MODERN FURNITURE REPAIR & RESTORATION: NYC, US AND WORLDWIDE

 

 

Modern furniture manufacturers and designers experimented with  new materials and methods of construction.  Aside from having to periodically replace fabric, cane, and leather, the use of fanciful futuristic shapes led to the extensive use of bent plywood and fiberglass.  These experimental designs don’t always stand up well to the test of time, and usage. Most modern furniture was designed for people who were younger and lighter than they are today too. And the furniture wasn’t necessarily designed to last a century.  At Olek Lejbzon & Co., our goals are to repair broken or worn furniture:



  • •  Repair furniture so that you can't tell that it was repaired.



  • •  Repair to safely stand up through many decades of use.



  • •  Repair the furniture, including non-traditional, experimental materials used in its fabrication, including not only wood, and also  metals and electroplated finishes, leather, rubber, plastic, fiberglass, glass, various adhesives, and fabric. These could  be decorative elements, or structural.



 

Repairing Manufacturing and Design Errors

We have the benefit of hindsight to see what mistakes in manufacturing techniques were made over the years, and learn from the experience.  If we see a repair technique or material that will improve the strength and life of furniture, without changing the design intent or appearance, we incorporate these improvements into our repairs, if the Owner of the furniture approves the change.  We are familiar with the various materials from an engineering standpoint- this is critical to making appropriate and effective repairs.  For instance, we understand the differences between thermoset plastics and thermoplastics, the various adhesives from aliphatic glues to resorcinols,  epoxies, and others, and what structural designs and improvements are necessary for repairs to be effective, to prevent the mistakes of the past, from being the burdens of the future. What we don’t know, we can research, using engineering design handbooks, and expert craftsmen.

 

NYC Restaurant  Chairs NYC Restaurant  Chairs

 

 

These modern chairs at a top NYC Restaurant had several design issues, legs too close together that caused diners to tumble out of the chairs, and backs that would frequently break.  A new fabrication design using bent plywood solved the back problem, and changing leg placement solved the tumbling issues

 

Delaminating Bent Plywood

One common problem was the glue used in bentwood furniture.  Common aliphatic or yellow glues of questionable quality were commonly used by cost conscious manufacturers, and are today the source of delamination of many bentwood pieces.  Vladimir Kagan furniture suffers premature failure frequently. Many people think glues have improved over the centuries.  This may be true, but they are not always used appropriately.  Our experience is that bentwood Victorian furniture has far more stable bentwood laminations than mid-Century modern furniture, even though it is a century older.

 

Typical Modern Furniture Repairs

Dining Table shattered by large oak tree falling through the roof:

 

Dining Table shattered by large oak tree Dining Table shattered by large oak tree


Dining Table shattered by large oak tree


Chair had broken leg Chair had broken leg

Chair had broken leg, delicate design required replacement and color and patina matching

 

Vladimir Kagan delamination of bent plywood-

Plywood cannot be reglued, with new glue over old. A better joint can be obtained by making a new leg, and using a highly moisture resistant glue such as resorcinol type. A three-dimensional die, or caul is used to make the replica parts.

 

Vladimir Kagan tri-legged chair leg, with splitting laminations Vladimir Kagan tri-legged chair with newly fabricated replicas of parts

Vladimir Kagan tri-legged chair leg, with splitting laminations

Vladimir Kagan tri-legged chair

with newly fabricated replicas of parts



Vladimir Kagan tri-legged chair with three-dimensional caul to make replica bentwood leg Vladimir Kagan tri-legged chair

Vladimir Kagan tri-legged chair with three-dimensional caul to make replica bentwood leg

Vladimir Kagan tri-legged chair



Repairing metal hardware or furniture parts requires many skills and equipment-

Metal repairs are  skillfully executed, and invisibly done. We cast, forge, weld, and mill, chase, grind, lathe turn, and perform any metalworking operation in our machine shop needed to attain an effective, stable repair, or to fabricate replacement elements indistinguishable from the original.  Replating is also performed.

 

Hugh Acton Walnut Bench on Cast Bronze Legs- Broken Leg Repair

Hugh Acton bench before with broken bronze leg Hugh Acton bench during

Hugh Acton bench before with broken bronze leg

Hugh Acton bench during



Hugh Acton Bench after Hugh Acton Bench with bronze leg repaired by silver soldering internal dowel into legs

Hugh Acton Bench after

Hugh Acton Bench with bronze leg repaired by silver soldering internal dowel into legs



Hugh Acton Bench being stripped and refinished  

Hugh Acton Bench being stripped and refinished

 

Eero Aarnio Ball Chair Repair

Eero Aarnio Ball Chair showing broken Post Construction Eero Aarnio Ball Chair showing broken Post Construction

Eero Aarnio Ball Chair with broken post

Eero Aarnio Ball Chair showing broken Post Construction



The Eero Aarnio Ball Chair occasionally falls off its aluminum pedestal, when the 1 1/8” diameter steel post that the ball swivels on snaps off.  In that case, a new replica post is turned on a lathe to replace the original, using a stronger steel alloy.

