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topic 24359

Barber Chair Restoration Problems & Solutions

barber chair 6  barber chair 7  barber chair 9  barber chair 12  barber chair 14
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A discussion started in 2001 & continuing through 2017 . . .

March 22, 2008

Q. I have a Koken Barber Chair form the 1890s to 1930s. It's in many pieces and I have full intent to restore it in time. I need some metal parts for the chair and I am having difficulty locating them (can't understand that, it's only around a hundred years old!) I do have some pictures of my dismantled chair and would appreciate any help anyone out there can provide. What I'm looking for are the metal parts from the wooden leg rest down. I don't need all the parts but I am willing to buy the complete bottom part of the chair if necessary.

24359-1 24359-2 24359-3 24359-4 24359-5

I desperately need help with this project. Any help or references you can provide will be very much appreciated.

Norman Stephenson
Norman's Barber Shop - Raytown, Missouri

June 5, 2009

A. Norman:

There is a seller on ebay that has many of the parts I see in your photo...

This guy helped me a ton with my barber chair.. I'm the guy with the chair right below yours on this site.

Bobby Farmer
machinist - Grand Coulee, Washington

barber chair -6
May 23, 2009

Q. I have been working on this barber chair for two years, plating, leather upholstery, wood carving and sanding... it's come a long way... from what I have seen of other chairs, my chair is early 1900's no metal on the arms, all oak.. I need the parts that will lock it in the recline position, the rod that goes to the leg bracket, and the bracket as well...

Willing to pay any reasonable asking price plus a large token of my appreciation..! Thanks for reading..!

Bobby Farmer
machinist - Grand Coulee, Washington

Ed. note: General hints about obtaining parts are welcome, but No offers please! This is a technical site about metal finishing, not a free ebay, and we'd be swamped overnight if we tried to be. Thanks.

To minimize searching and offer multiple viewpoints, we combined multiple threads into the dialog you're viewing. Please forgive any resultant repetition.

Nickel / chrome plating issues


Q. Does anyone know the best way to refinish the metal parts of an antique barber chair? Also, if plating is the solution what would be the appropriate finish?

Chuck Holman
hobbyist - Walnut Creek, California


A. I replated parts of barber chairs at my shop in Berkeley. If its an real old it's Nickel plated, If late 40's and on, Chrome. If the plating isn't completely shot you can use a chrome rouge.

Jon Diamond
silver plater
Berkeley, California


Q. I work on barber chairs. I would like to know how to nickel some items. Do you have a nickel plating kit, or any advise.


Victor Sepulveda
I restore antiques for my use. - Natalita, Texas


A. For your use, consider "brush plating". Check out the vendor lists at this site. This procedure is extremely operator sensitive. If you want a lot less pain, attend the free school from the folks that you think that you want to buy the equipment and solutions from. Typical is 3-5 days of lecture and hands on. Good equipment makes a huge amount of difference, so look at more than one vendor.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


Q. I am restoring a barber chair and have had all the metal chrome parts replated. However, now some of the parts don't fit; the new plating is too thick. What's the best way to remove some of the plating. File, wet sandpaper, or ?


Brian Lamb
- Pullman, Washington

A. Hi Brian. I think you'll find that chrome plating is harder than a file, in which case a file won't work, of course. Sandpaper [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] on a power tool will probably work -- if you are talking about functional hard chrome plating on shafts, bearings, etc.

The shiny decorative "chrome" plated items are actually a few millionths of an inch of chrome over a nickel plating layer which is thousandths of an inch thick -- so you will lose corrosion resistance and there will be an appearance difference where you sand anything. Hopefully the sanded areas are not visible.

You may wish to look over our "Introduction to Chrome Plating" page. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Q. Question about stripping Chrome Plating I have 3 old (1940's) barber chairs that I would like to strip and refinish. They are a combination of Chrome plated cast iron, aluminum, and stainless steel. I don't want to re-chrome the chromed parts but I do want to strip them of the old bubbling and flaking chrome. I would like to powdercoat and/or use automotive paint on the parts once stripped.

The problem I have is the local shops (Sacramento, Calif) are telling me that you can't just strip the chrome because the stripping process/chemicals can't be neutralized. Therefore you must re-chrome them. I'm no chemist but this seems odd to me because one can usually neutralize a chemical reaction with another chemical. Right? What is the real answer. Can I have the parts stripped and neutralized or what? If yes, then what is the process?

I attempted to sandblast a part with no luck . If this can be done I would then be able to fill and prep the parts before coating with powdercoat or automotive paints.

Thanks in advance for your feedback. I would really like to restore these because they are from a family members shop.

Doug Gale
-Sacramento, California


A. Dear Doug,

The "bubbling and flaking chrome" on your barber chairs is probably nickel rather than chrome. Chrome is usually a very thin coating that protects the nickel and prevents discoloration. Stripping process/chemicals can't be neutralized? You're right, that's ridiculous.

