Restoring Antique Piano and Footstools

MPF Conservation specializes in antique furniture restoration, furniture repair, antique upholstered furniture, and traditional woodworking.  This page documents various types of antique stools.

Right, a Wooden Piano Stool circa 1890.

The stools might be finished with shellac or might be polychrome with a painted finish; some have needlepoint, cane or padded seats.

In all cases below, we perform the following details using traditional techniques as needed:

  • Disassemble as necessary
  • Inspect parts for viability
  • Clean all parts as needed
  • Repair / re-glue / amend broken parts
  • Replicate missing parts
  • CHOOSE Finish Method below:
  • Historic varnish is amended with several coats of pure shellac and rubbed to patina OR
  • Historically accurate varnish coating with combinations of gums, tree resins, oils, waxes and natural earth pigments is applied  OR
  • Historic painted finish is repaired and amended as needed

American White Oak Arts & Crafts Stool circa 1900

This Arts and Crafts stool was terribly damaged but structurally sound. MPFC completely restored it as per the list above. Fresh shellac varnish was brush coated over a traditional oil-based asphaltum glaze.

New vegetable tanned hand-colored leather was chosen to replicate the period. Period appropriate decorative nails were installed.

Wooden Piano Stool circa 1890

A sentimental family piece, this little stool was in bad condition when we began, but had no structural condition issues other than the seat frame. Details:

  • The hoop-shaped seat was disassembled and joinery restored.
  • The rusted all-thread turning rod was cleaned of oxidation then oiled.
  • The grass caned seat was replaced and coated with an oil-based asphaltum then shellacked with varnish. It now sits again in front of the family piano with pride

It now sits in front of the antique family piano with pride!

American Mahogany Footstool Ca. 1880

Rockers and chairs often have footstools. Severe cracks in legs and stretcher posed failures in the future. Severe conditions of cracks and delaminating tangential grain on moldings was causing losses.


  • Repaired frame issues
  • Damaged shellac varnish appeared clabbered and alligatored from repeated applications of boiled linseed oil; cleaned finish then topcoated with shellac.

Upholstered Objects  includes sofas, loveseats, recamiers, sofa-beds, hassocks and many kinds of chairs. Some lightly upholstered chairs (seat only, as in Dining and Side Chairs or Stools) are found under Wooden Objects. Textiles are found in another section.