Restoring Antique Leather Chairs

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J. Clarke wrote:

The chairs are not really all that old or rare, you can pick up comparable sets of four- six in excellent for under $500.00 at auction.
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J. Clarke wrote:

The chairs are not really all that old or rare, you can pick up comparable sets of four- six in excellent shape for under $500.00 at auction.
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How old are they, if they are not 100yrs old, like he said?
--
Jim in NC



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Morgans wrote:

Like I said earlier, "Chairs like these tend to be 1880 to Edwardian period pieces, but I've seen Spanish revival examples date into the 1930's" . Being 100 years old doesn't mean something is rare or valuable, only old.
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Wreck only
On Wed, 15 Sep 2010 17:50:25 -0600, Dave Balderstone

Right. He can buy the leather, learn leather working/tooling/carving, and do it himself. Much, much cheaper. May take awhile, though.
-- Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary. -- Peter Minard
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Student wrote: ...

Well, I'd surely think a minute inspection of the cracking would reveal clues of sufficient indication to tell whether it was/is actually leather or not...

One gets what one pays (or chooses not to pay) for is generally good thing to remember.

...
Then, otoh, how much are you willing to risk that it may cause a complete failure by creating a mismatched stress point that doesn't give compared to the old material surrounding it?
I've paid essentially no attention to this thread, but the above caught my eye and couldn't let it go...
If this piece has any value at all, it would be desecration at about its worst possible incarnation to do such butchery to it.
--
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For stability, hot glue should secure a tear. Place a good upholstery grade cloth under the tear, using a probe (regulator, in the upholstery business) to smoothen it out. Carefully insert hot glue. Do a practice application on some other item, as the hot glue can get stringy or mis-applied if you're not familiar with using it in tight places. Hot glue holds pretty well, as hot glue is often used for gimp trim and a few other places on furniture.
Sonny
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Addendum: If you would like, I can possibly setup a hot glue tutorial, via still pics, and email them to you, showing how I would proceed with a tear repair. I've never done a leather tear repair, but if all you want is to stabilize the tear(s), I would think the hot glue would work to some extent.
Sonny
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wrote:

What, you don't like Bondo, Sonny? Or duct tape?
-- Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary. -- Peter Minard
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wrote:

LOL. Didn't think of bondo and it's hard to get a decent basket weave with duct tape.
Sonny
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In wrote:

hot glue isn't going to work on leather
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Which glue would you recommend? Have you tried "Vinyl & Leather Mender"? Is there a contact cement you'd recommend - a leather cement?
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On Thu, 16 Sep 2010 12:04:10 -0700 (PDT), Student

If you're wanting to continue using these chairs, nothing will work to strengthen leather much. The leather has lost its resiliency and cracked, ruining its strength forever. You might get by with a thick muslin or cordura backing, upholstered under the leather. It could keep the leather from taking the weight.
Saddle soap and mink oil will help with the leather's flexibility and life, but it's already dead. RIP. Glue it before cleaning and oiling, though.
http://www.supergluecorp.com/choosingaproduct.html shows their Future Glue as the one for leather to fabric. I've never used a special leather glue but Duco cement worked for a belt which was separating a few decades ago. I think shoe goo might work, too, but lots of pressure (enough to damage the tooling) might be necessary for a good bond with any glue. G'luck.
-- "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." --Edward Abbey
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wrote:

om,
Thanks! By "upholstered under the leather..." do you mean gluing both sides of the crack to the muslin backing?
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On Thu, 16 Sep 2010 13:30:19 -0700 (PDT), Student

No, just removing the leather, trying to glue it together, upholstering the leather area of the chair with cordura, then reinstalling the leather over that. It would give the cracked leather shell a structural strength it will never reattain.
But I suggest you look into carving a new seat yourself. Leather tooling is fun once you learn how easily the proper moisture content is for shaping!
-- "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." --Edward Abbey
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Student wrote:

The Glue of choice for leather is, and has been for over 100 years, "Barge" cement. Used by Shoe repair and Shoe makers the world over. Also used to glue together leather belts used to drive machinery. It was formulated for that trade. It comes in 2 oz tubes, quarts and gallons. Every shoe repair shop has it. I buy it in the 2 oz tubes but if you have a shoe repair shop near you, perhaps they would just give you some.
Jack
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On 9/16/2010 2:28 PM godsword spake thus:

Agree--Barge Cement is the stuff to use for leather goods.
--
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