Grimy Dining Chairs

Yesterday I spent a little time in the morning cleaning up my dining room chairs.

I have a set of six Jens Risom chairs that I bought on Ebay about eight years ago. If I recall correctly, I think I paid between $50 to $75 per chair. I got such a good deal because the chairs had some water damage at the feet and had no Knoll tags on them.

This design dates from the early forties, when Risom was the sole designer for Hans Knoll -who would later marry Florence and the company would be know as H.G. Knoll Associates. Risom was newly arrived from Denmark and had partnered with Knoll to create simple classic modern furniture that was essentially non-existent in the american market. The chair was known as the '600 Series'. The earliest versions were made from cherry and used surplus parachute webbing on the seat to conserve materials due to the war effort. The webbing version is still produced by Knoll today. Some chairs had seating made with canvas and "non-essential leather" as would have been the case with the version I have. 

This chair is exactly like mine. It is made from maple rather than cherry with some figure in the wood. This one is from the Cooper Hewitt collection and dated circa 1952. My guess is that my chairs date from about this same time or perhaps a little later but not much.

Ok, so wasn't this post about cleaning said chairs up? I got a bit distracted there. I noticed recently that the backs of most of my chairs were feeling a little tacky from being pushed around with grimy hands. You could even see it.

I like this stuff for cleaning. It cleans very well but doesn't remove the finish, which can sometimes happen with cleaners when a finish is a bit old and degraded. 

Wipe on with a soft cloth, changing to a clean spot on cloth often. I did all six chairs and then buffed with a new clean dry cloth.

I also took a little time to clean up the seats which I covered in cow hide when I got them (I think they had vinyl when I bought them). If you like the look, cowhide is the best for durability in an eating and drinking situation. These things are bullet proof and only get better with age. I think this is candle wax or old candy. 

 It just scrapes right off.

 Ta-da. Love it.

The hair has rubbed off in certain places on the chairs that have gotten the most use. I like it, they have a nice patina. I would so recommend using this for anyone who likes unfussy decor or who has little kids (or big) and doesn't want to ever worry about letting kids be kids.



Alana said...

Gorgeous chairs. Enjoyed the history lesson, the cleaning lesson and the upholstery lesson!

caitlin said...

Thanks Alana :)

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