding P2000 grit on it and it feels like a dream, can't wait to oil it - so dry from the alcohol.

- 29 Mar 2017

I really think those look like teak, based on the pictures. Teak has a really wide variation in color from honey to redish brown, and even wider variation in grain. All this gets even more difficult when you consider that the wood has aged 20-70 years. Earlier on, I definitely had trouble telling teak from walnut, and still have to double take at times to be sure. Probably the most common wood mis-attribution that I see, is people claiming walnut as teak.

Ok, so to your question, yes J L Møllers Møbelfabrik A/S, is still in business today, in Højbjerg, Denmark. A store in my neighborhood, still sells the Model 57 at their store. The 57 they have on the showroom floor is teak, but they also offer it in walnut, and soaped oak, I believe. I think you can get these from design within reach in walnut, as well. This is relatively new in their offering, and does not extend back further than the 1990s, I believe (if not even more recently). so, it is definitely possible that it is walnut, but would probably not show too much patina. Are you able to see the label on the inside of the apron? This would certainly help understand if your chair was made prior to the use of walnut by J L Møller.

- 29 Mar 2017

I saw a set of Møller chairs once that were walnut. They had seats woven of flat leather strips. They were stunning. I was picking up a set of rosewood Møllers in upstate NY and the dealer showed me the walnut chairs while I was there. They were stunning. I wish I'd taken some photos.

- 29 Mar 2017

Zephyr mentioned above and a while back that the only original finish on Møller chairs was oil. This is not actually correct, and it is not actually correct with a lot of danish furniture. Very much of it has a very thin coat of sprayed on acid-cured lacquer. The later stuff, like from the 1970s, tended to get a much thicker coat of lacquer. The early stuff has a coat so thin it is barely there.

I was just working on a mid 1960s era Møller side chair that matches the 57 (can't remember the model number), and I noticed the lacquer again. When you oil a place where the original thin lacquer has been scraped off, the wood darkens a bit more. It is somewhat subtle, but there.

- 29 Mar 2017

I am definitely seeing it becoming darker than the finish that it had on it, even when I rub alcohol on it. I know it wasn't clear in the pictures, but the finish was really cloudy - it was shiny and reflective still, but very cloudy. I think I will be using boiled linseed oil and giving it some weeks to settle and maybe 3 or 4 coats. I think I'll wax it to finish.

Given how ridiculously smooth the wood already is, I think oiling/waxing it will be sufficient for the finish I want, I definitely don't want a shiny look, but if that doesn't work out I'll wash the wax off and shellac it. I am kind of surprised someone had shellacked it actually, it's not ideal for a chair I thought but it was a really nice sheen on it. I definitely don't wanna go near lacquer.

Sorry about the delay on pics, I work and I'm a student part time so this is 3rd in line of things I fill my life up with - so I think I'll be able to update a little more at the weekend now.

And I think the side chairs are 77s, Leif! I will buy them if you want to sell them for £8 a chair too :P

- 30 Mar 2017

Thanks for the correction Leif, and Kyle, sorry for the misinformation. I never noticed any lacquer, but I also try to find the chairs with the worst finish, as they are typically cheaper and more satisfying to refinish, and therefore it is probably already worn off by the time I get them.

Kyle, your planned finish is certainly valid, but in my experience will require a fair amount of upkeep if you are actually using the chair. As long as you are OK with the upkeep it should be a beautiful finish.

No worries on the photos. Take your time, I am pretty sure no one is in a rush here.

- 05 Apr 2017

Very nice, for being teak I agree it has a very particular grain!

- 07 Apr 2017

It's a weird old grain that's for sure!

Having had 4 coats on it now, I am feeling that I want to do more than just wax it. Thinking shellac again, but I am not sure.

- 08 Apr 2017

Kyle,

If you plan to shellac, you are going to want to wait a while. BLO requires exposure to the air for the polymerization reaction to occur, and it is not a rapid reaction. I have heard different numbers for cure time, but most average in the weeks to months for a full cure. This is one of the reasons most store bought oil blends have some sort of drying agent mixed in (along with the boiled linseed, mineral spirits and varnish).

Since shellac is a sealer, it will seal the oil off from the oxygen, and prevent any further curing. Clearly this is not a recipe for good results. You might not see issue right away, but months or years down the road the finish will likely fail.

- 13 Apr 2017

Sounds good, I tried another coat yesterday and found some sticky spots I missed when wiping down where the armrests join the back :(

But long story short I sorted that issue, and I think I need to start spacing the application out by a month, not a week. I don't know when you hit saturation point, but it feels like I am there at the moment.

Used a different camera phone to avoid the Xperia Z3C 'soft skin' filter that has been dogging my other pictures.

http://imgur.com/a/dD7FS

- 16 Aug 2017

This has been comfortably sat in my room for months now, and I am bored of the tired looking upholstery. I got a quote for a weaver to cord it, but also asked him about the flat cord that I have seen classically on 57 and 77 chairs by JLM. He said that this flat cord doesn't exist anymore, the last time he used it was 20 years ago.