If you would like, I will refer you to companies in your area that distribute our nickel strippers and may be able to give you the names of plating shops that can help you. Note: Since these chairs were manufactured in the 40's they may not have a nickel/chrome finish. During WWII many manufacturers suspended the use of chrome for commercial products, reserving their chrome supplies for the war effort. If the chair parts do have the nickel/chrome combination, the chrome is easily removed by submersion in an electrocleaning tank and applying reverse current for a few minutes. The nickel can then be removed by immersing the parts in the nickel stripper. Hope this helps.

Gayle Coffey
Metalx, Inc.
supporting advertiser
Lenoir, North Carolina
metalx banner

February 18, 2012

RFQ: I am in the process of restoring my Grandfather's 1908 Koken Barber Chair and am searching for a company to re-plate the metal parts with Nickel. Does anyone have a recommendation in the Philadelphia, PA area?

Paul DeLaurentis
- Doylestown, Pennsylvania USA

March 8, 2012


- Forsyth, Illinois, USA

April 18, 2012

Q. I have a 1935 Barber chair. I am trying to either bring it up to a high polish or chrome it. I would like to know how I do it?

Michael Williams
- Atlanta, Georgia

April 19, 2012

A. Hi Michael.

The items in questions are almost surely steel or cast iron so they cannot be polished to high reflectivity. But there are plating shops, probably right in your area, which can nickel-chrome plate these items for you. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

May 1, 2012

RFQ: I like to restore a lot of things and I recently picked up a 1940s barber chair. This will be the first barber chair I have ever restored and being in college I am on a budget. How much would it cost to nickel plate an antique barber chair?

Connor K [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Auburn, New York, USA

May 2012

A. Hi Connor.

It would depend mostly on how much prep work is required and how big an area must be plated, but probably a couple hundred to several hundred dollars, maybe even more.

The cost of plating can be a shock, but restoration plating is time-consuming handwork, and platers don't survive who charge less for their time than a plumber or mechanic. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 11, 2013

Q. Hi,
Am restoring an early Theo. Koch chair. All of the original nickel plating is shot, and the estimates for replating are astronomical. Has anyone had acceptable results with any type of paint?

Ron Bedard
- Seabrook, New Hampshire

Plating Barber Chair Parts Yourself

barber chair barber chair 2


Readers who are interested in trying to follow along through this section, but who are not experienced in plating, should start with our "Introduction to Chrome Plating" before continuing ...

Now that you're back, "LCD" is an acronym for "low current density". When parts are immersed in the plating tank, the electricity takes the path of least resistance, so edges and corners get high current density, and recesses get low current density. The plating deposits differently depending on the current density.

Chrome plating will not occur unless there is a small and carefully controlled amount of "catalyst" in the solution; the 100:1 ratio of chromic acid to sulfuric acid that Tom is using is the most conventional approach for the catalyst.

As discussed in the "Introduction to Chrome Plating", chrome fumes are toxic and carcinogenic, and we do not feel that hobbyists should attempt chrome plating. But those who cannot be dissuaded should at least realize the necessity of the "fume blanket" -- a floating layer of oily specialty fluorine-based chemicals that catches most of the "champagne bubbles" generated by the plating process.

Decorative chrome plating is always preceded by bright nickel plating, and the most common formulation is called Watts Nickel.

The usual temperature of the chrome plating solution is 110 ° F.


Q. Hello all:
I appreciate any help given....
I am having a problem with my chrome giving off a haze in the LCD areas.
It is a standard Hex bath with no additives
33 oz chromic acid
.33 sulfuric
Fume blanket
Chrome plating is preceded by standard bright Watts Nickel.
I have tried varying the temp from 110 to 120 °F, and get the same results. When I turn up the power to the point of making the haze disappear I start to get a slight burning on the edges. It does not matter the base metal as it happens with everything from steel to zinc die castings.
I have sent samples out of both the nickel and chrome and am awaiting analysis.

Thank you,

Tom Haltmeyer
hobby plating - Peoria, Arizona


thumbs up signTom, sorry I can't be of any help with your question, but the texture on the part shown in the photo is interesting, did you make the part?


Lawrence Duckworth
- Cleveland, Georgia, USA


The parts are from a early 1900s KOKER barber chair.
They are the "legs" that go from the arms down to the footplate.

Tom Haltmeyer
hobby plating - Peoria, Arizona


A. Just a shot in the dark but have you checked for any zinc contamination in your chrome AND nickel bath in ppm?

gary joseph
Gary Joseph
Johannesburg, South Africa


Other metals can get dissolved in the chrome plating tank from the parts themselves, earlier plating steps, or acids dissolving the copper wiring; that wreaks havoc on the chrome plating.

In production plating, numerous parts are hung on a single plating rack and carried from tank to tank. It is possible for a part to fall off the rack and sit on the bottom of the tank slowly dissolving.


A. I have had High Iron in my chrome bath lower my efficiency of my chrome bath and cause the same problem. One source of either Zn, Cu, or Fe could be parts in the bottom of your tank.

