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where's my table saw?
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found these round back, Morris style or Mission style chairs at an antique dealer. The seller claimsa they were made in Detroit around 1910, however the joinery construction is double dowels... not mortise and tenon.
Any ideas as to the maker? There is a label which is partially destroyed. Murphy? and the number 858.
 

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Nice find! I think you're right...Murphy Chair Co., Detroit (operating ca. 1907).

Link for the following information is here: http://www.stickleyera.info/AmericanMakersM-Q.htm


Murphy Chair Co.
  • Detroit, MI, ca. 1903 – ca. 1919, then Owensboro, KY
  • general line, chairs, footstools
Shop Marks: 1) variations of rectangular decal w/company name and model number, as shown (top refers to Detroit, next two refer to Owensboro), and 2) metal tags at bottom (date unknown, post 1919?):


 

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where's my table saw?
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Great response!

Thanks for the link, it was great. :thumbsup:
I am sanding all the pieces down to bare wood after knocking them apart since all the joints were loose. It may destroy the antique value but so would having them collapse when someone sat on it and they failed to support the person.
 

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where's my table saw?
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
My chair is no. 858

I wonder how many were made...

The other significant thing is that the backs are curved rather than straight. These were made in a factory, rather than hand crafted, so there was obviously a production set up utilized to make the curved rails and to mortise the slots. I'll have to look closely to see how the slats were mortised and if they were curved also.
 

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where's my table saw?
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks

They came with cushions...but one of them was blown out in the bottom and the other had a piece of hardboard/Masonite as the backer. I've got all 300 staples partially pulled ready to remove the vinyl. I'm pretty certain they were recovered at some point...vinyl wasn't invented yet in 1910. I may go with leather on the new covers.
They were $200.00 each as far as the "nice find", but that was reasonable in my opinion. I couldn't begin to make them for that if they were requested by a customer, friend or relative. :no:

Nice find. I'm actually a little jealous. Would love to have some chairs like that. What are you going to do for cushions?
 

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where's my table saw?
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update

The corner braces were kinda iffy, so I decided to make new ones. Nothing was 90 degrees and the pieces were too short to rabbet safely....hmmmm.:blink:
I came up with a jig. :eek:
It holds the small pieces safely while I run them over the dado head at the correct height and from the sacrificial fence, roughly 1/4" X 1/4". It worked great.
 

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Howdy William

Nice find on the chairs Bill, i am guesing the oak those chairs were made with was actually virgin timber!! looking good so far, but i do have one question -- are the seats going to be upholstered? Keep at it chief, i have seen some pretty awsome stuff come out of that Michigan shop of yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
cushions are not so old

They had been recovered in a very thin natural color leather leather. It may have been the original, it's hard to tell, but there were plenty of old staple holes.

One had the bottom blown out and previously had canvas straps across. The other had a Masonite bottom with air escape holes drilled in. There are about 500 small staples in each one. :furious: I can't use the blown out one so I'll take out the staples and see what I can do for a bottom The foam filler is obviously not f4rom the '20's either. :no: They had been refinished one other time from the looks of the varnish drooled on the bottoms or rungs and armrests. It all came off...every last speck....almost.
here's some more progress, sanded and stained.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
more progress

I used Gorilla Wood Glue for the reassembly. It seems to have worked OK. The chairs are rigid as all get out now.
 

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where's my table saw?
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