Ercol 204 armchair

Ercol 204 armchair – better than the Ercol 203?

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Everyone knows the Ercol 203 armchair as the most iconic of Ercol pieces, but perhaps we should pose the question; Ercol 204 armchair – better than the Ercol 203?

Everyone loves the model 203 armchair which was manufactured from 1953 until 1983 when it was superseded by the model 204, which was made from 1983 to 1992. It is really not easy to spot the difference between the two unless you see them side-by-side. The 204 sits slightly higher than the model 203 – the seat frame is about 6cm higher at the front. And the seat is not quite as deep on the model 204 giving a very slightly more upright sitting position. It is generally though that these changes, as they did not affect the overall aesthetics, were introduced to create a more comfortable chair, particularly given the changing shape of the population since the early 1950s. This makes sense as Ercol made similar changes to the seat of the 370 dining chair in 1987 (renaming it model 870) for the same reasons.

Because the two models are so similar there is a tendency for “203” to become a generic name for both chairs. This can easily cause confusion, particularly as the cushion templates for each chair are different (you can’t mix and match). You will often find an Ercol 204 armchair being sold as a 203. There is also no equivalent of the 341 footstool (as far as I am aware) for the 204.

As far as comfort is concerned this will also be down to personal choice but I must say that I find the 204 by far the more comfortable of the two (although, as far as I am aware, there is no matching footstool for the 204). However there is a 204/2 two seater sofa to which all the above arguments equally apply.

There is one simple way to tell the two apart. The 204 measures 30cm from the floor to the top of the seat frame at the front. The 203 measures 24cm.  The other dimensions for the 204 are:-

Height to top of cushion at front – 43cm

Depth of seat cushion – 62cm

Height of back – 82 cm

Width across arms – 70cm

Depth of chair (from wall) – 88cm

 

Ercol 204 armchair

Ercol 204 armchair

We usually have both the ercol 204 armchair and 204/2 sofa in stock so if you are interested, please get in touch. You will find our contact details below.

 

 

 

 

 

Ercol cushions and covers

Ercol cushions and covers

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Beautiful hand-made cushions and covers for Ercol chairs and sofas. There is nothing that enhances the wonderful simplicity of your furniture more than a set of Ercol cushions and covers from The Andrews Partnership, the UK’s leading specialist restorer and upholsterer of Ercol furniture.

We take great pride in the quality of our cushions and covers. Foam fit cut from our own templates which precisely match the Ercol chairs and sofas. We offer a fabulous range of fabrics from many leading designers and mills. But it is the quality of our workmanship, attention to detail and vast experience that set us apart from all others.

We can help you select just the right fabric; our samples service is second to none. We will send you as many samples as are necessary, we will talk you through all the options. You can visit us in our workshop and spend some time with our fabric books.

This video shows some of our recent work for our customers. Some are conservative and traditional, some a bit more funky and “out there”.

 

No matter what your taste get in touch with us and talk to Penny about Ercol cushions and covers from The Andrews Partnership. If you would like to visit our workshop in East Sussex we would be delighted to see you. Please make sure that you call first to make sure that we will be there. If there are particular fabrics that you would like to see we can also order samples for you ahead of your visit.

 

Ercol furniture restoration - how we finish

Ercol furniture restoration – how we finish

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It seems that every few days I get a question about the best way to finish Ercol furniture as part of a restoration project. I hope that this blog, “Ercol furniture restoration – how we finish” will go some way to answering these various questions.

The first thing to consider is the product that we will use for finishing. Some time ago I published a blog (you can read it here) which explained why hand finishing with oil and wax is a better solution than a lacquered finish. This is true in the professional workshop and it is even more relevant in the DIY environment where spray equipment and facilities will be limited at best. Don’t be fooled by those who say “lacquer must be best because that’s what Ercol used”. This is a nonsense argument. Ercol used lacquer because it is the only commercially viable finish for volume furniture maker. Hand finishing has always been the method of choice for the finest pieces of furniture. And it should be the method of choice for your Ercol furniture restoration project.

A combination of oil and wax is also a far better finishing solution than wax on its own. A paste wax (such as Briwax) will not give long lasting protection to fine furniture in daily use. It is hard to apply well, needs frequent reapplication, tends to clog in hard-to-get-at places and is frequently disappointing to look at.

Our preferred solution, a “high solid” blend of oil and wax is relatively easy to apply, long lasting, gives excellent protection from most day -to-day hazards and produces a finish that looks great with plenty of “feel appeal”. The best commercially available product by far is Osmo High Solid Polyx Oil. I always suggest using the satin clear version (code 3032). This is used by many leading bespoke furniture makers.

Ercol 459 coffee table

Ercol 341 footstool

The Technique

So, if we are going to use Osmo, how do we apply it to get the finish that we want for our Ercol furniture restoration project? Many people will have their own ideas, but this is the system that I have used for many years and I haven’t found a better way yet.

  1. I am assuming that the piece that you want to finish has had all old lacquer finish removed and repairs have been made. You should sand to either 180 grit or 240 grit. I tend to go to 180 on chairs and 240 on large flat surfaces such as tabletops. There is no need to sand further as you will be using abrasive pads later.
  2. Apply a first coat of Osmo with a clean cotton rag (old sheets, T shirts etc work well or you can buy boxes of rags online). You want a generous but not excessive coat. Wipe to remove runs and blobs etc. Leave this coat for about 15 mins until it is tacky to the touch. This is very dependent on temperature and humidity. If it goes too far and becomes very sticky, don’t worry. Small pieces (such as a pebble table) can be tackled in one go. Larger and more fiddly pieces (a 203 armchair for example) are best divided into sections. As a guide I work on an Ercol 203 armchair in three sections (underneath, hoop back and sticks, seat frame and arms) – finish each section (steps 2 and 3) then move onto the next.
  3. Apply a second thin coat with a 320 grit abrasive pad (readily available online – https://www.axminstertools.com/mirka-mirlon-finishing-pads-ax851913). Use the pad as you would sandpaper, working with the grain. This coat loosens the first coat which has gone tacky. Immediately you have finished buff (polish vigorously) this coat. Buffing is hard work – it should make your arms tired. Use plenty of clean rags, turning them over frequently and discarding them when they are covered in Osmo. Stop when a clean rag stays clean. You will get through a lot of rags. This should leave you with a fine smooth finish.
  4. Leave for 8 hours minimum (there is no maximum).
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3. Two coats is the minimum (three coats are better) to provide a good level of protection and should look very fine. In the workshop we apply multiple coats but that’s because we are perfectionists!
  6. Key facts – plenty of rags, buff hard, leave for 8 hours between coats, at least two coats.
  7. Never put wet rags or abrasive pads in the bin. Always leave them to dry flat and then dispose of them. Crumpled up, used rags can spontaneously combust.

I know that people will say “do this” or “don’t do that” – all I can say is that this system has served me (and many very fine craftsmen) extremely well for many years. And whilst it uses modern, environmentally friendly products it is based on very traditional methods of wood finishing.

I hope that you have found “Ercol furniture restoration – how we finish” a useful blog. As always I will do my best to reply to any questions that you might have. You can contact me using the contact form below.

 

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