Chris Snyder
- Charlotte, North Carolina



The earlier layer of nickel plating, if old rather than freshly plated, can oxidize to where it is difficult to chrome plate. Rudolf is suggesting that a different catalyst (fluoride based instead of sulfuric acid) might help address the problems.

A. Hello,
It looks like you have some passive nickel or your chrome bath doesn't activate enough. Try a mixed catalyst bath.

Rudolf Kempf
- Haan, Germany


thumbs up signI finally got it all fixed. :)
My leveler was very low in one bath and gone in the other in my nickel. I has also learned that I should use a ratio of 5:1 brightener/leveler when making adds to the nickel bath. (I use a lot of auxiliary anodes for restoration work and it was killing my leveler)
I also needed more current in the chrome.
So ... all is well now.

Tom Haltmeyer
- Peoria, Arizona, USA


Belmont Barber Chairs

June 16, 2009

Q. I have purchased an old Belmont barber chair. I want to restore it; it reclines but does not swivel or raise lower. I can't find parts or manuals. It appears to be a Koken classic design.


Tim Leslie
Hobbyist - Menlo Park, California

July 4, 2009

A. Try kicking the handle forward. Sometimes they stick when they have been pulled back too hard. I use these chairs on a regular basis. In fact one of mine I got at a discount because the arm was froze in position and I knew all I had to do is kick it forward. Unless it's just moving forward and backward and still not working.

All the way forward and down holding it there lets it down. pushing the lever forward and down and up raises it, and just halfway down/forward lets it swivel. to lock in position lightly pull back to the upright position.

Hope that works

William Farrell Stephens II
- Saint Johns, Florida

May 20, 2010

A. For the guy with the chair that does not go up or down, check the oil level and lubricate all of the parts in the handle.

Steve Hicks
- Ludlow, Massachusetts

February 7, 2010

Q. I am restoring 2 Belmont barber chairs. All good except hydraulic parts (small spring loaded valves). Can anyone help with supplier of parts & type of oil & volume of oil?

Murray Badenoch
Barber shop owner - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

February 10, 2011

A. Hello there, greetings from Toronto, Canada. That looks like a beautiful chair! I have been doing research on Belmont barber chairs and recently purchased that exact chair but with red leather. I really love that design, and I'm interested to know how your repair went? Can you post any finished pictures? Also, it may be too late but a friend advised me most chairs will take about 2 liters of unleaded motor oil.


Jason Chong
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

August 10, 2012

Q. Hi all I am looking for a chrome ring for an old Belmont barbers chair pedestal.

Allen Yee
- Honolulu, Hawaii

November 13, 2013

Q. My Belmont chair won't recline.

Charles Gaines
- Bellflower, California

December 3, 2013

Q. I have Belmont barber chair from the 60's and it will not recline any ideas what is the cause and how can I fix this. I loosen and tighten the springs on the side but still not reclining.

Dario Ciutti
- Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

March 17, 2014

Q. Can metal Antique barber chair parts be welded? My name is John and I'm thinking of buying two Takara Belmont barber chairs. both chairs have the long arms broken in half -- the arms that attach to the foot rest. Does anyone know if this type of metal can be welded?

I cannot find the parts to replace them. The serial numbers are 60819 and 60820 I believe; if I'm reading the serial numbers right they were made 1960 August 19th and 20th

John Ens
tattooist - Barrie Ontario Canada

March 18, 2014

A. Hi John. These parts are probably cast iron, which is difficult but not impossible to weld. If you google "weld cast iron" you'll get the picture. But you might also consider having it brazed, since this is perhaps a little easier. So also google "braze cast iron". If you find a good weld shop, I think they'll be able to do it. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

barber chair -19
January 15, 2015

Q. My dad has a 1970s era Belmont barber chair, but the fluid seems to be low and we can't figure out how, where and what type of fluid to install. We would be grateful to receive a reply with any help. Thanks.

Victor Ruiz
owner of chair - bakersfield, California USA

April 12, 2015

Q. Looking for a 1950's Belmont pump handle. Any help would be appreciated. Cheers.

Bill Majovsky
winter project - Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

Paidar Chairs

April 28, 2010

I have a Paidar 1920's porcelain barber chair that I'm restoring and accidentally broke the bracket that connects the back rest to the arm rest on the rights side if you're sitting in the chair. I tried to weld it but it just won't hold. Where can I find a part for sale?

Please help.

Todd Oleson
HOBBYIST - Macomb, Michigan, USA

June 28, 2010

Q. My son has a 1960 Paidar chair that he took apart to have the parts chromed. After four years he is trying to assemble it. Does not remember how all the parts go back together. Have tried to find a repair booklet but no luck. Would appreciate any help.