I am sure he is correct, but on the off chance, does anyone know of a company still producing it?

Additionally would this look okay in the more traditional paper cord?

- 16 Aug 2017

not sure about the flat cord, that would be a question for Spanky, but in my experience traditional Danish Cord looks fine on the Møller 77's. All 5 of mine are in traditional cord, and look great. In fact, the flat cord seems to be the exception, and was used far less than traditional. I have actually never seen the flat in-person, after seeing probably 3 dozen 57s and 77s, in rosewood, teak, and walnut over the years.

In any case, I agree with you, Danish cord looks better than fabric. Just my opinion of course, but other than maybe leather, Møller chairs just look better corded.

With as much refinishing that you are doing lately, I am surprised that you don't want to learn to cord them yourself? It is difficult and tedious at first, but gets better as you go and beats paying a couple hundred USD for someone else to do it.

- 16 Aug 2017

I don't know no flat cord. Sorry!

I second Leif's suggestion that you look into learning to weave them yourself. Someone else on this board, can't remember who now, posted about considering doing this and was wondering whether to buy a kit for doing it, I think--or was it just too hard to do. That turned into a really great ongoing discussion about weaving Danish cord that grew into three 100+posts threads. Beginners were churning out seats by the set! It was a very exciting time! (really, there was some impressive stuff going on.)

If you start out knowing a few tricks (see aforementioned threads), it's much easier. I think the cord is more expensive in the UK but you will still save $$$, or I guess £££, if you do them yourself.

- 16 Aug 2017

I might have been the one that started that conversation, as I learned to weave a a couple years ago, thanks to the direction I received on this forum, mainly from Spanky and her blog. Thanks again by the way. I started with a yugo folding chair, which still is not entirely complete, and went on to various dinning chairs. It is not at all difficult once you have it down, just time consuming.

Check out this site, and somewhere in there is a discussion of weaving (it an awesome site, the blogger is a kick-ass re-finisher): http://www.modernchairrestoration.com

This is where to start with the actual weaving: http://www.thomaspenrose.com/diy_cord06.htm

and as Spanky said, search this site, there are numerous threads on the topic.

- 16 Aug 2017

Thanks guys

I feel horrible passing up the opportunity to give it a go myself.

I have done really well with my DIY approach so far, there's so many great sources of information on the internet, combined with finding less important pieces to practice on initially and doing eveything to the (best advised) letter. Everything I've put my hand to has come out just as I had hoped.

But something about hammering nails into the chair feels like it's asking for trouble and then even more intimidating is handling textiles. I was fine at woodwork in school, but textiles are so fiddly and I don't feel anywhere near as confident in them.

Maybe I need to buy a chair to reweave first to test it and then I could think about it. But in fairness it is only £150 he's quoting.

And importantly, I don't know if it's flat paper cord necessarily. I need to find some pictures. It almost looks like shoe laces from the photos, but I've never seen it in person. I like the look of it, because it can go really flush against the form of the chair, but I don't know if it also requires padding.

- 16 Aug 2017

Are you talking about the flat wool tape, maybe? That is no longer made. There was another product that was flat and i think about 1/4" wide or so, maybe narrower, and each strand had 5 lengthwise ridges in it. It looked like 5 tiny diameter cords bonded together. I think it was molded paper but I'm not sure.

Zephyr, it was tchp who was thinking about getting a kit but then just got some cord and plunged in. His first chair looks perfect. Then he did the rest of his set and they all looked perfect, too.

http://www.designaddict.com/forum/Repair/Replacing-Cord-Danish-Side-Chairs

(that's the first thread in the series; the others are linked at the end of the thread.)

For people new to the whole thing---it's important to each of the three threads all the way through! Some of the advice given (like from me!) is now dated. Sources change, prices certainly change, and I know that my methods and tricks have evolved quite a bit in the 8 years since that conversation started. I'm sure others' have too.

- 16 Aug 2017

Hammering L-nails into the frame is covered, too. It's nothing to worry about. The nail placement is easy to calculate, then you just measure, mark, pre-drill, and tap each nail in.

- 16 Aug 2017

I found and attached some pictures and it almost certainly is flat wool!

How disappointing it's not made anymore. I was all prepared to believe the corder, but I thought it seemed a bit far fetched that a presumably multi-functional product like that would be discontinued en masse. So I started to consider he might just be saying that to avoid sourcing some.

Between my course, work and a social life I don't know how I manage to get anything done, but I always do, so I can't use time as an excuse.

Oh lord, you guys! I guess I am going to do it myself then, huh? Better get reading...

- 17 Aug 2017

Yes, that's the wool tape. It came in a bunch of beautiful colors! Someone here posted an old magazine ad showing a group of the same model chair, each one with a different color tape.

I don't think it held up to wear as well as the paper cord does, if that's any consolation.

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