How to Spot a Fake/Replica CH24 Wishbone Chair
This is about how to spot a fake/replica CH24 Wishbone Chair. If a picture paints a thousand words then a chair must be able to recount myriad stories. That is what the Wishbone Chair has been doing for generations. Designed to become part of our lives it has been laying witness to our stories ever since.
- Designer’s Legacy
- History & Inspiration
- How to Spot a Fake/Replica CH24 Wishbone Chair
The Wishbone Chair, also known by its number title CH24, was the first chair designed by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn as long ago as 1949. And since its introduction to the market in 1950, it has been in production ever since. Danes now call it the Y Chair and since Carl Hansen & Søn commissioned it, it has assumed the place of a timeless modern Danish design icon.
What the Hansen company was seeking was a light, sculptural chair. The aim was to supplement heavier forms of furniture that were very popular at the time. But what Wegner designed turned out to be a challenging chair to manufacture. It has a solid wood frame that is bent with the help of steam. This process demands intricate craftsmanship and intimate knowledge of wood joinery.
Since its launch, the Wishbone’s seat has been hand woven from a durable paper cord. This is a tough material developed during the Second World War as a jute substitute. The sculptural Wishbone uses the best natural materials. The intention is for the chair not just to last for many generations but also to offer outstanding sitting comfort.
The Wishbone has a unique form. And as a result, Danish furniture designers came to consider Wegner as one of the most creative, innovative, and prolific of their ilk. Indeed Wegner is often called the master of the chair. He created nearly 500 of them throughout his lifetime from April 2, 1914 to January 26, 2007. Many of his creations are masterpieces, but everyone agrees the one that stands out over all the others is his Wishbone Chair.
What is at the centre of Wegner’s important legacy are his concentration and focus. He achieves the feat of bringing the inner workings of furniture to the outside. By adjusting the chair’s soul he makes it easier to appreciate the functionality and simplicity of his art.
Wegner came from a background as a cabinet maker. And when he began designing the Wishbone, he chose to bring the armrest and the backrest together into one piece. The Y-shaped back gives stability to the top which is bent with the aid of steam. The aim was also to guarantee comfortable support.
According to Wegner’s original design, it takes 14 individual and separate components to construct a Wishbone Chair. In total, the makers use 100 processes to chisel, carve, shape and finally sand each piece of furniture. This means an extra three weeks or so time spent even before the makers can start assembly.
These 100 steps are generally done by hand. The seat has to be hand-woven. On its own, it takes a skilled craftsman about an hour to create. The task uses around 120 metres of paper cord. And the cord’s stability and durability assist the chair to be long-lasting and to remain strong. There is no doubt the Wishbone Chair is both comfortable and stable. It is both elegant and distinctive.
This chair is considered by many to be the perfect chair. It has been thought of this way from the outset. Indeed, the Wishbone Chair captures all the essentials of contemporary Danish design. It fascinates for many reasons. Not least of these is that it is one of the most iconic chairs of modern times.
As a result, it is among Wegner’s most celebrated works. It is no surprise that there have been many unscrupulous copiers of the classic. To help you spot replicas, copies and fakes here are some tips to help you.
It was in 1944, that the Danish designer Wegner began his series of chairs. What inspired him was portraits of historic Danish merchants relaxing in Ming Chairs. He took as his design reference the ceremonial Quan Yi seat of the ancient Chinese Ming and Qing dynasties. Then the Dane sought to refine this historic design. He did this by creating a lightweight and simple chair. One that was devoid of the ornate carvings of the original. From this Wegner developed one of these chairs into his Wishbone Chair.
The son of a shoemaker, Wegner attended Copenhagen’s School of Arts and Crafts. And after this, he launched his career as an architect. Within three years, Wegner started his own design office. His work soon attracted the attention of Carl Hansen & Søn.
Carl Hansen & Søn were already perceived as purveyors of the very finest in contemporary furniture design, but they further boosted their reputation with the release of the Wishbone Chair.
How to Spot a Fake/Replica CH24 Wishbone Chair
The structural integrity of this CH24 design relies on good quality, sustainable Danish timber. This is then combined with strong attention to ergonomic detail. There is also powerful effort in applying a superior finish. The chair is free of knots. It uses curved, tapered dowels that almost belie the chair’s strength. The Wishbone looks graceful, delicate and all but weightless at the same time.
With strong back support, the Y and the curved top rail are what give rise to the Wishbone name. The function that the Wishbone offers is both seamless and magnificent. Its design means the sitter’s changing position is accommodated however long he or she is sitting down. Because of the durability of the materials, including the paper cord, this is a seat that is guaranteed to last for many generations.
Wegner always held the user’s experience as being fundamental to the design of his chair. The chair he aspired to design was one that would become an integral component of the fabric that would make up the life of any owner. This gives each chair its sense of identity.
One fresh new take on the chair, which should not fool you as you work out how to spot a fake/replica CH24 Wishbone Chair, has been the introduction of colour. Recent additions to the CH24 family include bright blues and vibrant yellows. They add an extra dimension to the Wishbone story.
To spot a fake Wishbone Chair in an instant you should start by studying the curved top rail. This should be made from a single solid piece of timber that has been bent with the aid of steam. It means that a genuine Wishbone Chair has no joins. The seat of a real Wishbone is made with curved and tapered dowels.
The seat is among the most tell-tale signs of a fake Wishbone Chair. A genuine Wishbone seat is tightly and uniformly woven. It is made with a highly durable paper cord. Fake replicas are made from synthetic cord or even cheap nylon.
A real Wishbone Chair should have an even finish. This incorporates both colour and quality. There should be no knots. This is a chair that is made from good quality materials that are sustainable. The timbers used are Danish oak, ash and walnut. Fake chairs invariably exhibit knots. There is also an uneven finish in the timbers used.
The adage that if something looks too good to be true, it’s not likely to be true, stands for genuine Wishbone Chairs. If someone is selling a Wishbone Chair too cheaply it is not going to be a real Wishbone Chair.
The newer versions of Wishbone Chairs should feature a label on the underside. This should be at the back. And it should display the Carl Hansen & Søn logo, along with Wegner’s signature, and the individual chair’s serial number.
There are other versions of Wishbone Chairs that have sticker labels. And even older ones display a branded Carl Hansen & Søn mark. If there is no label or the chair otherwise looks suspect, be very wary.
To make sure that what you are looking at is the real deal then it is always worth taking out a tape measure. A genuine Wishbone Chair should match these specifications:
Seat Back Height: 75cm
Front of Top Rail Height: 71cm
Seat Front Height: 45cm
Front Legs Ground Width: 55cm
Depth – From Front Leg to Back of Curved Rail: 51cm
If that all matches up then you are looking at a genuine Wegner Wishbone Chair.