George Ranallo
- Overland Park, Kansas

July 1, 2011

Q. Paidar chair but original numbers plate missing from seat. Not sure of year and need same before I head in to full restoration. All mechanicals work well but appearance is rough. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

barber chair -8 barber chair -9

Dan Stevens
hobbyist - Magnolia, Texas, USA

June 28, 2014

Q. Final result of plating and restoration project (July 2011 original post).

barber chair -8 after

Dan Stevens [returning]
Hobbyist - Magnolia, Texas

June 2014

thumbs up signWow!


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 17, 2012

Q. Hello I have a Paidar chair. The hydraulic pump seal appears to be bad. When I try the pump, the chair will lift about an inch, I hear the pressure vent off and the chair drops back down. I was wondering if anyone knows how much trouble it is to repair the seal and where do you buy the parts? Also, how do you check the oil level in the chair and where is the oil added? What type of fluid do you use in these chairs?

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Brian (Michigan)

Brian Miska
- Bay City, Michigan

July 25, 2012

Q. What does my missing footrest even look like? I've done tons of research online and I can't even find the same type of Paidar chair I have.

Connor Kilmer
- Auburn, New York, USA

April 14, 2013

Q. Hi,

I am a pedal car collector. I have come across a pedal car that was used as a barber chair seat. I know the manufacturer of the pedal car but it also had metal tags on it E Paider. I did some research and found that he made barber chairs. So far so good!

pedal car barber chair

The car is the easy part for me. I have an avid collector. However, the barber chair is a new and exciting area. I am missing the base with hand pump. (is that the correct terminology?).

Here is my specific question. Are all the bases interchangeable, or did each company have specific kinds?

Can I just buy a beat up barber chair from the 20's and be on my way? Any help is greatly appreciated. Rick

p.s. For a change of pace, here is my pedal car website for those interested:

Richard LeRoy
- Zimmerman, Minnesota

October 13, 2013

Q. Hi! I'm restoring a Paidar chair and I have it all back together except I can get the footrest on. It's parts are just a steel cylinder like the shape of a large pill that it seems should slide into a hole on the chair where the foot rest goes to hold it in place and allow it to swivel. Problem is it won't fit. Does this make sense to anyone?? Help would be much appreciated. Driving me crazy! Thanks!

Whitney Garside
- Victoria, BC, Canada

November 20, 2013

RFQ: Hi, I am looking for a Paidar right long arm (Part 507R) for a chair that I am restoring. The part needs to in good condition, i.e., plate able or already plated. If you do not have one can you recommend sources that might. Thanks.

Jeff McIntyre
- Clayton California

Ed. note: Sorry folks, but this site is only for the PUBLIC exchange of tips and camaraderie. We can't put people in private contact with each other, nor be a free E-bay or a Craigslist as we don't have 1/100 of the computer horsepower or manpower we'd need. Apologies.

September 3, 2014

Q. Looking for manual on the disassembly and restoration of hydraulic cylinder on 1948 Paidar chair; and was the chair normally chrome, or nickel plate?

Robert Lloyd
engineering - San Clemente, California USA

January 28, 2015

Q. I just purchased two identical mid-1950's Emil J Paider Barber Chairs for my barber shop. I have a slightly later model barber chairs that are perfectly working and being using at my shop. We are expanding and want to add the chairs just purchased but they need work, I've done some research and there are four Barber Chair refurbishes near me in the central New Jersey area. Yet the cost of restoring theses chairs are cost prohibitive one restorer is very expensive specializing in custom work, the others have slightly better pricing but one reupholsters sends out the metal parts for refinishing (chroming), the other does the metal refinishing and sends out for reupholsters, finally the last guy has done some barber chairs but specializes is antique restoration.
The average cost of restoration is around $1700 for chrome refinishing and repair, and $300 for reupholstering for a total of $2000 per chair, not including what I paid for the chair. I'm a small barber Shop with $12 haircuts for me to get a return on these chairs will take 10 years. Can anyone suggest a cheaper Barber Chair refinisher/upholster/repairer that may have better pricing, because after I restore the older chairs I want to send out my current chairs for restoration. Any takers or referrals?

Carlos Garcia
A Cut Above Barber Shop - East Brunswick, New Jersey USA

January 2015

Hi Carlos. Thanks for the interesting insights -- and best of luck. Unfortunately, we've learned from 60,000 threads and 20 years on line that the one thing we can't do is suggest particular vendors. It kills off all hope of finding paid advertisers to keep the site viable because they have to pay for postings recommending their competitors; it encourages phony "plants", that we already receive too many of, whereby people pretend to be satisfied customers and glowingly recommend their own service; and it turns the site into a spam-fest (we already receive more than a thousand spams a day). Apologies! And I hope this site can be of some use to you even though we can't recommend vendors. Best of luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 2, 2015

Q. My son owns a barber shop with two 1960 Paidar barber chairs. He is wondering how to take off the lift handle on one to get it repaired since the knob stripped out. Please help!


Kent Truitt
- Dowagiac, Michigan

April 14, 2015

Q. Hello, I have an early 1940's Padair that seems to have stopped working. The handle will not pump/frozen in place, chair will not go up or down and the chair will not rotate. I love this chair as it belonged to the father of a close friend of mine that died several years back. I would like to get this back into working order. It was last operational about 2 years ago and just sitting ever since. Thanks for reading and thanks for your answers!

