Shaker Chair Repaired

Our recent post on the repair of an Old Hickory rocker reminded me of the Shaker rocker we repaired a while back.  The rocker is a modern reproduction of an Enfield Massachusetts Shaker rocker that had been mistreated. We guess that the rocker was broken at some point and someone’s fix was to make the rocker into a chair.  However, once the legs were sawn off to make a level seating surface, the chair was extremely low to the ground.  Our client bought the chair at an antique shop and brought it to us for restoration.


Enfield Reproduction rocker before

Our client feared that if we restored it as a rocker it might be too fragile, so he asked us to turn the rocker into a chair.  We worked with local wood turner Matt Borders to create stubs with the proper taper on the ends, and then we fitted the new stubs onto the wounded chair.


The stubs were carefully fitted to each leg and attached using dowels and hide glue.  The hide glue will give restorers a chance to reverse our work and to do repairs to the chair in the future.  Here is a leg that is ready to be colored:


And here is the chair with the new wood colored to match the existing finish. Note, we did not refinish the entire chair, we only finished the new wood we added.


Finally here’s the damaged rocker, all repairs and finishing complete, ready to go home as an Enfield Shaker chair.  If you know where to the look for the repairs, you can see them.  But the goal of this work is that a new observer of the chair will look at it and say, “Nice chair!”


Update 10/30/13 – Bill and Ana, the owners of this shaker chair, sent this feedback on our blog post:

Ana and I are pleased and proud to see our Enfield-style chair featured on your blog.  I must, however, protest just a little.  As I remember, the chair’s legs had been sawn/broken off just about as badly as one could imagine, and in my opinion, you and Pete worked with far more skill and patience that your blog suggests.  Or to put it another way, while I appreciate your professional humbleness, to quote Walter Brennan, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.

Thanks Bill for your kind feedback!  I hope this update sets the record straight!