Heirloom Chair Seat Repair

Heirloom Chair Seat Repair

Yesterday’s newspaper had an article bemoaning the fact that so many items being sold today have the misnomer “heirloom” in their name or description- whether they deserve it or not.

Wikipedia says “In popular usage, a heirloom is something, perhaps an antique or some kind of jewelry, that has been passed down for generations through family members.”

So I guess the wheelbarrow that I bought thirty years ago might someday become an heirloom if I take good care of it. However, since it’s already wobbling a bit to the right, I don’t think it’s going to make it.

Which brings to mind the fact that in order for heirlooms to exist in the future, we have to have good craftsmanship in the present. Good craftsmanship is, as we know, a small percentage of goods these days, and they cost dearly (but rightly so). It used to be that you could buy a dishwasher and be confident that it would actually wash dishes. Or that the little refrigerator you bought for the office would last more than 5 years. I cringe when I think of landfills all over the planet filling up with this junk.

As I’m typing this, I’m sitting in a leather recliner (feet up) that we bought at a popular big box wholesale store a few years ago.

About a year after we carried it home in the back of our heirloom 1965 Ford dump truck (with the engine that my brother and husband hauled out and replaced 33 years ago, just a few hours before our first son was born), we noticed that we were beginning to sink lower and lower in the recliner. And lower. Soon the non-removable brown leather cushion was melting into the seat like a square of chocolate in the sun.

We flipped the chair over.

Guess what we found?

The criss-cross bands of strapping woven on the bottom to hold the foam cushion insert were stretching out a little bit every day and now they were hanging loose with about 12 inches of slack! A whole useless foot of 3″ wide ribbon on each strip was causing the bottom to sink closer to the floor each day.

How do you suppose the strapping could stretch out like that?

Well, it turns out that they were made of polyester! Not jute, not woven cotton- but stretchy polyester that had been woven in brown with some threads of red to mimic natural jute webbing. Somebody decided to save a buck and manufacture these chairs with a component guaranteed to make the chair fail in a year!

I know we probably should have hauled the chair the 40 miles back to the store but by then we didn’t have the receipt and I was too disgusted to even whine about it. We folded the strapping over, tightening it back up again and stapled it to itself with our 40-year-old heavy-duty black steel stapler. No, the chair is not as good as new- the leather suffered some permanent wrinkles- but it’s not too bad.

However, repaired or not, it’s obviously not going to become an heirloom chair.

Heirloom Chair Seat Repair