Cliff David
hobbyist - Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Koken Chairs

September 15, 2010

Q. I would like to know where or how to fix my hydraulics on my Koken barber chair. I want to make sure it works right before I put it back together

charles jackson
hobbyist - kearney, Missouri usa

September 13, 2011

Q. I have a 1970 Koken barber chair with electric hydraulics and am looking for "up" and "down" pedals. Mine broke and need new ones!

Robyn Autry
cosmetologist - Barnsdall, Oklahoma, USA

November 9, 2011

Q. I have a Koken terminal barber chair and I need the hydraulic pump handle and the bracket that goes from the ankle plate to the tension rod. Please tell me where to find these parts. Also what does the serial #A222400 mean? I greatly appreciate it.

Eric Schimmel
chair restorer - Valley Stream, New York, USA

May 1, 2012

Q. I have a Koken barber chair and need to find the piece that helps lock the headrest. I also need the piece that the tension rod fits into as the piece I have has one of the bracket arms broken. I really don't want to have it fabricated unless I must. How do you date a Koken? Mine is round with partial porcelain arms.

julie shoraga
- normal, Illinois USA

May 1, 2012

A. Go to ebay and find the most beat up barber chair that looks like yours and ask them if they would sell you the parts that you are looking for.

Connor Kilmer
- Auburn, New York, USA

Ed. note: This is a metal finishing site where advice like Connor's is welcome; but we are not set up to be a Craig's List, can't handle the traffic, and can't put people into private contact with each other. Sorry!

Barbershop: History and Antiques

July 12, 2012

Q. I have a Koken barber chair late 1890's oak with a claw nickel plated base. I have seen several chairs like this one but they have the wooden claw base, I have yet to see a complete cast nickel plated base. Chair is in excellent condition but I can't find one to compare due to the cast nickel claw base. Have you ever seen one like that?

Ruben R Luevano
ruben luevano - El Paso, Texas

September 11, 2012

Q. I have a 30's or 40's Koken chair that I would like info on. The hydraulics are not working, could just be in need of oil, foot rest is missing and the base is missing enamel and has a crack running through it. Otherwise it is in great condition, all porcelain enamel is in good shape and the head rest is included. Chair still swivels.


Is it possible to have the base welded and re-enamelled?

Maureen Sless
- Toronto Ontario Canada

December 19, 2013

Q. I want to refinish a Koken chair to get it working for my dad. We pulled the bass from the chair and both the shaft and base are quite dirty.

Koken barber chair-16 Koken barber chair-17

After I clean up all the parts, what is needed to get it functioning again. Do I need oil in the base? How much? Is there any type of rubber o-ring or gasket. I have never taken on such a project.

Shayne Laity
- Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Theodore Koch Barber Chairs

August 27, 2009

I am in the process of restoring a Theo A Kochs' barber chair. Unfortunately the white pedestal base was badly hit or the chair was dropped, resulting in a medium sized piece of porcelain finish being flaked-off from the bottom of the pedestal near the nickel plated ring surround.
I am unsure as the best method of completing this repair as it may be difficult to match the colour of the repair portion with the remaining portion of the original base.

Ceramit jewelry enamel

Would it be possible to obtain a porcelain repair kit and then repaint the entire base with a good epoxied automotive enamel or alternatively use a good automotive epoxy body filler instead of the porcelain repair. Is there an even better alternative? Thank you in advance for any assistance which is greatly appreciated.

William Smith
hobbyist - Chute A Blondeau, Ontario, Canada

August 28, 2009

A. It's going to be difficult to find a paint which will adhere well to porcelain. I'd suggest using body filler to bring the damaged section up to level with the original porcelain, then painting just that spot with color matched paint.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
      South Carolina

September 1, 2009

A. Try Ceramit(TM) paints-special epoxy based paints for porcelain enamel restoration.Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

March 12, 2011

Q. Hello, my name is Teresa. I have just purchased a Theo Koch's chair, not sure of age. I have taken all the leather pieces off and cleaned the porcelain. The metal parts need help, someone mentioned chrome rouge. Please tell me where I can purchase this product and should I use some steel wool first to clean it up a little more? Thanks for your help, I live in Toms River NJ if anyone is near buy that works on these chairs.
P.S. I also think some parts are missing for chair to recline, when I took off leather foot rest it did recline, but something seems off.

Teresa Zaza
hairstylist/salon owner working barber chair - Toms River, New Jersey USA

January 7, 2012

Q. I have a wooden Koch barber chair #c16907. Any way to tell the age or other info?

Richard Fabrizio
- Warwick, Rhode Island, USA

August 28, 2012

Q. What is the best way to clean and polish the porcelain on my 1939 Koch chair? It looks clean but not like a restoration. Thanks

bill groth
- chicago, Illinois usa

February 17, 2013

RFQ: I'm looking for a company or individual to refurbish my old Theo A Koch.
It needs repair on the enamel, new upholstering, and the metal needs blasting. It also needs a foot rest and head rest.
I haven't been able to find anyone in my area and frankly I don't have $5,000 for this project.
Koch barber chair  Koch barber chair 2

Any help would be appreciated!

