Restoring a vintage 1920's Koken Barber's Chair
I noticed a good many posting about old Koken barbers chairs on this forum. I just got one and had some questions. First Here are some pictures of the chair:
As you can see, the chair is in REALLY good condition already. It made a gurgling noise when I cranked it halfway up, so I added some 30 weight oil and that works now (although I initially overfilled it and it started leaking oil). The chair itself is rock solid with little corrosion. But I did have some questions which the pictures will hopefully be helpful to you in answering:
- There does not seem to be any "brake" on the chair as far as stopping sideways spin is concerned. Pulling back on the handle does nothing and looking at it, it doesn't seem like it ever did. Does this model come with a braking or locking mechanism?
- Some of the porcellain is worn dull, it there anything short of getting it recoated to making it shine again?
- The green fabric is in excellent condition. So good, I can't imagine it's original - but it doesn't seem to be recent. Does anyone know if the original fabric was leather or a type of vinyl?
- As with most old chairs, the part that received the most abuse - the footrests, have had most of the nickel plating wear off. Has anyone tried using something like Dupli-Color Silver Engine Paint on it as a stopgap measure? I would think it would display OK and would stop rust. And if you wanted to have it re-nickeled, removing the paint would be the least difficult part of the job? I would not think it would reduce the collectible value as it is reversible. Thoughts?
- Note the uniform dull grey color of the sides of the headrest. What was the original color and texture? It doesn't seem like it was ever nickeled. Is that original?
- You might be able to see in the photo that the material on the wooden dowel used to provide friction to feed the headrest covers is cracked. It seems somewhat rubbery. Does anyone know exactly what that material is? What would be a suitable replacement? Does anyone know if the towel "cartridge" used in these units is still made?
- There does not appear to be any mechanism that controls the tilt of the chair. Seems like the person has to lean back or forward and that the movement is just controlled by friction of the bar inside a clamp. Is that the case or am I missing something?
- Last question....how do you remove the pad from the back of the top footrest? I don't see any screws to remove it.
I know that I have asked a LOT of questions. Anyone who can answer even one of them has my sincere appreciation.
J Tischler, Vintage Shaving Shoppe, Antique Straight Razors, Safety Razors & Honing Supplies [URL="http://www.littlestropper.com"]http://www.vintageshavingshoppe.com