Weekend Finds: Selig Side Table and More

The truth is, I haven’t been finding a lot of great stuff lately. In fact, I haven’t been finding much of anything. I blame the polar vortex for keeping amazing vintage pieces in hibernation (or at least for keeping me in the house, unwilling to go out and look for them). But when I can’t find stuff I take joy in seeing what other people have found and I was particularly excited to discover that my mom had found this:


Albeit a little worn, this teak side table designed by Poul Jensen for Danish furniture maker Selig is still quite a thing of beauty. She confessed that the first time (or possibly several times) she saw this in a thrift store window she looked right past it, dismissing it due to condition. But the sculpted edges of the top stuck in her mind, prompting her to do a little research and then head right back to the store.

Refined sculpted forms are a hallmark of Danish design

Refined sculpted forms are a hallmark of Danish design

Fortunately, it was still there when she got back to the store, which is astonishing considering the low $12 price tag. A quick look at the underside of the table revealed that it is indeed the real deal.

IMG_4630Since the table is teak, the wood should look like new again after cleaning, a light sanding and a fresh application of teak oil. But then there’s that blasted caning on the bottom shelf.

IMG_4624Or I should say the total lack of caning on the bottom shelf. It should look like this:

Image from Arrayo Artifacts

Image from Arrayo Artifacts

Fortunately, I’ve got a go-to wicker lady. She’s a wicker wizard when it comes to replacing or repairing wicker, rattan and caning. It won’t be cheap, but it will be well worth it.

While I was visiting my parents this weekend, I got to see another of her finds, this amazing side chair:

IMG_4632 Though it may not have the pedigree of a Dane, it’s still a pretty awesome sculpted wood chair with a real leather seat. Not too shabby for just a few bucks.


But I think my favorite part might be the metal maker’s tag on the bottom of the chair. Who knew Dictaphone made office furniture?


Although I’m sure I’ll still get the occasional “is this something?” call or email from my mom, I’m pretty confident she’s developing a good eye for mid-century design. I’m a little jealous of these finds and I’m curious to see what she’ll discover next.

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  1. Rena
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Hi Snag Team,

    Because it was this particular post that made me discover your great blog, I thought I’d chime in with my own story about this same Poul Jensen table. I got it in June, and it was the first MCM piece I’d ever bought. I loved the carved woodwork, but my table was just as scruffy as Austin’s mom’s table. Mine had been heavily waxed (not helping!) and all of the caning had been replaced with a green fabric sling.

    With a beginner’s enthusiasm, I stripped all of the finish with methylene chloride, then applied Watco oil. I love Watco, but the table still lacked that sweet teak glow. Then, I found great advice here: http://www.modernchairrestoration.com/faq/ . Somewhat grumpily, I stripped the table again with methylene chloride, and then I treated it with many coats of Star-Brite teak oil. What a difference! That gorgeous teak glow finally emerged.

    Next, since no one in my area seems to do chair caning, I got out some library books on basic chair caning. I also spent a few hours with some yarn and online photos of the table, experimenting with how to do the original caning pattern. Then, I scrounged for the best close-up photos I could find of the caning on this model of table, and sent them to http://www.franksupply.com/ to ask what products to buy. Mr. Frank promptly suggested a 500-foot hank of medium binding cane (5 mm wide).

    Finally, I gave the recaning thing a shot. I was intimidated, but I just worked really slowly, and undid the scruffiest bits to try again. In the end, it took about 6 hours to cane the shelf, but I’m thrilled with how the table turned out. I was only starting to feel comfortable in the last hour or so of caning, but now, I won’t shy away from buying nice pieces with worn-out caning.

    Thanks again for all of your help, Snag Team!

    • Angela
      Posted October 28, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Wow, Rena! You are unstoppable. If it was up to me to figure out caning I would probably have a driveway bonfire halfway in. Now you have that tool in your belt as well. That website is a great resource, thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

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