Sandra M
retired - Wheat Ridge, Colorado

April 27, 2013

Q. I am restoring a 1910 - 20s Koch barber chair. I just started working on the pump and in taking it a part I found a 1 1/2" brass with fins on one end and threaded on the other, also a leather washer. Can anyone tell me were they go? I've look at pictures on the Internet and cannot find it. The plunger has a brass piece in it. I'm going to try to post a picture. Thanks for your help.

John Tabor
- Waxahachie, Texas, USA

Theo A. Kochs 1880 Catalog

August 16, 2013

Q. Hi, I have an old Theo Koch barber chair and I don't know the year of it. Also it's the only one I have seen with white milk glass looking arms and it also has a extra little round seat that pivots from front to back on right side. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.

Dave Phipps
- Paoli, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

November 20, 2013

Q. Hello I have a 1910-1920 Koch Barber chair. I cannot get it to lock in the upright position. If you sit in it you start to lean backwards. Pictures and directions would be greatly appreciated. Can anyone provide some help? All other functions work. Thank you.

Brian Fos
- Missoula, Montana, USA

July 7, 2014

Q. Hi, I have an old Koch chair which I'm restoring. The hydraulics fluid is low; how much does it take and does anyone have a type they like?


Also, there is a bar (seen in picture) under the seat which runs perpendicular to the column, does anyone know what this is for? Thanks,

Alan Shapiro
- Boston, Massachusetts

December 26, 2014

Q. How do you disassemble the pump handle #308 on a Theo A Koch chair?

michael dedona
- westport Connecticut

Misc. Barber Chairs

December 30, 2010

RFQ: My wife has a 1955 barber chair in our home. The bottom leather seat is beginning to split open on the side and the headrest is torn. We would like to have these 2 pieces refurbished. I believe the material is leather. We live in Central New Jersey, so looking for someone in the area that could do this work.

David Miller
collect neat antiques - Jackson, New Jersey, USA

January 26, 2012

Q. Hello, I have a chair whose brake is either malfunctioning or missing. Can anyone help explain how the brake functions and where its locality is? Most appreciated as I am needing this chair in my functioning antique shop.
Thank you.

Tyler Atkinson
Barber - Ridgefield, Washington

February 2, 2012

Q. I have a Barber Chair that has the battening in the seat completely shot. The battening is made of material that I can't locate. It looks like a straw based material. Does anyone have any ideas what I can use or where to get matching material.

Robin Hart
- Susanville, California, USA

July 30, 2012

Q. Hello

I brought this chair in France, at a flea market, it's a "Triumph" (maybe made by Koken in St. Louis). Is there any expert to date it (my feeling is 1920 to early 1930), and to confirm me that's a Koken made chair?

24359-11  24359-12

Regards folks !

Bascoul Charles
- Montauban France

barber chair -13

August 6, 2012

Q. I have an old barber chair that the stop handle does not work on it (right hand chair in photo).

Does anyone know if this is a job I can do or do I need a professional to do? These chairs are extremely heavy and takes 2 big guys to move them. Any suggestions will be helpful or if you know anyone in my area of Arizona that can restore that part please e-mail me.

Dick White
barber shop - Sun Lakes, Arizona

February 10, 2013

Q. I have just purchased a barber chair for restoration and the casting is cracked. How can this be brazed or welded or whatever it may be?

Kevin Orr
- Port Angeles, Washington, USA

Vintage Barber Chair

June 22, 2013

Q. I have a problem with my barber's chair. I have a Weber chair, and when I jack it up, it slowly lowers itself down ... so it's not holding the pressure. Please help.

Marty petty
- Ste. Genevieve, Missouri

June 26, 2013

A. Hi Marty. I don't know anything about Weber barber chairs, but when hydraulics lose pressure it's usually because the seals are bad. As they get old, worn, and dried, it becomes too easy for hydraulic fluid to leak past them.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 17, 2013

Q. Hi

Can I please get advice on how to restore the porcelain enamel finish on an old barber chair.

Thank you & kind regards.

Vincent Stevens
- South Africa

December 2, 2013

Q. Hey guys, I've recently purchased a 1940's Bausch + Lomb optometrist chair. The base size looks much like the barber chairs I've seen of the era and am wondering approx. how much fluid should be used in the base to raise and lift it? It was working slowly when I bought it, but I think the fluid all leaked out during the move. Any help would be much appreciated.

Rusty Hinshaw
- Roxana, Illinois

July 9, 2014

Q. I have a styling chair that the hydraulic lift is not working when I pump up the foot pedal, any suggestions on what to do?

