What To Look Out For When Purchasing Antique Dining Chairs

As a continuation of our last Carrocel post, this entry is to do with buying dining chairs. Apart from style and aesthetics, the most important thing to consider when buying a chair is its construction. Above all, a quality dining chair should be a solid hardwood, like maple or beech wood. There can be no exceptions to this if you are looking to buy and paying good money for antique dining chairs. I specifically aim to drive this particular point home because of the influx of so many poorly made chairs made in Asia that look stylish and solid but are made from MDF or a very soft lumber like gum wood. They can be purchased at a quarter or so of the price of a beechwood chair but will not stand the test of time.

The way the chair is assembled is second in importance. Chairs that are made poorly are put together with bolts, such as those from China, are not assembled to be sturdy or strong. Even over as short as a period of a few weeks, these chairs can become loose because of the bolts/washer combination.

A well-made chair, on the other hand, is assembled with strong wood glue and wooden dowels. The seat frame should also be reinforced with wooden pieces to strengthen the chair. For instance, here is what an Italian-made solid beechwood quality chair frame looks like.

cane back chair frame cane back chair joint another shot of the chair joints

This chair, for instance, is $795 finished and upholstered. A chair, that looks quite similar, but made in China using gum wood or another poor substitute for wood and assembled with bolts, would cost about $195. While the chair is less expensive, it lacks in the most important area – quality of construction. The bottom line here is to while reproductions from Asia may look good and are cheaper, they are not comparable to a quality solid beech wood chair from Italy.

finished fine custom chair

solid beech wood Italian frame finished by Carrocel

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