How do I Choose the Best Antique Dining Chair?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 26 January 2019
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There are many things to consider when buying an antique dining chair. You should make sure the feet are evenly worn so the chair will sit level and not wobble. If the seat is constructed from a woven material such as bamboo or cane, check to see if there are rotten or broken fibers. Look for large cracks in the chair, especially in the seat, back, and legs.

Turn the antique dining chair upside down and inspect the tips of each leg. Look for uneven wear on the feet, which could cause the piece to sit unevenly. If there are nicks, cracks, or bubbles on the feet, you may want to consider putting rubber tips on these ends for stability.

A vintage dining chair might be made of cane, bamboo, or wicker. Make sure the fibers are securely woven and not brittle. If the material seems to be rotten or loose, you may need to have that section repaired by a professional furniture weaver. Consider the cost of having this done before you make a selection.

Inspect the piece for signs of large cracks. Vertical cracks in the legs could cause the piece to be unstable, so an antique dining chair with cracks should be discarded. Sit in the chair to make sure any cracks in the seat, back, or arms of the chair do not pinch you. If so, try to determine whether the crack might be easily filled in with wood putty so this will not happen.


See if all the pieces are securely attached. Many vintage chairs were made with wood glue rather than nails or screws. This glue can break down over time, causing sections to come apart. If separation has occurred, think about whether or not it might be easy to re-glue the pieces or if fasteners should be added.

Ask about the history of the antique dining chair. Try to find out how often it was used and whether or not it was well cared for. If the piece has been in storage for some time, ask the dealer if it has been exposed to the elements, as this could cause the wood to rot prematurely.

An antique dining chair can add a touch of nostalgia to any home. Scouring antique malls and flea markets for the right one can be an interesting and educational experience. A persistent effort can pay off with a piece that not only looks good, but is practical and comfortable as well.



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