The words “You’ve got a Kaare Klint” were music to my ears. At the time I was sitting doing some research into a chair for which I had been asked to replace some leather straps. The answer just popped up.
With all repairs I do, I like to have an understanding of the item I am working on. There are two reasons for this, pure interest, and secondly to ensure that what I am doing is going to be as sympathetic to the original, and doesn’t detract from what may be a design classic.
My client walked into my studio with a shopping bag full of pieces of wood and canvas and some leather straps. It was a safari chair and the straps had dried out, cracked and some were broken. The chair had been his father’s, and he wanted to bring the chair back into use.
As I have previously written, when looking at any repairs it is necessary to consider the balance between preservation, restoration or repair. Many jobs will often fall between two of these. In this case the main request was to ensure that the chair could be used, and then for the work to be sympathetic to the look of it as the client remembered it. So, while a straight out repair would have seen me make the arm straps quite taut, the client requested that the straps were made a little longer to replicate the amount of stretch that had occurred in the originals.
We went through the leather I had in stock, and between us decided that the best one to use would be a bubble finish veg tan leather in mid brown.
I would also have to source some of the hardware, as one of the original buckles had been mislaid over time. For the buckles, I couldn’t find an exact match, but I could find a slightly more modern version which looked identical when they were in place, thanks Abbey England. The rest of the fittings were able to be reused.
There was a small amount of fraying in the canvas on one corner, but as it wasn’t affecting the use of the chair, it was decided to not to meddle with it at this stage. It will be monitored, and patched if it starts to get worse.
End result, the client gets back a chair that is fully functional, and still looks like the chair he remembered.