Expert Mid-Century Modern MCM Woven Furniture Repair
Expert Mid-Century Modern MCM Woven Furniture Repair
Mid-century modern is one of the most popular trends in furniture design. The period between 1933 and 1965 focused on improving daily life through making things simply beautiful.
Mid-century modern design is all about clean lines, simplicity, and practicality.
Mid-Century Modern MCM Weaving Material, Project Samples, and Explanations
Danish Cord, Seagrass, Fibre Rush, and Cane
Danish Cord Material & Repairs - High-Level Explanation
Danish paper cord is a twisted paper cord that has been used to weave seats since the 1920s.
Danish modern furniture gained popularity after World War II in Denmark and other European countries.
Mid-century and modern Danish cord chairs are woven with the standard basket weave pattern using Danish hook nails or a no-nail technique.
The other pattern Danish cord is woven with is the traditional rushing pattern.
Chair frames are designed to accept a specific style of weaving and gauge or size of cord and are therefore not interchangeable.
You will find a much more detailed explanation of Danish cord weaving styles, materials, and restoration methods if you follow this link.
Wegner was referred to as "The Master of the Chair". After studying design in Copenhagen in 1938 Wegner was hired by Jacobsen and Erik Moller to design furniture for the town hall in Aarhus, Denmark. In 1943 Wegner opened his own design studio creating many chairs for Carl Hansen & Sons from 1949 thru 1968. Wegner is one of the pioneers of the "Danish Modern Era"
Wegner's chairs were woven using a Danish paper cord or a thicker gauge of cane referred to as binding cane.
The introduction of the Danish cord to weave these chairs caused quite a stir as the woven paper cord is a replacement for seagrass developed during World War II and had not been used in furniture before.
CH 23 - Dining Chair was one of the first chairs Hans J. Wegner designed exclusively for Carl Hansen & Søn. The Danish cord loops around a double rail creating a textured and intriguing weave.
David just told me the other day how much he enjoys weaving the double rail Danish cord. He really gets into the weaving zone as he pulls the weft or horizontal Danish cord material through the warp or vertical cords creating the iconic Hans Wegner double rail weave.
CH 24 - Wishbone or “Y” Chair is the most famous and sold chair designed by Wegner originally released in 1949. CH 24 is woven with a Danish cord in the standard rushing pattern.
CH 25 - Lounge Chair or Easy Chair Beautiful from all angles — “A chair is to have no backside,” said Hans J. Wegner, designer of the Easy Chair. “It should be beautiful from all sides and angles.”
Well, I must say CH 25 is a whole different Danish cord restoration ballgame. I've included detailed photos of the restoration on the Danish cord repair page.
In 1944 J.L. Møllers Møbelfabrik is founded by N.O. Møller in Århus, Denmark.J.L.
In 2015 Kirsten Møller the granddaughter of Niels Otto Møller became the Director at J.L. Møllers Møbelfabrik and continues to run the business today.
Caning Canada is proud to say that we have now woven all of the Danish cord chair models offered by Moller's Mobelfabrik.
It is true that Danish cord chairs offer the onlooker the pleasure of what appears to be simple beauty. In actual fact most of the midcentury chair designers were mathematicians and their masterful designs look simple however are actually precise masterpieces.
One chair design that is highly disputed is the 1951 Armchair Model Number 55 and Chair Model Number 71 which J.L. Møllers Møbelfabrik confirms was designed by Neil Moller. The factory confirmed that Neil Moller originally used Arne Hovmand-Olsen’s name as a designer as Neil was a carpenter at the time and his friend Arne was an architect.
Many people believe that Arne Hovmand-Olsen is in fact the designer.
I can't confirm either way however can appreciate the mastery of both designers and the beauty of the weave in all the available Danish cord colours.
Seagrass Woven Chairs
Seagrasses are the only flowering plants able to live in seawater and pollinate while submerged. They often grow in large groups giving the appearance of terrestrial grassland or underwater meadow.
The seagrass used in chair weaving comes from Asia. The seagrass is twisted to form a rope material that is green when newly woven and will brown as it ages.
