Robert Macneil is a abstracted back it comes to old chairs.
He can see accomplished the years of neglect, the layers of bird droppings, the unhinged accoutrements and backs and legs of chairs larboard in barns and backyards. He can see accomplished the seats defective recaning and the chipped and case paint. He can see admirable possibilities area others can abandoned see trash.
His wife challenged him to try his duke at abating and refinishing chairs back they saw one at Celebrations Shop, in Pomfret, years ago. He took her up on it and has been bringing new activity to chairs anytime since.
Macneil’s accomplishment was advance throughout his house, during an Artists’ Open Flat bout in aboriginal December. The chairs were painted, reupholstered in accomplished fabric, and on affectation in his active room, dining room, kitchen, garage, and studio. They were beautiful, bright pressback board chairs.
“These are chairs best bodies wouldn’t accept taken into their homes back I aboriginal got them,” he said.
He acicular to one that had been in four pieces back he took it home. Another had been covered in bat guano. Another had sat alfresco beneath a approach for 12 years. He’s begin the chairs in old barns and at flea markets. Bodies accept rescued chairs from debris bins for him. The transformations accept been absolute and time consuming. But they accept additionally been advantageous for the retired eye doctor, admitting allegedly not financially.
“I apparently accomplish $4 to $6 an hour on them,” he said with a laugh.
The acceptable doctor has an eye for color, aerial affection fabric, and workmanship.
He acicular out a armchair that he begin at a anniversary in Bethel, Maine. It was burst into four pieces. The armchair was angry calm with rope. Macneil drilled, doweled, glued, and clamped the armchair together. He abreast the copse and corrective it white with argent details. He reupholstered the bench in argent abstract fabric.
“I adulation it’s lines,” he said.
Another armchair had been rescued from a backyard in Putnam, area it had sat for 12 years beneath a dribble edge. The acrylic was flaking off, so it was accessible to clean, but every collective had to be alert and clamped together. He fabricated a plywood bench for it and covered that in blubbery foam. Macneil reupholstered the bench first, again corrective the armchair to bout the fabric.
He acclimated 11 altered colors in the busy top abuse alone. The stiles and legs and stretchers were all one blush with the barring of baby capacity on the advanced legs. Anniversary blush had amid three and bristles coats on it.
Macneil has all kinds of chairs and their top rails, spindles, angry legs, bifold stretchers, stiles, and splats accept been corrective to bout the admirable fabrics he covers the seats with. The bolt isn’t cheap. He acicular to a brace of chairs adipose in $40 per backyard bolt that featured the artwork and autography of Merriweather Lewis. On one bench was a alpine sandhill crane. On the other, a abundant dejected heron and blooming heron.
“You decay bisected a backyard aloof accepting the birds in the appropriate place,” he said.
He sells children’s agitation chairs and aerial chairs, blast tables, and cabinets. He had analogous sets of chairs available. And he does custom assignment for people. Last year, he corrective a set of eight chairs for a woman who had a assertive bolt in apperception for the seats. She capital the aforementioned blush arrangement acclimated on the chairs, but she capital anniversary armchair corrective a little differently.
Macneil did as she asked, swapping out colors on the spindles and top abuse and stretchers and angry legs.
“She admired them,” he said.
He’ll use extra bolt on tabletops. He’ll acquisition skeleton keys to use on repurposed cabinets. Once he repurposed a metal chair. He makes covering hangers with drawer fronts and doorknobs. He’s fabricated appliance for his grandson. And lately, he has his 9-year-old grandson allowance on projects.
“We allotment the profits,” he said.
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