Replacing Woven Paper Cord Seats on Danish Modern Chairs by Neils Møller, Hans Wegner, and Other Designers: PAGE 1


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A Neils Møller Model 71 Chair with a deteriorating paper cord seat. These instructions for weaving a new cord seat will also work with other Mid-Century Møller side chairs such as the Model 75, 77, 78, 79 and their arm chair equivalents. The instructions can also be used for weaving seats for many other Danish Modern style chairs besides those made by Møller.

A close-up image of the broken cords that have been cut by a cat scratching on the surface of the chair.

While this cat damage has not yet cut completely through the cord, it is unsightly.
To begin the process of removing the cord, you will have the loosen the upholstery nails that entrap the cord, so that it can be removed. I use an awl, which I attempt to insert as close as possible to where the "L" head of the nail is attached to the nail shaft.That way, when I pry up on the nail, I stand less risk of breaking this "L" head off of the nail. However, some breakage of these nails is almost a certainty as you are lifting them. You are not trying to pull the nail all the way out, necessarily, but rather to just lift it enough to pull the cord out from under it. I use a wooden mallet to help drive the awl between the nail shaft and the cord.

This close-up shows how the tip of the awl is insert under the nail head. Do no worry about the tip of the awl cutting through the old paper cord, as you are replacing it anyway. Loosen all of the nails before attempting to remove the cord.

When a nail head breaks off, you will have to remove the nail shaft that remains. I use a pair of Vise-Grip pliers, locking them firmly to the nail, and then rotating the pliers back on their rounded head to apply leverage and pull the nail out of the wood.

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Copyright 2009 Thomas Penrose