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Banker's Chair


Refurbishing Project


For several years I sat in a modern wood chair like this for 10 hours a day programming. They are surprisingly comfortable.

I found this white oak banker's chair at Zinnias at Melrose for $15. The undercarriage was clearly jacked up but seemed OK, probably just some slight adjustment. The arms had cracked and been repaired but were not good. Thought I'd reinforce them with some brass or aluminum.

label

Manufactured by

High Point Bending and Chair Co.

SILER, N.C.

PATTERN NO. 6700-MS CHAIR

FINISH - LIGHT OAK

After contacting the Chatham, North Carolina Historical Society I received the following information about the High Point Bending and Chair Company: The High Point Bending and Chair Company operated from 1904-1956 when it became the Boling Chair Company, later just the Boling Company. That company is now out of business. The company began in 1901 as the Siler City Bending Company. It made parts for house-drawn vehicles. An investor was M.J. Boling and in 1904 he rescued the failing company reorganizing it into the High Point Bending and Chair Company. In addition to the chair-making plant in Siler City it built a plant in Mount Olive NC to make desks, tables and bookcases, mostly for office use. It was still operating in 1987 when the booklet from which I have taken this information was published and it continued to be owned and operated by the Boling family. I'm not sure when it closed.

I'll be reprinting the label and attaching when done.

Progress


One very interesting craftsman element I found was plugged holes. They had drilled blind holes for wood screw and then pluged the holes with wood to hide the screw. This is a common woodworking practice even today. What I'd never seen before was that the plug was thin, about 1/16" thick. Normally a plug is fairly long and once glued in place can't be removed. These thin plugs were, I assume, meant to be easily removed should the chair need to be repaired in say a 100 years, as I am doing. A tap of a screwdriver and out they come easy as pie.

This chair was made in a factory, it was never meant to be a valuable heirloom. But they still built it to be used for centuries. Not only don't we build things like they used to, I'm not sure we even remember how.

When I bought this chair I decided I'd do just a quick refinish and see just how fast I could complete the task. I didn't want the disassembled parts banging around the shop for months, getting lost, as normally happens. As Ralphie's Old Man said in the A Christmas Story, "time me".

It took me a while to find the undercarriage issues, couple parts broken, couple bent way out of shape, and badly wore bits. Basiclly the wood screws were still OK..."Oh fuuuuuddgge!" Clearly this chair had seen President William Howard Taft's fat ass.

So I went about the task of rebuilding an undercarriage. Turns out this takes a little thought and skill as my first attempt was a Frankenstein. And not have some tea with a little girl Frankenstein either. I'm going to have to actually spend some time on this.

I did take the chair completely apart to refinish as this is not a restoration. The glue gave way easily.

Now in December 2010 the disassembled parts have been banging around the shop for months, getting lost, as normally happens.