Red Rider

Restoration service quotes


Comments Closed

Share this post

We get many enquiries about restoration, anything you have that needs restoring or repaired can be quoted roughly from photos if you want to email them or text them to me- it saves us time and you cost  when we don’t need to go out to quote. We repair and restore just about any timber furniture not just mid century modern that we specialise in so if you want it saved get a quote, it might be cheaper than replacement. We are based in Melbourne and you can text pics on 0411 495 055 or email me at [email protected]



Read more

How to repair dining chairs (20th century)


Comments Closed

Share this post

In response to finding so many fantastic sets of chairs that are missing individual chairs or have poor repairs, I have decided that I might try to give some tips to the DIY folks.

Most sets of chairs we get have at least one chair that has loose joints which we need to repair before sale which means most sets at home are probably showing up with similar problems. Getting to the repair early can also save bigger repairs later. Dowels can break and tenon joints can move around widening the corresponding mortice that it sits in if the are not re-glued  in time.

Never throw away parts of sets of chairs, nearly all can be fixed no matter how damaged. Full sets of even numbered chairs are always easier to sell.

To repair dining chairs successfully you will need someway to clamp the joints. Clamps can be purchased really cheaply from chain hardware stores or online. The main thing to do before purchase is to check the opened width of the clamps jaws will fit the largest of your chairs spans. If you can’t afford the tools the old way to do it was to tie a loop of rope around the chair and tighten it up with a lever of wood twisting the rope up. Be careful if your crazy enough to try it as this is a great way to have it unwind fast and injure you.

Other than a clamp you will need:

Wood glue Aquadere, PVA etc

Mallet a big headed wood or plastic hammer (a claw hammer with a piece of scrap wood between the chair and the head can be used)

Stanley knife



Possibly drill with bits

Dowel jig


Now usually the joints that go first are the back where it meets the seat support rails. To get at the dowels or tenons you need to knock apart the joint with a mallet being careful to not bruise the wood. You can use a piece of wood between the hammer and the chair and some masking tape over the strike are might help protect the finish. Once apart you can see if any dowels are broken.

If not you need to remove as much of the old glue as possible to allow the new glue to stick. This can be carefully done with a stanley knife used to scrape along the dowels. A small piece of very course sandpaper can be used to rough up the surfaces that touch inside the joint. A drill bit the same size as the hole can be used turned by hand to break away old glue.

Next use the glue to cover the areas that touch including the dowel hole. Immediately put the chair back together and get the clamps on to close up the joint making sure the joint is square. Placing the chair on it’s feet on a very flat surface helps them stay square. Wipe away the excess glue with a damp rag and then a dry one. Leave the clamps on while the glue dries.

If the dowels are broken you need to drill out both sides before replacing the new dowel. It is really important to stay in the original centres of the old dowels so using several sizes of drill bits starting small and getting up to the size of the new dowels. Using a dowel jig helps keep the dowel straight and again these are available cheaply and easily.

Once you have the holes drilled you follow the above instructions and should end up with solid chairs that will last years.




Read more

Recovering and reupholstery of 20th century furniture

General, Restoration

Comments Closed

Share this post

A lot of people find selecting fabric for vintage pieces a source of anxiety but it should be made a little less stressful after reading this. The first thing you should do is work out what you are going to use the piece for. If it is just a feature chair in a bedroom it doesn’t need to be a commercial grade upholstery if it’s going to be a family couch it needs to be resilient.

Next you need to look at your  room and decide what other pieces you have and wether there are dominant colours or other pieces that may clash with any other upholstered objects. If you do have other colours in the room using a colour wheel to find a  complimentary colour is a good idea.

Next decide on a texture, for many 1960s pieces a chunky wool in bright solid colours was a nice contrast to the organic shapes or natural timber framework. For 1950s pieces a finer textured fabric and possibly even flecks or scribbly linear weaves look great. By the 1970s the smooth solid brights were popular.

Eames and Danish modern furniture often used hopsack weaves in bright primary colours, some of these are available still from Maharam Kvadrat in Australia.

Cutting out pictures of pieces you love from magazines is a great way to work out what looks good, you can cut out textures and colours and even just colour combos that are similar to your own pieces.

When you have narrowed down to the way it will be used, colour range and texture you need to go to a supplier for fabric (it’s worth having the piece quoted by an upholsterer and go with a measurement for how much fabric is required). Warrick in Melbourne have an outlet in Collingwood that is open to the public.

Going in with these ideas already clear will save you from a bombardment of ideas that will hit when you go to a showroom. There are so many great fabrics in every colour and pattern so often people are overwhelmed by the thousands of other choices around them. Having a clear idea from the start helps get the desired effect.

Don’t get excited by something that is fashionable that doesn’t suit the furniture or your house. So many good pieces have been nannafied by Chintz, victoriana tapestry or 90s Aztec weaves. Don’t buy the cheap stuff in the sale racks unless it’s great. If you are going to the effort of recovering do it right the first time.

Next stop is the upholsterer -make sure you have the foam replaced if it needs it and straps and springs often need doing at the same time. be clear on what you are getting for the price and any detailing like double stitching, piping etc. is included.

I guess the number one tip is to have a clear idea in mind before you start the selection process, you always get a better result if you put time into research and clarifying your ideas.

