Old Hickory Chair Repair

A client brought us an Old Hickory chair with a woven seat and back.  The chair started as a rocker but the rockers had been removed at some point.  The antiques dealer that sold her the chair said it would be easy to turn this rocker into a regular chair.  “Just add some wood to the legs” he said.  (If it was so easy, why didn’t HE do it!)


She brought the chair to us along with an intact Old Hickory chair to use as a sample for height and angle of the seat.  Pete got right to work patching maple blocks on the legs that had been shortened in the factory to make the chair a rocker.  In fact, Pete was so fast, we didn’t get a true “before” picture of the chair.


After the glue cured, we had the chair at the approximate height.  Pete then planed, rasped and sanded the wooden blocks to approximate the contour of the wood above. Then he leveled the legs and cut them to the proper height.  When the wood was properly shaped, Pete used colored shellac and artist’s pigment to faux finish the wood to blend the new work with the old chair finish.


Repaired old Hickory chair leg. We left the “flats” on the inside of the legs as a cue to a collector that the chair was once a rocker.

Shown below is the converted rocking chair and the original Old Hickory arm chair.  Can you tell which one is the repaired chair?


The repaired chair is on the right.