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The Chairmaker, Part III (continued)

 

This description, as to how a side chair is made, one can also apply to the construction of the rest of the chairs. One addresses only the deviations in the following.

2.  
  An armchair (Fautenil or a Kröpelsthul), fig. XVIII, is different from the smaller side chair, p. 198, in that it receives additional arms, a & b, and arm posts, b & c. Both pieces are going to be curved with a turning saw according to the pattern, and because they are round, (in cross section) they are worked out with a drawknife. The arm post is mortised into the side rail of the seat, c, and the arm into the hind post, a. In the same manner the arm post receives a tenon and the arm a mortise, and the chairmaker joins both pieces together with glue at b. Commonly, these arm chairs are painted in colors of yellow, brown, or red, and waxed as the side chairs, but the more splendid arm chairs are usually painted white or also with any other color by the gilder, and the veining and the rest of the carved decoration is gilded.
3.  
  The underframe of a day bed (Canope) receives two additional legs between the front posts for the fastening of the seat and two additional back legs on the rear rail of the underframe. These feet are made as the front posts, p. 202, and into the front legs and posts will be partially mortised the front rails of the underframe. This applies also to the back rail and back legs. In the back the day bed receives five upright pieces (Stahnstücke), the construction of which is already described above. Lastly, both broad sides of the seat receive a support and arm as is the case with the arm chair.
4.  
  The underframe of a sofa, fig. XIX, coincides exactly with the underframe of a canope. Instead of the upright pieces, it receives in the middle of the back only a single strut (Strebe) because it will be always upholstered. It differs most obviously from a canope only in that instead of arms and supports it receives end pieces on both broad sides. Each end piece (frame) consists of the end piece, r & c and v & c alone, and four cross upright pieces (Querstahnstücken), r & e. The making of these pieces can be easily understood from the foregoing explanation, and the sofa is thought to be preferable in this instance to show how the chairmaker upholsters a chair. He nails the webbing under the upper edge of the front rail, m & n, as well as along the depth of both side rails of the underframe, c & d and c & l, two inches apart. On this webbing he sews the steel springs (spaced) equal distance apart. For one sofa 28 to 30 steel springs, fig. XX, are required and are sewn on the webbing in rows. Such a steel spring is approximately six inches high and four inches wide. They are manufactured from strong, hardened iron wire, and each is wound some ten to twelve times, yet so that the spiraling from both ends of the steel spring runs somewhat smaller toward the middle because the steel spring in this (form) functions more effectively. These upright steel springs are fastened at the bottom along the length (of the webbing), (but) without fastening them on the top they could be easily dislocated and would bump against one another. This condition would be annoyingly noticed by the owner. The chairmaker deals with this discomfort by fastening each row of steel springs to the rails of the underframe with a cord along the length and depth, ties it to each steel spring, and imparts in this manner an immoveable stance. In this manner he stretches a number of cords in a cross pattern above (the springs).
   
The steel springs stand between the rails of the underframe, and the height of the frame allows them a certain mobility. Over the steel springs and the rails of the seat the chairmaker loosely stretches unbleached linen and fastens it with tacks. This linen cloth carries the horsehair, which is preferred above all other hair because it is the most elastic. The chairmaker buys this hair already boiled (Gesotten) and twisted to an extent. He must then untwist it with the help of a small reel (Haspel) and loosen it most carefully with the fingers. The customer would easily take notice immediately if the hair were to bunch up. The unloosened hair will be laid in an appropriate amount on the linen cloth which the chairmaker nails onto the seat, and over the horsehair once again unbleached linen will be fastened to the seat with tacks. The back of the sofa the chairmaker upholsters in the manner previously discussed, except that it does not receive any steel springs. He therefore stretches one strap only behind the back lengthwise and two across its breadth. Over the linen cover the sofa is customarily covered with silk cloth. The chairmaker is most familiar with all of the parts of a chair. He can, therefore, skillfully cut the covering and this may be stitched only by a seamstress. This pertains also to the cap (Kappe), which occasionally is covered with a silk top cover. It [the cap] is made of a cotton or linen material, and fastened to the chair only with strong upholstery tacks. These tacks are so strong that they can be easily driven into the chair. The pillows that lie at the ends of the sofa the chairmaker makes out of linen, stuffs them with horsehair, and upholsters them with the same fabric with which the chair is upholstered. Over and above at least 40 pounds of horsehair are required for the chairmaker to conservatively upholster the sofa. It is best for the customer to note that the unscrupulous sofa salesman fastens the straps on top of the seat in order to save horsehair. The steel springs lift the upholstery of such a seat when they are new, but since the steel springs have no room to move, they loose their elasticity and the upholstery sinks in a short time. In addition to the chairmaker, the wallpaper hanger/upholsterer (Tapezierer) also prepares the chairs for upholstery.

 

 
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