Note: Please be patient with me it seems like I have been sending out a lot of posts lately, most of them on up dating my static pages. This is a real post. In the coming weeks I am planning on updating and upgrading the blog: Heritage Basket Studio, that is separate but linked to this original blog, which to be used to advertise finished baskets that are available in my studio. Something I have waited 2 full years to do, when I started it in 2011.
So many people talk of “Living Green” in so many ways, each person in his/her own way. While this can mean so many different things to so many different people. When it comes to furniture in my case “CHAIRS” this is one item most often overlooked.
Over the years. I have been told by so many auctioneers that they have burned literally hundreds of hardwood chairs from all periods, simply due to the fact that they did not have a chair caner / seat weaver to refer people to to have new seats put into them.
Can you imagine how distressing it is to hear when an auctioneer says that he burned a whole set of mahogany ball and claw footed dining room chairs, just because there was not chair caner. It is like the auctioneer told me when we met, people do not realize this one set was set out for auction several times, the bid was as low as $1.00 per chair, and was a set of six side chairs and two captains chairs, with the seats and backs replaced the chairs would have went for several thousand dollars. It saddens me to think that someone could have had a set of chairs for $8.00, which were hand crafted now just a pile of ashes.
I will not hide the fact that the price to put hand caning in all 8 chairs would have been considerable, however if you were to buy them new from a high end furniture retailer these chairs would have cost much more. A high quality hand caned seat will last 40+ years depending on care.
So many auction houses have entire sets of solid oak kitchen chairs that are never bought because the seats need to have splint bottoms or in the case of nicer dining room chairs rush bottoms or shaker tape bottoms put in. I personally have bought several in years past, one being a set of 8 golden oak matching kitchen chairs for 50 cents each. The worrisome thing to me is how many high quality old chairs are destroyed in this “GREEN AGE”, when I hear, No Sir I do not need a receipt, save a tree! That is fine and good every little bit helps, however not needing a receipt then going out and buying a new table and chairs is hardly saving a tree. When in fact there is beautiful furniture all around us in flea markets, junk shops and auction houses screaming to be purchased as fraction of the price of new., and you have saved several trees just by recycling.
Now this is not to say all old chairs and tables are good chairs and tables either, I have seen some pretty well abused and distressed pieces over the years that should and could make some pretty good fire wood. However that being said you would be surprised at how many great chairs and tables I have seen cleaned up from barns, attics, homes and sheds that were at least kept dry, they may need some moisture put back into them, and some TLC, but were turned into some great looking pieces.
Just a thought and some encouragement to you out there, to just ask even at auction houses about the back room where the chairs that never have sold are kept I am certain you will be simply amazed at what you see and find. Last year another auctioneer commented about destroying a room full of saved chairs. He said we cannot bare to do it but we must.