Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Grandpa Chair

Since I can remember this chair has always sat on the basement's walk out patio. Sun, rain, snow, or wind it sat there. It belonged to my Grandpa and eventually I kind of assumed ownership of it when I was living in the basement and no one else like the chair anymore. I took it with me to my new house in the City where several of the vinyl straps (that are who knows how old) started to crack and break. You could still perch back in the seat but it was getting awkward.

I thought this was the end of the Grandpa Chair, but then it came to my attention that one could buy replacement strapping. I should have known better! This was, after all, a vintage chair and things made in yesteryear were meant to last and built for you to be able to fix them! After watching a few short videos online it became apparent that this was a pretty simple process, order the strapping, boil the strapping, then stretch and screw in the straps on the chair. I sent away for some color strapping samples but ended up deciding to keep the original color scheme of alternating green and white straps.

new vinyl samples
After measuring all the straps on the chair and placing my order, I took everything off and scrubbed down the chair.

Next I placed a few straps in a lobster pot of boiling water, and the fished them out one by one with a spaghetti spoon.

I screwed one end into the chair and next came the trickiest part... holding the chair while using two hands (if possible) to pull the strapping and stretch it across the chair (without scalding ones hands) and then holding the strap there with one hand while the other reached for the screwdriver and screwed it in. Now, I have to say the men in the videos made it look like they were pulling taffy with one hand, granted I should have taken into consideration that they were twice my size. It wasn't too hard if I had both hands to pull and the strap was still hot.

Once you had the second screw in you could release the strap and it shrunk back pulling taunt across the chair.  The hardest part was really figuring out how hold/brace the chair while pulling the hot strap across without one or the other flying across the kitchen.  Other than that it was a really simple and very satisfying project to complete. My Grandpa chair will probably keep on going for another 20-40 years.

Grandpa chair project finished.