Monday, August 6, 2007

Rip Van Lee chair is on the way!

Earlier today I received the following email message from Vickie at Custer Furniture in Grand Rapids: "Your Rip Van Lee is done!! My warehouse guy said it is beautiful!!!" I thought only YPR could use that many exclamation points and get away with it. After about 4 years of searching on and off, I finally found the furniture company that has the rights to manufacture the Rip Van Lee chair, originally designed and manufactured by Carl Forslund Furniture in Grand Rapids. I lucked out when I found Carl Forslund Jr's email address on a Google search when he was listed as a board member for 'the Great Lakes Pastel Society' in their newsletter. Carl turned me on to his brother Jon who in turn sent me to Vickie at Custer's. Once the order was placed it only took 12 weeks to complete - much faster than the six months it took to get dad's blue chair. The chair in the photo is from Carl Forslund Furniture's 1959 catalog. The one I ordered is brick red. Hopefully it will be here in another week or two. Stop by and check it out when you can.

59 comments:

  1. Congratulations. They got your chair finished a lot faster than they did ours(it's really Norda's but she lets me sit in it most of the time.)

    How are we going to decide who gets to sit in yours when we visit you in Irvine?

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  2. When you visit Irvine, the chair is yours - 24 hours a day... unless of course, I have a grandkid asleep on my lap.

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  3. It's is appropriate to ask, "how much?"

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  4. about the same cost as my bike, but more comfortable. I'll send you the pricing from Custer.

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  5. Glad you found a place to make 'The Rip'. I'm Blake Forslund's son and have been just wandering the net this morning searching on old names of our furniture. I am still in the furniture business with Grand Rapids Chair Company - we make restaurant and intituional seating (mostly goes into MCDonalds and the like...). Your photos in the Rip are very familiar, as we have many of the same type with my dad and our kids and grandkids sitting/sleeping in there....

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  6. If you can forward me or post the name of the company that made your chair I would really appreciate it. I have wanted one of those for years and now have a home that has a perfect spot for it.

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  7. Here's where to find 'the Rip'
    Custer Funiture
    217 Grandville Avenue SW Suite 100
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    Vicki Wiggers
    616-458-6322
    vwiggers@custeroffice.com

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    1. Do you really have the rip van lee chair and ottoman for sale? How can I order one? quirkfarms@msn.com

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  8. I am looking for some assistance in getting information on the original chair. We live in Grand Rapids Michigan as did my in laws. We have inherited this exact chair (pics available) from my mother in law who purchased it in the late 1950's I believe. It is in perfect condition and we are now just wanting to know what it may be worth. If you have any information it would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks so much.

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  9. I do not have any idea of the value of the chair. If you have photos please send to emetski@gmail.com I'll take a look and let you know what I think the chair is worth.

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  10. I have a rip van lee rocker and upright secretary desk from Carl Forslund (circa 1950's in excellent condition), is anyone interested in this. you can contact me at cswoodie@charter.net.

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  11. I'm so glad I came across this site! My father's chair, exactly like the one in the picture only brown, has worn down so much that the leather is barely holding on, the footrests stuffing fallen all over the floor. In your opinion, would it be better to a.) buy a new, different style chair in hopes he could adjust to the change b.) get it reupholstered or c.) search far and wide for a place that will build a new one? I live in Chicago, my father is in Kalamazoo.

    And advice, and prices, you can give would be extremely helpful! My e-mail address is kat.ramsey@hotmail.com

    Thanks again!
    Kat

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  12. I'm looking to buy a used Rip Van Lee chair that I could use or reupholster. Please contact me at 920-897-4230 or bmorstad@bullheadschools.com

    Thank You,
    Paul

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  13. p.s. My father is paul, I'm just posting it for him.

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  14. I got my Rip Van Lee in 1998. I had wanted one forty years. Mine is red leather (CO-7300) with wildwood legs & arms. In 2005 one of the ottoman legs broke. I have periodically glued it back together, but I would like to get a replacement. I contacted Ms. Wiggers in 2006, but that effort was not successful. It is my grandchildrens' favorite chair.
    Regards,
    -HANK RYAN-
    Norman, Oklahoma
    hank@hgryan.com

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  15. To anonymous and any other for that matter.
    The guy who originally stuffed the RVL chairs is named Elden Bunn. He is an older fellow but he has many pieces and parts left and still re-stuffs the chairs (as far as I know) his phone number is 616-454-1907. He lives in Grand Rapids on Leonard Street. I purchased one a few years ago on Ebay for $350 in horrible shape (leather wise) but in good shape frame wise. Elden re-stuffed and covered it. I think it was about 1,200 for that part so I ended up with about 1500 in it. I am married to one of the Forslund girls and that is how I come about this information. I am always on the lookout for another one of these chairs. And yes to confirm the email above was from my brother in law. Custer Furnature is the place to get a new one.

