Friday, July 3, 2009

Chair #184

—offered through Mitchell Gold

Thing of it as chair bling. The oversized nails make an unabashedly, glamorous and jewelry-like statement. Gold finished nails studs on furniture were once termed "bullions" by 17th-century English upholsterers. In "Close nailing" the heads of the nails almost touched — they were "close" — and sometimes there were two and even three rows of nails. Nails created the scallops around the aprons of chair seats, glittery fretwork patterns, and spiraling shiny curlicues. On trunks and boxes, they even spelled out names. America's colonists liked them for damask and horsehair upholstery. Ornamental nailing was a British and American phenomenon. The Dutch and Spanish were quite serious about their nails. In the 18th century, upholsterers used three separate tools: an awl, to make the hole in the wooden frame; a delicate upholstery hammer with a small business end, and two prongs at the back for picking up individual nails or pulling out old ones; and a driving bolt to protect gilt nailheads from the hammer.

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