Jim Norman, Artist

Jim Norman Fine Furniture Repair
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Samples of some of the furniture that I have brought back to life.

A beautiful designer chair, after an encounter with a moving company....

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Here's an overview of the damage.

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As you can see, one of the legs was completely broken off...

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And that wasn't the only damage...

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But wait, there's more....

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Even the back of this chair was broken in two places!

Many people would say this chair could not be salvaged. But just wait...

Here it is, "in surgery".....

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And the picture below shows how the pile of splinters you have already seen came out of my workshop.

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Here's a school chair, rescued from a dumpster....

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The first step was to disassemble the chair, which was not difficult because all the joints were loose anyway.

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Next, examining the chair for other damage, I discovered that one of the legs had a longitudinal split that had to be stabilized before restoration could proceed.
        
         
     
           
             
            
          
         
          
          
          
         
         
          
   

 

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Here's the chair, back on its feet again with all joints cleaned out and reglued....

                     

         

         

           

         

                  

       

 

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...And here it is, refinished and ready for many more years of service.

               

             

      

         

       

             

           

 

A pair of Gustav Stickley woven rush chair seats, restored after nearly a century of use...

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This is how these historically significant chair seats arrived at my shop.

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After removing all the old rush, I discovered that the glue in the frame joints had deteriorated, leaving the seat frame loose. The first step was to disassemble the frame, making sure to label all the joints to preserve the proper geometry in reassembling.

         

         

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Once the frame was reassembled and glued (using hide glue, as in the original), it was time to start reweaving the fibre rush, which was chosen carefully to match the diameter and the twist of the original material.
      
      
    
      

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The weaving on this seat is finished, but the job is not yet done. These seats have to look exactly like they did when they left the Stickley studio in the early 1900s.

        

        

 

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So I made a sample weaving, applied a selection of different finishes, and consulted with the owner of the chairs before settling on an amber-tinted shellac.

   

     

      

 

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The result was well worth the effort! The owner was happy, and so was I.

Next: A dining room chair with a cane seat...

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Natural cane is a wonderful material for chair seats and other home furnishings. But it does not last forever. Even before a normally active child puts his foot through it, as was the case here, it does grow brittle with the passage of time. Also, if the cane is stained and finished to other than a natural color, the finish will wear off over time.

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Fortunately, however, cane can be economically replaced, restoring the chair to its rightful place at the dining room table. So, if one chair in a set of six or eight has suffered the fate of this one, there's really no need to start shopping for a whole new dining room set!

A pair of French country chairs, in a family for generations....

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They both came to me with their rush seats in tatters. After removing the old rush, I reglued all joints to make the chair frames solid once again...

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And here they are, with newly woven rush seats and ready for several more generations.