Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chair Reconstruction

Today I painted for a few hours, between other work on my day job, but nothing came of it. I had to paint over every bit of it. It was fun anyway.

But I also tackled another project that had better results. Youngest loves to work with me when we take things apart, and today was different than the usual appliance or plumbing job. Today it was Dearest's chair at our kitchen table. Virtually every joint was loose except the back. So we removed the seat (four screws) and then I gently tapped the frame into pieces. The first photo shows them all apart, and the first three back together with glue and home-made clamping.

Here is the clamp concept up close. Now before Alex can protest that he has every clamp type known to man, and a few more besides, in his basement workshop, and all I needed to do was walk next door to borrow the right tool for the job, I have to confess something. I positively delight in cooking up my own methods, tools, and processes when I make or repair things. I adore jury rigging. I once rebuilt a car muffler with steel Hi-C cans, tomato sauce cans, and coat hangers. It lasted over a year. I have a PC I rebuilt where the mother board was not a correct fit, and I handled the adjustment with a lego, which was the perfect height, had pegs in the right place to prevent movement, and was non-conductive (plastic). So using gardening wire and twisting it, using kid's building blocks on each side, until the glue began to seep back out of the joints, suited my love of primitive tools based on simple principles. You can also see in this photo Youngest's idea to label the four corner braces before we took them off. That was smart.

When we completed the three courses of gluing, the chair didn't so much as creak. Much better than the wobbly thing we started with. All the chairs around our table are mismatched - I've recovered the seats (all different) several times, cutting new foam for them, as well. Oldest and Youngest actually share an old piano bench I began to refinish (all the old finish is off... I've just taken a 20 year pause). Oldest started using it at the table many years ago, and he hates to change things, so when we needed to add another person to the table (Youngest) we just added doubled occupancy of the bench rather than replace the bench with two chairs.

I also like to reweb lawn chairs. I've even darned a few socks in my day (a favorite pair of argyles - back in the very early 80's - I haven't worn argyles in over twenty years). I like to make something good last longer.


linda said...

wow steve, this is so impressive...the thing that MOST impressed me was the labels so I guess I am most impressed with your son, lol......very nice job and interesting the way you do things your own way with legos and string and take 20 year breaks in your honey do projects! sounds like somebody else I know! ;) maybe if you would break down and use alex's tools once in awhile?

also interesting how you find things to blog about...I am having a bit of a problem coming up with things but you never do...impressive that! maybe I just need a few years to get into the swing of keeping a blog.....

Alex said...

Your turn to make me ROFL. I confess, the first thought I had when i saw the twine and blocks was that it wasn't raining that hard outside, you could have walked over and knocked on my door. However, I will whole-heartedly agree with you on the satisfaction that comes from "making it work" with whatever materials are handy.

My second thought was congratulatory on having the foresight to label the parts. Youngest gets the "Smartest Move" award.

What a wonderful way to pass the time on a day like this.

Steve Emery said...

Linda - yes, Youngest thinks like an engineer, and he thinks ahead. And I do seem to have these really long lists... As for blogging, it adds this odd layer over the rest of your life when you see everything in front of you and think either, "This would make a great photo/painting," or "This would make a great blog post," or both, and the recorder clicks on in the back of your head.

Alex - While I was taking the first of these photos for the blog post I was thinking, grinning wickedly, that you would see them and think of your clamps... And Youngest definitely gets the "Smartest Move" award - and considering how much time he spends at your house, I guess you get some percentage of the credit on that, too. He's bound to have seen thinking like that over there as much or more than over here.