My great grandmother, Effie Clarissa Lee Weaver, had six chairs around her dining room table. At the time of her death in 1945, my grandparents, her son and daughter in law, stored the complete set in their basement. Over the years, as my mother and aunt got permanent homes, the set was divided up — my grandparents kept 2, my aunt and mother each received 2.
Mom had hers in the basement of our house. Apparently, at some time, my father decided they would make good saw-horses. One of his carpentry projects cut thought one of the sides of the seat. Mom was a bit mad. I think it was soon after that incident that my father was gifted with saw-horse brackets to make actual saw-horses with 2X4s as the legs and cross bar.
My aunt found out that Goodwill Industries would refinish the chairs and took hers and my grandparents chairs to be done. Mom was still mad about the damage and would not send her set.
As I recounted in the section on Grandmother Weaver’s desk, in the later 1960s the antiquing of furniture kits came on the market and I asked if I could have my way antiquing one of the chairs to go with the desk. My mother agreed and I antiqued both the desk and chair.
The chair was meant to have a caned seat. My grandmother, Florence, was a self proclaimed expert on how to cane a chair. After all, her father, a furniture maker, had learned the technique at the Ohio State Prison and had taught his children. Grandma, at this point, would jump in and explain that he was not an inmate, he went there during the day and came home at night. It was just where he was able to go to learn a skill needed for his business. Well, I spent every visit to my grandparents’ home one summer bringing my chair and caning materials, being instructed on the CORRECT method of caning a chair seat. I never knew who caned the chairs my aunt had taken to Goodwill.
After our parents’ deaths, my brother and I divided up the heirlooms that were in their home. I had the cedar chest and acquired another of the dining room chairs (the one with the sawn through side of the seat) which needed to be repaired and refinished. So with the cedar chest and the additional chair, we loaded the desk and chair to which I had applied antiquing paint and hauled them off to the furniture refinisher to be restored to their original state. The picture is of the restored chair. Both chairs are identical. You cannot tell which one had a near fatal accident.
Sorry, Grandma Florence, I did not re-cane the chairs myself, but you would approve of the method used by the refinisher. Smooth seat, no snagging!