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  16. I have a Rip Van Lee chair exactly like the one pictured above for sale. However, I recently spent $1,400 to have the chair and ottoman recovered in deep blue velour. It is in excellent used condition. Rarely sat on since it was recovered. I will sell it for $1,000. The chair is currently listed on Craig's List Cape Cod. If you are still interested, email me at bobmaull@comcast.net

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  17. I too have a Rip Van Lee chair that I recently purchased from a thrift store (if you can believe it!!) It is olive green, the label states it was made in 1974. It has a few blemishes, but nothing too serious. I am looking to find out the approx. worth, but there seems to be very minimal info on these...I too posted mine on craigslist (under Grand Rapids, MI) asking for opinions in price, but the best I got in was $125, which I doubt... Love the chair, very comfortable, but with my 4 cats, I fear they will destroy the thing with their hind claws... I don't want it to sit in storage either...oh, the delimma...

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  18. To Anonymous with 4 cats... are you still looking to sell the chair? If so, drop an email to c.sneden@comcast.net

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  19. The telephone number mentioned above should not be called per Eldon bunn's wife,as he has altzheimers and other very serious medical conditions. She asked that her and her husbands privacy be respected. Thank you susanogan@hotmail.com

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  20. I have a RVL chair that my wife got for a birthday gift 35 years ago. I had an Airedale that chewed one of the wooden arm extensions and the left arm leather top. I am interested in repairing the chair and in buying another used one if the price is right. Contact me (Jack) at beyondthescoreboard@yahoo.com

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  21. I actually worked on one today. I was told by the owner that President Gerald Ford owned one. It needed to be freshened up with dye. It came out looking beautiful. It looked exactly like the one pictured above. she also had a Carl Forslund catalog and also owned a Carl Forslund table. What a treat to work on such a beautiful chair and ottoman. The Carl Forslund Company also stuffed them with horse hair.

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  22. I recently came into possession of a Rip Van Lee that is a light beige leather. The structure of the chair is good but the leather has some discolorization in areas. Haven't tried cleaning the leather. What would something like this be worth? I like the looks of the chair but am thinking of selling.

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    1. Please sell to us. Contact anteeks62@Comcast.net

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  23. I have heard the same about Eldon. I worked with him at the factory in the late 70's. I made the buttons for many Rip Van Lee's and others. There is another fella that is still alive that made them during this same time. I have searched the net and think I have found him in FLA - he was rl good at upholstering them too. Check out http://masterdesignsupholstery.com/default.aspx

    If you are having your Rip re-upholstered, the upholster should be able to re-use both the 'white hair' and the 'blue hair' - but both would need to be 'picked' to decompress them (kinda like ratting your hair) - do not re-use the cotton or burlp webbing, but i yours is a later moel it will have 'propex' plastic ebbing which is usually in good shape......

    We never had engineering drawings for things, there were master patterns or full scale drawings done on large sheets of plywood. Those are all long gone when Forslund's was sold in 1989 and then closed by Custer and NuCraft. I personally through some of these things in the dupster, never knowing that some one may want them someday. IF there were omeonce who would take there Rip and backward engineer the frame I know of places that still build these types of frames here in Grand Rapids.

    If you have other Carl Forslund questions, shoot me an e-mail.....

    Good luck with your Rip Van Lee adventures....

    Bil Forslund
    wforslund@hotmail.com

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  24. I am looking for a Rip Van Lee chair. I have recovered several over the years and have a customer who is interested in getting one. It will not matter what the condition of the chair is now. I can be reached through davidlycklama.com. I have some finished products at this web site as well.

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  25. I have a chair that I was told may be a Sleepy Hollow Chair. I would like to know how I could get that verified. I would appreciate any imput, please email me debradew@comcast.net

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  26. I have one of these chairs in good conition that I do not want. If you are interested email me onesunshineday@hotmail.com

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  27. I have an old blue leather Rip Van Lee chair with its tag that says "Genuine Quaint American Furniture Hand Tailored by Plarenu Ltrelman (spelling may be incorrect due to cursive writing--- it is legible but difficult to read) Master Upholsterer for Carl Forslund..." dated 5/68. Can anyone tell me if this was made for Mr. Forslund himself? Or is this how all his labels where manufactured? If you have any info can you email me at findthastuff@gmail.com Thanks

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  28. Only the "by" is hand written in, the "for Carl Forsland" is machine tooled just like the rest of the tag. At the bottom of the tag the date 5/68 is also hand written. Thanks for the info.

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  29. I am 2 RVL chairs with ottomans in the same color as the picture, one is original and one has been recovered. I grew up around Forsland furniture and items and love them. Does any one know where is a good place to find the value of Forsland items? Please let me know. E-mail: thedman1@charter.net

    Thank you,
    Darrel Miller

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  30. I am looking for a blue RVL with ottoman. I may be reached at susanogan@hotmail.com
    thank you

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  31. I have the light blue RVL chair with ottoman that is in great condition. No rips or tears, has wear to the leather color on the ottoman, arms and chair itself. I'm sure if someone wanted to keep it in the original condition, the leather could be re-dyed. My husband is looking buy something more modern and we need to find this wonderful chair a new home. Please e-mail me at aegeler@core.com

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  32. Thank you aegeler. My RVL is on it's way as well!!!

