Design = Love | Breathing Life back into Furniture

If there is one thing I love about the city of Mumbai, these days, is that there is always something going on. My girlfriends and I, all of the same lineage in terms of study in Design, decided to go to one of Tasting Room’s Dinner and a Movie, which by far is one the best concepts to have come along in a long time. It was while we were waiting here that another friend of ours, Shonali Mahajan, decided to stop by to say hello.

As much as we urged Shonali to stay for the documentary on Anish Kapoor, she excused herself as she was putting together a furniture workshop. I was immediately intrigued, for it wasn’t just any furniture workshop, it was a furniture restoration workshop with none other than Anurag Kanoria, owner of The Great Eastern Home and respected Antique Collector.

Shonali is very committed to the cause of conservation and restoration and felt that that Indian students lacked practical, hands-on experience, which she realised after studying at Domus Academy in Milan. She also felt there is no focus on history and India has a vast heritage of Architecture and Antiques, which hasn’t been explored in the contemporary context.

She planned this workshop collaboration with Gyaan Exchange and the minute it was up on the website I signed up immediately. (I was the first person to sign up, yes I was!)

She wanted to do a workshop that focuses not only on theory, but also on techniques and bring that to the layman’s terms so that he can work on a variety of Do-It-Yourself projects without having to rely on carpenters and painters to do so. Her focus was to make carpentry less daunting and to understand why and how certain techniques are used and in what circumstances. It was this premise that led her to Anurag Kanoria.

Kanoria is a well known Historian and Antique Collector. What really stands out is his passion for conservation and restoration.

He believes in the need to preserve and not commodify our heritage. His open door policy allows you to come and wander around his sprawling godowns of thousands and thousands pieces of antique furniture and collectibles.

The Setting:

The gorgeous large hall in the sprawling properties of The Great Eastern Home in Byculla. If you haven’t been here yet, I suggest you do, especially when the weather makes everything lush and green. pic 01

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The Task:

Fixing this 1960 replica of a much older, possibly Victorian antique. pic 03

The Method:

First things first, we have to clean up the broken part of the chair. For this we used a chisel to smoothen the portion on to which a new leg would be fixed. pic 04

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The next step is to getting the new leg ready which involves creating a mortise and tenon joint. A portion of the leg is sawed off and chiseled to create a step thats fit the leg perfectly

onto the chair. Once the leg fits we use an adhesive and nail the leg onto the chair with a hammer. pic 06

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A coating is used to fill in all the small gaps and then we use sandpaper to smoothen it out. pic 11

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Now comes the hard part. We sand the whole chair in preparation for the next step of polishing and painting. (Notice how the boys are no where in sight?) pic 13

Parts of the chair that need to be filled or fixed is taken care of at this point. Once the coating has dried, it is smoothened out with sandpaper and the chair is ready to be polished and painted. pic 14

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And voila! The chair is now finally complete with a brand new leg and a new lease on life! pic 16

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