 

Mies van der Rohe- Barcelona Chair Repair

The Mies van der Rohe designed Barcelona chairs often develop cracks in the Cerulean chromed steel legs at the crossing point, and require welding and plating to repair the frame, as well as internal reinforcements to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

 

Herman Miller Eames Chair Shock Mount Repairs

You can count on us to repair furniture or woodwork joinery with integrity, true to the original design, so you will enjoy the furniture for many trouble-free decades after it has left our shop. There are occasional instances when the original design was  flawed so we will suggest an improvement for durability, as with the Eames Lounge Chair manufactured by Herman Miller. The shock mounts attaching the back to the seat break typically in five to thirty years, due to inappropriate use of materials. The Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair #670 was not the only Herman Miller Eames furniture to suffer problems with shock mounts, the LCW, LCM, DCW, and DCM chairs all have shock mounts attaching the seats and backs together, that loosen up over time.  We have developed a superior proprietary solution for the Herman Miller shock mounts. We specifically offer this improvement as an alternative, although it appears indistinguishable from the original design. We will always offer such a solution and seek our clients’ approval before taking action to change an aspect of the furniture we restore.

 

Vladimir Kagan Dining Table Repair

Modern furniture generally suffers from the use of MDF carcases beneath veneer- MDF is soft, and prone to developing swelling fungal growths from humidity beneath the top veneer. The veneer chips off crushed MDF. Inlays of solid wood and veneer into damages can provide the solution.

 

Vladimir Kagan Dining Table Leaf before Vladimir Kagan Dining Table during restoration

Vladimir Kagan Dining Table Leaf before

Vladimir Kagan Dining Table during restoration



vladimir kagan dining table restored Vladimir Kagan table with damaged copper inlay

vladimir kagan dining table restored

Vladimir Kagan table with damaged copper inlay



vladimir kagan dining table Vladimir Kagan

Vladimir kagan dining table

Vladimir Kagan



Olek Lejbzon & Co. – Quality Furniture Repairs since 1950

To attain impeccable, meticulous results, we employ the finest European craftsmen; cabinetmakers, metal machinists and welders, carvers, upholsterers, and artists. They respect the integrity and know the importance of maintaining the original design when repairing your furniture or architectural woodwork. We will not insert a dowel into a mortise-and-tenon joint that will compromise a tenon’s function for a cheap “glue job” some would call a “repair”. We will not inject glue into the joints of a loose doweled chair  (a 3 – 9 month “fix”), when nothing short of complete disassembly, cutting off and drilling out of old dowels, and reinstallation of newer, larger dowels is necessary to obtain the original longevity of the chair joinery.

 

Our abilities to repair antique period wood joinery on furniture or woodwork ranging from the middle ages to modern, from Rococo to Regency is well known. No matter how complicated the repair or how poor the condition of the furniture, no repair is beyond our expert grasp. Our European cabinetmakers perform complicated, intricate restoration of missing marquetry, carvings, and joinery, on wood that is in good condition, or suffering from smoke or fire damage, or the ravages of powder post beetles. Our mission is to restore your furniture, to the level where you cannot tell that a repair was made. Olek Lejbzon & Co. was established in 1950, and has repaired furniture not only in the metropolitan NY area including NY, NJ, CT, and PA- but worldwide, with esteemed clients shipping furniture and components to us at our 25,000 square foot shop in Newark, NJ

A partial list of designers  whose furniture we have repaired includes:


Hugh Acton
Aalvar Alto
Eero Aarnio
Milo Baughmann
Harry Bertoia
Marcel Breuer
Wendell Castle
Joe Colombo
Corbusier
Charles & Ray Eames
Frank Gehry
Arne Jacobsen
Vladimir Kagan
Poul Kjaerholm
Florence Knoll
Olivier Morgue
George Nakashima
George Nelson
Isamu Noguchi
Verner Panton
Ico Parisi
Warren Platner
Jean Prouve
Jens Risom
Mies van der Rohe
Hans Wegner

 

Pickups & Delivery by our truck throughout metropolitan NY, NJ, PA, and CT-

We arrange pickup and delivery promptly throughout metropolitan NY, including NY and NYC, NJ, PA, and  at CT at modest cost.  We can arrange for pickup and delivery of furniture throughout the United States east of the Mississippi, as well as all of Louisiana and eastern Texas with a recommended common carrier, TSC Moving (Hallandale, FL), . They are very reliable, and surprisingly economical for long-distance moves. Fine furniture deserves the best care, and is worth the trip.



Modern Furniture Repair Gallery

       Finn Juhl Mid Century Modern Chairs Rebuild frames                  Massive Indonesian Table Top Rebuilding




       Hans Wegner, The Chair                  Neils Moller Rosewood Mid Century Modern Side Chairs




       Poul Kjaerholm PK-22 Wicker Chairs                               Sunball Easy Chair


 

 

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