Seagrass is a courser and more rigid material than the Danish cord material. It tends to sit a bit more proud and offers beautiful tones in the twisted grass.
Seagrass can be woven in different patterns as shown above however many chairs are designed to accept a specific gauge or size of material and pattern.
Some exceptions to this rule are ladderback chairs and stools.
In 1957 the Model 699 Superleggera (super light) chair was designed by Gio Ponti for Cassina to outfit luxury ship liners. These chair frames can be woven in any number of materials as there aren't any frame obstructions preventing the flow and attachment of materials.
Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen were also pioneers of Danish mid-century design and the founders of Copenhagen-based firm Hvidt & Mølgaard.
Model 317 Armchair and Chair 316 were designed by Peter Hvidt & Orla Mølgaard Nielsen for Søborg Møbelfabrik in 1958. These pieces are typically woven in seagrass and less commonly woven in Danish cord.
Borge Mogensen made the concept of “Danish Modern” known throughout the world.
Armchair Model 157 woven in seagrass for Søborg Møbelfabrik was designed by Mogensen in 1954
The Model 537 Oresund chairs were designed by Borge Mogensen for Karl Andersson & Söner in 1955
Fibre Rush Woven Chairs
Fibre rush is a very durable one-ply, twisted paper made to resemble real twisted bull rushes.
Paper fibre or "fibre reed" was introduced when China had an embargo on rattan reed exportation.
Paper fibre became the substitute for natural rattan reed. Material is wrapped around the four dowels framing the square of a seat creating four triangles.
Caning Canada often converts rawhide chairs to fibre rush or Danish cord. They can easily accept Shaker tape as well.
The French Canadian Cloverleaf chairs are hand-carved in Quebec and found woven in rawhide, seagrass. and fibre rush. Caning Canada doesn't offer leatherwork. We love to see these beautiful chairs restored using Danish cord, fibre rush, seagrass, or Shaker tape. The frame of the Cloverleaf and other ladder back chairs are typically unobstructed allowing the restoration material to suit the chair powers personal taste.
Isn't it wonderful when an unobstructed frame offers the flexibility to accent many personal decors? I love it.
Binding Cane / Rattan
Rattan or binding cane is a thicker gauge of cane used to wrap the backs and seats of many mid-century pieces creating intriguing patterns with an airy depth and character.
More often than not the cane to wrapped around the frame of the woven piece using a no-nail technique.
Binding cane is also used to wrap lamps, pod chairs, and to create magazines shelves for tables
Hans Olsen's rocking chair is an iconic piece creating intrigue and interest in its simple airy form.
More than once I've come across beautiful cane back lounge chairs that have been incorrectly restored by drilling holes through the frame of the backrest. There is absolutely no reason to butcher these wonderful woven chairs. The backrest can be removed and mailed to Caning Canada at our winter site in Fort Langley from mid-October to mid-April for expert cane restoration.
I can appreciate that weaving restoration is a lost art and I would much rather see pieces in use than in a landfill however to permanently alter these frames is a shame.
So many mid-century woven chairs, tables, and even daybeds sport pre-woven cane surfaces. Many of these pieces were designed with close weave cane patterns.
Care and attention to detail are key when restoring these beautiful cane pieces. Many of these woven surfaces can be removed from the frame and mailed to Caning Canada for cane restoration.
When a woven piece has multiple panels and or curves cane repair becomes a whole new dance. Every piece wants you to step through the cane installation in a particular order.
When you get the dance right, the cane submits and shows its appreciation with decades of beauty.
Extend the enjoyment of this beauty with proper care and maintenance of the woven surfaces.
Hand Woven Cane
Talk about curves.
The vintage Louis XVI style faux bois wood chair is exquisitely hand-carved and designed to emulate nature. This beautiful piece is blind or French caned with not one but two curves.
Being a master weaver isn't just about years of experience, knowing and understanding weaving techniques, or naturally feeling the form and tension.
It's about finding the reason within the chaos and taming it to structure and form.