October 9, 2015 by phicks2012
I have an office chair that I’ve been using for decades now. It isn’t new. It isn’t modern. It wasn’t even new to begin with. Nope, years ago a friend was working remodelling a bank, and along with some other furniture my chair was being tossed out, so he offered it to me and I accepted. Seriously Good Choice!
It doesn’t have buttons orlevers to make it tilt, or to adjust the arms or back. It’s pretty much an antique, and mostly made of solid wood, upholtered, and with a high back. But still, when you lean back, it tilts. When you want it to roll or swivel you just roll it or swivel it without having to adjust it. The seat and back are well-padded, and it’s always been very comfortable. From Day One.
I didn’t fully appreciate that until two months ago when I finally decided to bite the bullet and get it reupholstered. After nearly twenty years (and that’s post-bank) of regular use, being rubbed up against by dogs, and being used (thanks to its rough fabric texture) as a scratching post by cats, it finally had stuffing falling out through gaps in the fabric, and the gray burlap-like unholstery was stained as well as being torn. I promise you that even the cheesiest thrift store would have taken one look and laughed like hell.
So I shopped around, discovering to my amazement that nearly every upholstery business listed on-line was either out-of-business or hours away. Even Angie’s List didn’t help a lot because their reviews are based upon customer recommendations, and they don’t yet have a lot of members in my area to recommend local businesses. I finally did find one though, Custom Upholstery, and only a very few miles away from where I live — and I figured I’d definitely be reviewing them once the work was done.
They gave me a good price, and a better one if I got my own fabric, so I trekked over to OHCO in Covington (great deals) to find something dark (the better not to show dirt) and slick enough not to tempt every cat in six adjacent states to break into my house just to scratch on it.
I never realized how difficult it could be to find upholstery fabric you like when the currenly trendy colors are 70s retro — harvest gold, avocado, and burnt orange — and you truly hated those colors even in the 70s. I zig-zagged for over half an hour between tall racks bearing rolls of fabric either in variations of those colors or with rough textures that practically SHOUTED “sharpen claws here”. I was kind of hoping for a dark blue, dark red, or dark green, jewel tones, but hundreds of trendy-colored but totally unappealing bolts later I had found exatly ONE bolt that appealed to me. Purple with a small diamond pattern. Then, fabric in hand, I delivered the chair to the upholsterer, figuring that while it was in the shop I at least had another desk chair to fall back on. Poor choice of words.
On the surface, the secondary chair looked like it would be comfortable enough (See photo — the devil horns are actually invisible). When you pressed on the seat and back padding with your fingers you could feel a little “give”, but when you actually sat in it the padding was thin and “comfort” was not a part of the equation. It wouldn’t tilt back unless I used the levers to set it at a permanent tilt. It would swivel, but moving the chair foward and back practically required hitching it up to a tow bar or a wench — probably partly because it had five casters as opposed to four, and because all of them stuck. When I leaned against the back it felt as though something roughly the size and shape of a crowbar was pressing into my back! Also, my pelvic bones felt as though they were grinding into a hard surface, my butt would go to sleep within five minutes of sitting down, and even sitting on a pillow and putting a pillow against my back didn’t help a whole lot.
In fact, it pretty much didn’t help at all.
So, eight endless weeks later my chair (the REAL one) still isn’t ready to be picked up, and within days of the original drop-off I was ready to risk my back hauling a lazyboy up a flight of stairs from the basement so that I could work on my computer and watch TV without fidgeting, shifting constantly, and cursing the chair manufacturer to the tenth (and heretofore unmarked) circle of Hell reserved for the designers, manufacturers, and sellers of sadistic furniture.
If that circle of Hell doesn’t actually exist, it definitely ought to. Just sayin’.