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Thread: Sylka Dining Chairs: "Low End" or "Production"?

  1. #1
    FredN Guest

    Default Sylka Dining Chairs: "Low End" or "Production"?

    I need some replacement dining chairs, but don't have the budget for handcrafted. I'm considering purchasing chairs from Sylka based on a recommendation, but I'd appreciate expert advice on three fronts.

    1) In another post, you divide furniture into four broad categories: Junk, Low-End, Production, and Handcrafted. Based on the pictures I attached [I know they're not of the exact same chair but I think they'll be good enough], would you put this chair into the "Low End" or "Production" category? Why?

    2) They're built of hard maple, and I'm considering buying them unfinished. Would wiped paste varnish hold up okay to normal use (and for the accompanying table I'll purchase someday)? If not, what do you recommend as a more durable finish?

    3) They don't have any distributors near me (I live in NE Virginia), so I can't see if the chairs I want are comfortable. But (despite the mass-produced nature of the chairs), the company has no return policy: if I buy the chairs and there's no defects, I'm stuck with them. Is this unusual or concerning to you?

    Thanks in advance! We've been looking for months and months and can't find *just* what we want....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Alexandria VA

    Default Re: Sylka Dining Chairs: "Low End" or "Production"?

    I'm a bit confused, is this a kit chair? If so, then you're in for nothing but problems unless you extensively modify the kit. Chairs are a high stress item, unlike say a dresser or an end table. They have weight on them and are scooted across the floor when loaded and as such, they have to have strong joinery to survive that stress. That chair in the kit uses just a basic glue bond (I assume) to hold it all together and 9 out of 10 people who assemble that kit won't glue the joints correctly and the chair will fail.
    A mortise and tenon chair has to be pinned to hold, and the glue joints clamped for 24 hours. Do that and the chairs will hold decently - but you have to drill holes for the cross pins and those tenons look barely long enough. If the joints are held by dowels you glue in, forget it.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  3. #3
    FredN Guest

    Default Re: Sylka Dining Chairs: "Low End" or "Production"?

    Thanks for your expertise! The chair can be ordered "semi-" or "fully" assembled ... I included the "semi" picture so you could see the construction. I presume they strengthen the tenons using the grooved corner stretchers (or whatever those are called) glued into the corners and screwed into the legs. But yeah, it looks like it'd be a tough time pinning the tenons in (though I'd give it a shot if I buy them!)

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