P Hue

July 2014

A. Hi, please start by googling "how a hydraulic cylinder works" so you have a rough idea of what is involved in terms of fluid, valves, seals, etc. This will help you figure out what's wrong.

It seems that little info remains about the hydraulic operations on these old barber chairs but I doubt that each chair maker made their own valves and seals, so if you can find the dimensions on the worn-out parts, you can probably get them from a place like Grainger, McMaster-Carr, or a hydraulics supplier. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 21, 2014

Q. My wife and I recently purchased an old barber chair at a flea market. Neither of us are very handy so restoring it ourselves is out of the question. Does anyone know a restorer near Carroll County Maryland that does full barber chair restores? Thanks for your help.

Greg Favretto
- Finksburg, Maryland, USA

October 10, 2014

Q. Need help with a 1800's Geo. Archer cast iron barber chair. Any information would be great! I know the foot plate is fake. Would love to follow original colours and finishes.
I am in Australia
Love to hear from someone that can help
I also have a Koken oak made in 1903 in mint condition but that's another story :)

Matt gallardo
- Adelaide South australia

Can Powder Coating be done onto Porcelain ?

October 31, 2014

Q. Hi! Enjoy your website,
I'm wanting to know IF Powder Coating can be accomplished over white porcelain? What has to be done for it to work? And what if there's a blemish / scratch / dent, prior to the powder coating?
I want to Powder Coat the Base pedestal & chair arms of a "1909" Theo A. Koch's Barber Chair in a glossy White color.

Thanks for your time,

Mike Lashinsky
Barber Chair restoration & Stone Mason - Greensburg, Pennsylvania U.SA.

How to clean barber chair porcelain and bring it back to a shine?

November 25, 2014

Q. My dad and I are redoing a Barber chair and the porcelain is stained and dingy. (It is an off white color) How would we clean the porcelain and bring it back to a shine?

Chad Broughton
hobbyist - Lake Helen Florida

January 28, 2015

Q. I just purchased two identical mid-1950's Emil J Paider Barber Chairs for my barber shop. I have a slightly later model barber chairs that are perfectly working and being using at my shop. We are expanding and want to add the chairs just purchased but they need work, I've done some research and there are four Barber Chair refurbishers near me in the central New Jersey area. Yet the cost of restoring theses chairs are cost prohibitive; one restorer is very expensive specializing in custom work, the others have slightly better pricing but one reupholster sends out the metal parts for refinishing (chroming), the other does the metal refinishing and sends out for reupholsters, finally the last guy has done some barber chairs but specializes is antique restoration.


The average cost of restoration is around $1700 for chrome refinishing and repair, and $300 for reupholstering for a total of $2000 per chair, not including what I paid for the chair. I'm a small barber Shop with $12 haircuts for me to get a return on these chairs will take 10 years. Can anyone suggest a cheaper Barber Chair refinisher/upholster/repairer that may have better pricing, because after I restore the older chairs I want to send out my current chairs for restoration. Any takers or referrals?

Carlos G [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
East Brunswick, New Jersey

June 22, 2015

Q. HELP: 2 barber chair recline retention brake assemblies!!
Does anyone know where I can obtain 2 barber chair recline retention brake assemblies? I am in Sydney, Australia but am happy to have it shipped from abroad.



Chris Peters
- Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia

July 10, 2015

Q. I need to find two sets of Short Arms for 1950s Belmonts. Does anyone know where I can get them?

George Monroe
- North Carolina

August 23, 2015

Q. I have a Koken Chair from 1920 , a Belmont Chairfrom 1900's, which need some hydronic fluid and basic referbusing. I need to know the approximate value of each chair that's in good working condition. I am having basic restorations done on the chairs because the silver at the base needed silver coating to improve the quality . I am a NY State Licensed Master Barber in retrospect of about fifty years , and these chairs are part of an inventory that was twenty plus chairs . Anyone interested , and can offer advice , I would deeply appreciate it,


Joseph M Jones
- Hempstead LongIsland New York USA

September 16, 2015

Q. I have a Koken Premier Barber Chair (I believe manufactured in 1962) were the Chair Recline Mechanism is not allowing the chair to recline. The Pump/Recline handle of the chair does not seem to be engaging the Recline mechanism. I need instructions on the procedure to correct this problem.

Does anyone have any technical data that would cover this problem?

Any help would be appreciated.

W Wilson
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US

October 14, 2015

Q. My question is how to remove a Emil J. Padar 1930's pump handle. The chair pumps up and holds. The handle will not pull out to release the mechanism to lay it back. And I want to disassemble to rechrome.

Morris Hensley
- DUNEDIN, Florida USA

January 9, 2016

Q. Hi, I'm looking for a (HEADREST). For a yr. 1950 BELMONT model no.5 it has two posts 1-3/4" in. center to center any assistance please?

Michael P Murphy
- Pleasant Hill California U.S.A.

January 10, 2016

Q. I have an old barber chair I bought about 25 years ago, took it apart most of the bolts & screws I cut to remove. How can I find out what year it is or where to find the serial # it's a Koken with the chrome ends on the armrests, where can I order all the screws & bolts for a chair like that??

