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Saul Shapiro

Fibrenew Manhattan Central (New York City): Saul Shapiro

Mobile restoration service to your home or business!

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Knock off or not

BEFORE: A real Eames has padded armrests, although these are very nice, too!

BEFORE: A real Eames has padded armrests, although these are very nice, too!

Speaking of Eames, we were asked to repair the covering on this knock off of an Eames Lounge. Before getting into that, let me point out some of the red flags that tell me immediately this is not the “real thing.” Not that there is anything wrong with that! This chair was obviously well-loved and well-used. But the wife had resorted to covering it with a blanket rather than letting company see, or sit, in the mess of a seat!

BEFORE: Eames-style Recliner

BEFORE: Eames-style Recliner

So, the glaring discrepancies?
1) It’s a recliner. A real Eames swivels, but does NOT have a reclining mechanism. The lack of that was probably a deal killer for many prospective buyers, but that’s the way Charles and Ray wanted it.
2) Wooden armrests. These are nicely laminated with, I’m guessing, walnut veneer. But Eames has padded rests covered in the same material as the rest of the chair
3) The metal connecting rods between the head and back rests. I don’t have a good photo here, but the ones on this knock off are simple rectangular bars. The real deal has a rather more complex angle brace with rubber “shock absorbers” that seem to predict their widespread use in mounting glass panels in many contemporary glass-clad buildings.
4) The legs. The knock off has four legs extending from the pedestal base. Although the Eames Ottoman has four legs, the Lounge Chair has FIVE. This provides a visually stronger base, suggesting (and realizing) greater stability (although a pain when you want to put on plastic sliders which, at four to a set, doesn’t add up!).

The repair required scrubbing away all of the loose debris from the flaking topcoat.  Fibrenew proprietary Leather Filler was used to smooth over and fill most of the cracks. After curing, the filler can be sanded down to assure a smooth, soft texture.  

AFTER: Cracks and crazing are crushed; soft, supple surface remains.

This is then treated with special adhesive agents and dyed with Fibrenew’s environmentally friendly water-based color coats. The trick is to be able to match the colors of the original.  In this case, it was made harder because each of the panels seemed to have faded to different colors over the years (not easy to see in photos).  We discussed with the homeowner and agreed to match the color of the foot rest, which seemed to have been most protected than the other surfaces.

We were pretty happy with the results. But the homeowner was thrilled with the results! “Now I don’t have to cover it when the girls come over for bridge on Tuesday!” Another satisfied customer, the only kind we have at Fibrenew.