Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Antique Canopy

There just might be a blogger mandate that one must post a "before" photo! These might give you a idea of our starting point. Thus fulfilling said edict!

Here is the finished canopy. It was love at first sight with this unique antique.

The photo below is the bottom of the seat cushion. The canopy was built from 5 sections; Back, Sides (2), Cushion and Base.  The surface is a mirror grain Walnut veneer over centuries old hard wood. It is very heavy!

The heavy cotton twill was quite faded. As the TV ads say: But wait ... there's more!

The red twill came off to reveal another layer of upholstery a heavy weight blue and white linen. Once both layers of fabric were removed we discovered a series of tack/nail holes from even earlier covers. Hand tied coiled springs boxed with heavy webbing was sturdy all original and in great condition.

This interior frame is solid oak and the small rectangular pieces hold this section onto the base unit.

Below is a slightly different angle of the same side of the bottom cushion. Yes, those are square headed nails along with several other sizes and types of nails and tacks

 The canopy was disassembled and the next step was to thoroughly clean the wood. I used an age-old and universal recipe; boiled linseed oil and turpentine.

The first layer of dirt came off easily using a light touch and super-fine stainless steel.
The next photo shows just how much a little bit of cleaning accomplished. Another layer of "Old Age" came off quickly with a second pass with the same solution and a soft cloth.

Here you can see the structure of the side pieces. Layers of horse-hair filling and perhaps various other mammals were held in place by the stiff side pieces. I tried to puzzle out what the content might be with no luck - it was rigid and covered with hand spun linen or flax. The filling had sagged badly and we decided to make a fresh start.

The bottom cushion was covered with a section of batting then covered with fresh linen and stapled in place.

The bottom cushion was set onto the base to confirm that not too much padding had been added to the piece.  The sides are first attached to the base unit and the bottom cushion sits snugly between them The back section is attached separately and held in place with long posts that fit into slots.

Good fit! Now we take it apart once more to cover the linen with upholstery fabric.

The story of our upholstery fabric is an odd one, here is the short version.

Sometime in the 90's (!!) Rather than buy new furniture we decided to have it all reupholstered. Fast forward to 2010 when those same yards and yards of 4 different upholstery fabrics, having never made their way onto any of the original furniture pieces, were folded and stuffed into luggage to be used in Montegut!

The side pieces were re-stuffed with over sized down pillows in new cases and covered in linen prior to the upholstery fabric. Small lengths of foam were added to keep the down from shifting.

Here is the bottom cushion nearly finished. The chair in the background is another project... still a work in progress.

Next we were ready to move on to the back and side cushions. All three pieces, back and sides had cording to finish the visible edges.

Matching stripes proved to be only one of the challenges with this project! This photo shows how nicely those stripes all came together... whew!

And if you have thanks for reading!

Au revoir

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