Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Very Own Hickory Chair Story

Lauren McKay, one of the talented designers at Design Lines Ltd. in Raleigh, NC, recently shared her Hickory Chair story with us. She found at an antique store a vintage Hickory Chair wing chair made in 1996. She saw past the dated blue damask fabric to see the fine proportion and scale of the chair. She knew it's quality of construction and quickly purchased it for her home. Turning over her prize possession to her local upholsterer along with her carefully chosen COM, the end result is a modern form for her home today.

The craftsman was able to strip and recover the chair because of the solid wood frame with mahogany legs and stretcher. Each solid wood frame part was made from maple, cherry or poplar kiln dried lumber and was meticulously shaped to have the same curves and form as the final upholstery as shown in the pictures. Like the vintage wing chair reproduced by Hickory Chair that Lauren found, the construction integrity that is still made in the creation of the frame, the wood gives the shape not the padding!

In the 18th Century, a craftsman would have only had horsehair, hay, grass, rags or spanish moss to use for padding - the wooden frame had to have the final shape and the padding was only for comfort. This time proven method is still in use today at Hickory Chair. Most companies today use CAD cutting machine to cut out plywood frames that are not intended for re-upholstery some day. We take the time to make a heirloom quality solid wood frame that will allow you to re-upholster the piece for your home and pass it down to future generations. The custom engineered 8-way hand tied springs with underlying steel bands were intact and did not need repair or replacement. The spring-down seat cushion was still resilient due to the quality of the coil springs, high density foam and down-proof ticking with channels of down, small duck feathers and ultracell fiber mix. The triple doweled frame with its corner glue blocks held with glue and 4 screws each held each joint strong as the day it was made. This hand made solid wood frame deserves to be re-covered again and again in the future!

Why fill up the landfills with furniture when you can re-purpose these classic pieces for modern homes? By the way, if Lauren wishes she had a pair of these beautiful wing chairs she is lucky because this classic wing chair, the 1857-55 Chippendale Wing Chair, is still hand made to order at Hickory Chair!

Share your Hickory Chair story with us at!


  1. Thanks for the mention! I love that chair!

  2. The redone chair looks great.Great posts in this blog...the chairs are stylish and so many in most of them.

  3. Thanks for this post.....I enjoyed it!

  4. Thanks Jasmine G! We appreciate your feedback and for reading our blog!

  5. Great vision for the chair, Lauren!