Read more

Repairing Mid century chairs and tables


Comments Closed

Share this post

One of the most common problems we face when trying to repair vintage furniture is badly glued joints. When the original glue (which in most cases was an animal glue) gives way the dowels or tenons come loose. This means that the legs or similar move away from the corresponding rail. When you need to repair this the number one rule is to do it properly once. This should give you a few tricks on fixing these joints with basic tools.

1) You need to open up the joint, the best way is to tap it open. Use a hammer with a piece of soft wood between it and the leg so it doesn’t dent.

2) Once open any old glue should be removed. An old drill bit the same size as the dowel holes turned by hand should break away the old glue. Scraping the dowels with a knife or a quick rub with course sandpaper should do the trick. The same for tenons (like square blocks that go into a slot- sometimes have rounded ends). If any glue from previous repairs is evident remove it. Try the joint dry and make sure it closes up properly. Broken dowels always need to be removed and replaced as close to the old holes as possible.

3) Next fill the joint with Aquadhere, PVA or similar wood glue (not too much that it will spill out everywhere- just enough for the dowel to have a even cover and the inside walls of the hole).

4) Immediately  clamp the joint with a furniture clamp again using blocks of wood to stop bruising the timber. If you don’t have a proper clamp it is possible to use rope tied up and twice looped around the object, then use a piece of wood to twist up the 2 pieces of rope putting them under tension. Don’t over tighten -just enough to close the gap up. The piece should be left under tension on it’s feet on flat ground. Be very careful when you use this method because it can let go and injure you if overtightened and it unravels.

5) Clean off all excess glue from the surfaces with a damp rag then leave the furniture to dry overnight.

6) Take off clamps, clean up any extra glue smears with a damp cloth again. The piece can then be oiled with teak oil or another furniture finish restoring product like beeswax polish  or even Mr.Sheen/ Marveer etc.

As with all restoration projects eye, ear and skin protection must be worn. We take no responsibility for any injuries you may sustain using these methods and they are intended as a guide to show how we repair furniture as professionals. Please always read the manufacturers labels and use as intended.

Read more

Restoring Fler and Parker furniture

General, Restoration

Comments Closed

Share this post

I’m posting this topic in response to the one thing I get asked most about, How to restore these increasingly valuable pieces. Having been a restorer of furniture for a long time I have learnt some great techniques to help preserve these pieces. It could easily be used for any Danish or Danish modern, 20th century, or similar furniture.


There are some basic things to check before purchasing teak tables and cabinets:

-Are the large panel areas free from large or multiple chips and deep scratches

-Is the substrate (usually chip board / particle board) free from water damage- this shows up as expanded area

-Has someone before you sanded deeply showing signs that the veneer has been sanded through

-Is the finish original- sometimes dark stain is put over the original to hide damage or stains

-Are the trims still all attached.



– Metholated spirit

-Rags (cotton)

-Steel wool  grade 2 and 00

-Sandpaper  180, 240 and 320 grit

-Sanding block

-Shellac, Danish oil, teak oil etc.depending on desired product

-Brush (optional)

-coloured furniture wax crayons (optional)

If any of these things are present it will be difficult to achieve a perfect result. If you are thinking of purchasing furniture with any of these faults be careful as you probably won’t get your desired result. If you are happy to have a few faults and don’t pay too much they can still be good furniture.

The way I would start any piece of 20th century teak furniture would be to wash the piece down with mentholated spirits with a grade 2 steel wool, this dislodges the grime and original shellac or cellulose lacquer. The liquid needs to be wiped up with cotton rag before it resets.

Leave the piece to dry and then lightly  hand sand the surface with the grain using a 180 grit sand paper. Repeat the process using 240 the 320 grit paper on a hard sanding block. Never use an electric sander if you are not a pro- it is too easy to sand through the thin veneer (sometimes not even 1 mm thick).

When you have got to this point it is worth washing the surface down with Metho again and you should see something similar to your final colour, but any remaining finish should show up as a different colour. Be careful that lighter colour isn’t over sanding through the veneer and never heavily sand a dent or scratch. Small scratches can be raised by wiping a wet cloth over the area for very short periods – never leave them wet as it will ruin the veneer.

Once you have your surface ready you need to choose a finish, Shellac is the traditional finish but is not as resilient as modern urethanes but is easier to repair if it goes wrong. A “hard” shellac is available and is a good option as are some Danish oils which are a urethane based product. The best way to apply the new finish is with a folded rag soaked and rung out then applied with the grain evenly. If your brave and steady use a brush -sash cutters are good.

At this point you should be able to see any chips etc. these can be filled with a wax crayon melted into the small hole etc. This should be done between the coats of finish to seal the wax in. If you do the wax on raw wood it can soak in and stain the area.

It should only need a couple of coats to achieve a nice satin effect. If using shellac it is worth cutting back the surface with a grade 00 steel wool between coats. A good way to protect the surface is to then wipe over with Natural teak oil, a thin oil that builds up slowly but is a good protective coat and dusts off the cutting back dust.

Please use this as a guide and is only intended to show how we do it -any one attempting their own restoration should follow the manufacturers instructions on the cans. Always wear protection when doing any restoration work and do so at your own risk, we take no responsibility for damage or injury caused.

Good luck and I will post more on repairing these pieces in the near future.

Read more