Thursday, April 4, 2013

Finally finished the Thonet chairs but with some changes and another Pearsall redo or two!

If anyone has had the fun of trying to take a flat piece of plywood conform to a shape they'd like, you may appreciate this post. Leave a piece of plywood out in the weather and it will bow out of shape no problem. Attempting to make a piece of thin plywood conform to your desired shape, not so simple!

I needed the plywood inside the backs to reupholster these chair backs as they didn't come with the chairs. No problem! I would just cut some new pieces and flex them into shape...Well maybe not so easy...
After wetting just one side of the thin plywood and trying to pin down to the backs with some short screws and the original fasteners it turned out to be less than successful. The plywood was somewhat compliant, but no matter how many attempts I made I couldn't get the fabric around the inside curve around the hand hole. Status: Fail!
Back to the big box and found some ply underlayment that was just a bit thinner. Recut and soaked the entire pieces for a few hour sans the cutout for the hand hold. Same regiment for pinning it down but let it dry for 3 days before releasing these from their bondage. Much better results! And although not original to the pieces, they turned out pretty well!

Rehabbing vintage MCM furniture is always a constant learning curve and the frustration is just part of the fun! I would have preferred to put these back into original condition with the hand holes and upholstery just as originally intended but with my chosen fabric, this was just not going to happen! Here's how the set looks in the store and ready for a new owner! I think they can probably live with it in it's current condition!

I recently refinished the left over pieces of Pearsall I had come in and they turned out great. Much better in the original walnut frames than the black they had come to me in.
I will post some before and after soon, but the cocktail table found a new home the day after I refinished and I just put the 916-CC captains chair on the floor today and it may not be around too long either!
Thanks for taking the time to take a look! You are more than welcome to follow along on a regular basis and feel free to like us on our Facebook!/pages/A-Modern-Line/148433368524352 page for new arrivals into our store. Yes, you can friend us as well!


  1. Wow wow wow! They look amazing!!

    1. Thanks for the compliment! I'm always biting off more than I can chew, but you don't learn anything sitting on your hands. I'd rather unknowningly under quote a project and learn from the experience than over quote and not have the chance to give it a shot! I bought these so it was my problem rather than a redo for someone else...Best way to try out a new adventure!

  2. Funny, I posted on this back in May and now I can really use the info. I found a Thonet chair with the front facing curved piece to the backrest missing. Hmmmm...."How am I going to replace that", I thought. Now I'll try what you suggested. Thanks!

    1. Hey Rhan, Best of luck with your project. I initially thought this would be a simple redo but even though I managed to get the first pieces of ply to somewhat conform, I was confounded by trying to work the fabric I was using around the compound curve to keep the hand hole open and finally gave up. These were originally covered in vinyl and I've since found a local source for some pliable vinyl material so next time a may try again. Hope the info on the last post helped!