Ely De Hoyos
- Laredo, Texas USA

May 23, 2016

A. If chair is locked, remove seat, remove jack arm assembly, get a inch and half piece of PVC pipe that will slide down piston arm and rest on top of piston, take hammer and strike pipe, piston should drop down. Be sure to remove most of the oil. Brake has it locked or piston has come up too high and is catching.

mickey taylor
barber - clintwood Virginia us

March 15, 2016

Q. Hello, I need the brackets, that connects the two footplate together. For Koch's barber chair. Thanks Roy.

Roy Zitek
- Redmond Oregon usa

October 6, 2016

Q. I have a mid-50's (I think) Belmont barber chair. I can't lock it to stop it from rotating. It always wants to rotate away from the direction I want to face. Am I correct that rotating the pump up handle should stop the chair from rotating? Can someone point me in the right direction to fix it?

Thanks in advance

Terry Lyle
- Gainesville, Florida

October 13, 2016

Q. Can you figure out a manufacture date be serial number?
Near as I can get is by patent number, and that would put my Koken chair 1903-1911, which is kind of a wide range.

Kirt Davis
- Roy, Utah

November 10, 2016

Q. Hi, I just bought an old Belmont chair and it seems to be missing the break valve or stopper with a 3 in O-ring around it does anyone know where to buy parts or to have them made?

mike connell
- ontario canada

February 27, 2017

Q. I have what I believe is a Berninghaus chair. My issues...
1.The chair back has no porcelain. It has a large headrest groove/saddle in the top. It has a single post headrest.
2. The area where your calves would lay is completely wood covered in Naugahyde. There is no metal framework around the pad. All of this appears to be original.

I am wanting to know what model this is and what is correct and not correct prior to restoring. Any info helps.

Rich Dolsen
- Ft Wayne, Indiana, USA

March 20, 2017

Q. I have a 1931 Emil J Paidar barber chair but it's missing the calf rest and headrest. Other than Ebay and Amazon are there any other sites that I can look to for missing parts for my chair?

Adrian Calderon
- Brigham city utah

April 7, 2017

Q. I just recently acquired an 1920's Theo A Kochs barbers chair that needed some work. I have taken off the cast iron and it is in a finishing shop as I speak to be re plated in nickel. Now, the huge question, the upholstery needs to be redone. The color appears to be a "tanish" color. What I would like to have done is have all the upholstery redone in a red color. Is there a specific red color used? If so, would anyone know the name of that red color? Many thanks in advance.

mark simo
- Bartlett, Illinois,USA

May 3, 2017

Q. I have my Grandfather's 1920 something Koken barber chair. I plan on restoring it as much as my budget will allow. My question is, other than new leather, what restoration details really make a chair pop? I know I will need leather redone as it is old and torn in spots...what is the next best and or cheapest/easiest thing to restore? Also, anyone near the upstate of South Carolina that knows where to find Koken parts? Thanks.

Stephen Allen
- Boiling Springs, South Carolina USA

August 17, 2017

Q. Hello, I'm restoring a 1950's Tamara Belmont chair and need the hydraulic pump arm and mechanism. I'm willing to purchase the bottom half of the chair if I have to. Or if anyone might know or have used a machinist to build parts. If I could get a name or number that would be awesome! No one in my area is interested in helping a girl.

Thank you for your time.

Merina Shearing
Stache Barber Shop Trim & Shaving Co. - Dawson Creek, BC. Canada

September 1, 2017

Q. Are Berninghaus Hercules chair parts interchangeable with Koken of similar model?

darryl brooks
- romeo Michigan

September 3, 2017

Q. What's a good way to clean & polish white porcelain? Just finished working on a Theo-A-Kochs barbers chair. Did what I could afford, few pieces of the cast iron redone (couldn't afford to do all of them however) and had it reupholstered. Just need to work on the porcelain now.

24359-23a   24359-23b  

Mark Simo [returning]
- Bartlett, Illinois, USA

Folks, we've received way more questions than answers -- please try to answer one of the many open questions before posting your own!

There's little point in an endless string of questions if people don't want to actually engage in a conversation :-)


October 25, 2017

Q. I am repairing a Koken barber chair about 1920's is there any other reason why the piston pump will not pull out other than being rusted in? I am under the impression it should just pull out, but it is stuck firm.
Help. Regards Tom.

Tom Eshman
N/A - Shortland NSW Australia

November 2, 2017

Q. Hello,

I am writing from a production company in London. We are making a show about antique restorations and I wanted to ask some questions about an antique 19th century barbers chair we have. We want to know how the head rest may have been contracted as we are missing an element. It is currently a bare shell showing some springs. I have photos and more information if you need.

If you think you could help it would be wonderful if you could email me to discuss further. If not, do you have any contacts who might specialise in this sort of thing?

Many thanks,

Katie Garner <>
Curve Media - London, united kingdom


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