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What I know of the early history of this chair was passed on to me by my father.  The chair was made bespoke in 1825 for my Great, Great Grandfather Richard Crawford Burrowes, who lived from 1792 to 1850.  He lived in New Jersey, likely in Middletown at the time.

Rocking chair before restoration

In the late 1940s or early 50s the chair was in need of repairs, which a friend of my father undertook. As part of repairs, a reinforcing block was glued and fastened underneath to stabilize a large crack in the seat. Under this block, my father told me, had been chalked “RCB 1825”, which was largely obliterated by the repair. I remember seeing most of the "18" and the "R". My mother, in the post WWII spirit of do-it-yourself, then re-painted it. The chair was passed down to me in 2004. It has already seated my son and grandson, the 6th and 7th generations of Burrowes to sit in this chair.

By 2007, partly because of the move to dry Colorado, and partly due to old age, it was time to something about the loose joints. At the same time, much of the original finish was breaking down.

Showing reinforcing block, since removed Deteriorating finish
It was a tough decision, but an antique dealer pointed out that eventually all finishes break down, and at some point they have to be renewed. I had the chair stripped to bare wood, except for the seat bottom. Care was taken NOT to sand out the multitude of dents and dings accumulated over 180 plus years, some of which I am personally responsible for. I disassembled many of the joints and reglued them with hide glue. The crack in the seat was filled with Epoxy after removing the crude block from the underside.
After a new black lacquer finish, I took it to graphic artist Mart Ford, one of the area's best pin stripers and hot rod decorators, for the gold paint, based on pre-restoration photos. I put a clear coat of waterborne urethane over that.
paint detail
And the finished chair
Finished rocking chair
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