Wednesday, February 15, 2012

While I Was At Work Today I Got An E-mail From Mr. Modtomic Reader "Johnny!". He Needed An ID On This Great Bentwood Chair And I Was Glad To Help. Status: But That's Not All!

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Right, Johnny! (you might recognize him through his comments here on the blog) sent me a couple photos this afternoon while I was at work hoping I might be able to identify this really nice chair he had.  I recognized it right away!  Kodawood!  I don't have any information on who designed it or anything but these are very popular chairs and are highly sought after.

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Turns out this chair was snatched up from another scavenger Waaaayyyyyy out in the far west

 county on the other side of St. Charles.  Johnny!'s pop spotted this jewel at a Sanford-n-Son

 type place apparently in a pile of trash!  He called Johnny! to take a look who knew trash

 from treasure and the chair was had for just a few bucks.  After a number of e-mails I

 discovered that Johnny! is no slouch with a handful of sandpaper and stripper.  Not that kind

 of stripper....stain stripper.  Get yer dirty mind outa the gutter.  He totally broke this beauty

 down, stripped and refinished the frame and shells.  Talk about a good eye, remember...he still

 doesn't know that this is a genuine Kodawood Clam chair!  It's just a cool bentwood chair that

 he thought was nice enough to breathe life back into!

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Then he and his pop redid the upholstery.  His plan was to go with real leather by scavenging

 the thrift stores for a nice leather jacket to use as a donor but that turned out to be more

 difficult than he thought.  In the end he and the old man dropped in on a Joann Fabrics to scam

 on all the ladies workin' there...not really.  They went to procure a nice piece of remnant vinyl

 that looks great.  His dad used to work for Ford in Hazelwood (Not too far from the

Modtomic Ranch!) during the eighties in the cushion room so Johnny! had a good head start in

 the reupholstering effort.  The old man took care of the piping (using Johnny!'s grandmother's

 sewing machine! Three generations effort!) while Johnny! took care of the reconstruction and

 recovering aspects.  Looks like there was a lot of work and a lot of fun had taking care of this

 great chair!


I wish there were more before pics to see. It's hard to think about taking those pics when you

 start a project like this since we get so focused on how good it's gonna look when it's done!

Johnny! has inspired me to ad an E-mail contact to my blog for anybody to ask a question or

 submit blog material.  This started out as just a quick question and quickly turned into me

 begging for more pics and any info he cared to share!  I asked Johnny! if he was going to flip

 this chair but he said it's a keeper. I don't blame him. He has a great story and probably a

 good memory in rescuing this chair with his dad...AND a cool vintage modern chair to sit in

 and show off! What do ya think...did Johnny! do good?


  1. If I'm not mistaken, Johnny!'s 1960s Kodawood chair has been attributed to Seymour James Wiener (with a lot of "inspiration" from a 1950s Hans Olsen chair). Johnny! and his dad did a great job restoring his!

    1. Hi Dana. Gah! I just stumbled across that attribution looking up a dining room set (supposed to be a Henredon Heritage but I can't find a comparable) on Midcentury Modern Finds. I was going to update the posting but ya beat me to it! Good job. Thanks Dana!

  2. I can see where Grant Featherston got his scape chair inspiration from or vice versa? She's a beauty!

  3. Yum. White vinyl and warm wood and gorgeous curvy shapes. I'm in love.

  4. Nicely done, Johnny! They vinyl...and that piping!...looks amazing. Also, Mr. Modtomic, thank you for the email link. There's been a couple of times I've wanted to email you about something I've picked up, but didn't because I didn't want to go through the CL ad to get to you! This is very helpful for future reference!

  5. I'm surprised they weren't marked. We had a set of six of these beauties a few years ago at my wifes store and after a little cleaning and tightening they found a new home quickly!

  6. That chair is GORGEOUS. Love the white. What a find! And how handy to have a dad who did seat cushions! Great job and great find!

    1. Great chair, but let's be honest there are a couple of issues I see right off the bat that make this chair, in its current situation, less than perfect.

      1. There aren't 6 of them just like it.

      2. They don't belong to me.

      But other than that they're fabulous.

  7. Oh that's gorgeous - congratulations Johnny! - well done.

  8. Thanks folks, looking forward to the next project.

  9. Any ideal how they separated the wood backs from the upholstery? I think they might have to be preyed off as I see no other way. Thanks

  10. Help! I have one of these beautiful chairs and the vinyl needs to be replaced! I’m having trouble finding someone that will be willing to touch it.

    1. My advice: hit up your local Vintage Modern shop for a referal to someone who works on these kind of pieces regularly. Lots, if not all, of the pieces you see at the local shops have had SOME kind of work done to them to make them as beautiful as possible for you! That's why they ain't always so cheap!