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  33. Thank you aegeler. My RVL is on it's way as well!!! Susan

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  34. Looking for a blue RVL with ottoman. I may be reached at tammerchisholm@yahoo.com. Thanx!

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  35. I recently aquired a light blue RVL Chair & Ottoman, it is in great condition, ha a little wear to it, but a great piece, if anybody is interested in purchasing, feel free to contact me at bige0033@Hotmail.com

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  36. Chair has been sold (bige0033@Hotmail)

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  37. i live in Portland, OR and have had a green RVL chair and ottoman for maybe 15 years, very seldom used, shows no wear but does have a few cat scratches on top of chair. tag reads "genuine quaint American furniture hand tailored by Frederick Vaas master upholsterer for Carl Forslund 11/65. Grand Rapids, Michigan". if you are interested, you can contact me at miket@hevanet.com. thanks.

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    1. Is your rvl still available ? Thank you, john . Near seattle,wa.

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  38. Hey John near Seattle. I have a blue RVL available. Some cat scratches, but fixable. Call Jeff 360-391-0254 or email beatwazzu@yahoo.com

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    1. Hey Jeff,

      Still have that chair?

      troutguy

      troutguy@live.com

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  39. I a blue RVL Chair - after graduation from college in 1962, went to the World's fair in Seattle, and sat in one of the classic blue chairs. I vowed that I would have one some day.
    12 years later, moving after a domestic up heavel, realized that my ship was not coming in, so had to swim out to it. Got the chair, and still have it today. Has moved several times in California, to Washington, DC; Alaska, and now back in California. Not for sale, my grandsons and granddaughters can fight over it!

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  40. I HAVE A RVL CHAIR GREEN LEATHER IN EXCELLENT CONDITION THAT WE PURCHASED IN 1966 OR 67 WOULD LIKE TO SELL IT CALL ME WITH AN OFFER @ 337-540-2773

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  41. We have the RVL, since 1964, in excellent condition. Beautiful!! Does anyone have any of the other things,e.g. dining tables, occasional tables etc. If so contact me at wjg49c@bellsouth.net. Thanks

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  42. I have a "near" RVL chair that my father purchased in the early 1950s. He's from Grand Rapids. It is in the orange leather and will need to be reupholstered. The chair itself is very similar to the RVL with the 5-4-5 rivet pattern, however, the seat area of the chair is smooth and not tufted and the area below the arms on the chair in front are riveted. It has the same rake and pitch of the RVL. No ottoman. If anyone is interested in it, I have it on Craiglist in the DFW area: http://dallas.craigslist.org/ftw/atq/3227988589.html

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  43. My mom bought my father a Rip Van Lee Carl Forslund chair and ottoman for his 50th birthday. She ordered it standing in the Grand Rapids store and we received it in 1981. I just refinished the cherry woodwork exquisitely and had it reupholstered my a master craftsman familiar with these grand pieces and it is STUNNING and looks like complete brand new. 360 degree restoration to showroom new!

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  44. I have a dark maroon RVL that I wish to sell. In pretty good condition. Any one interested contact via email kc97clb@aol.com.

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  45. Hello , I just bought a RVL and it is green and in great shape...aside from the surface marks on the leather from the prior owners cat. I was wondering if any of you have ever redyed one of these chairs and ottomans. I would like to keep the original leather but just give it a freshen up. Thanks!

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  46. Hi Karrie,
    My parents had the RVL chair and the matching rocker in the bright red. I now have them however, I remember my mother sent the RVL back after a few years to Forslund's to repaint it I'm sure the same as redying them.

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  47. Did they make hutches also. Iwas told my hutch is a Carl Forslund hutch

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  48. I found two RVL chairs with ottomans at an antique store in Galesburg, MI. One is in excellent shape, the other needs minor repair to the seat where the leather has pulled apart. If anyone is interested in purchasing them from me, please email blazerdog2@hotmail.com. I will send photos! Love these chairs, however willing to part with them.

    Denise

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  49. I have an original Baby Blue Rip Van Lee chair (probably made in the 60's or 70's) that I am looking to sell. If anyone is interested please contact me at 310 595 5506

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    1. I am interested in purchasing one. Can you send photos and price info mugnjug@aol.com

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  50. I am interested in purchasing a RVL. I am not concerned about condition and realize some TLC may be required. I live in GR, MI and am willing to pick up anywhere in the tri-state area.

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  51. We are interested in purchasing a rip van lee chair and will ship. Please contact anteeks62@comcast.net. Thank you!

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  52. Hi, My aunt had an RVL and I have wanted one since I was a little girl. Does anyone know of one available? I understand TLC may be needed. Thanks, Heidi 989-513-1752

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  53. Hey ya'll...I'm interested in purchasing a RVL chair. If you have one you are looking to sell reasonably, or even one that needs some work...I'm your girl! Please contact me at OoLiveWyreOo@aol.com. Thanks : )

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  54. I bought my husband a Rip Van Lee chair in 1975. the leather on the arms is now separating. Are there places in the Midwest that will fix these breaks. We live in MN.

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