Barber Chair Restoration Problems & Solutions
Click thumbnails for stories and larger graphics
A discussion started in 2001 but continuing through 2018 . . .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.
- 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.
- Auburn, New York, USA
April 14, 2013
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!
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: ibuypedalcars.com
- 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?
A Cut Above Barber Shop - East Brunswick, New Jersey USA
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, P.E.
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!
- 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 ChairsSeptember 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 togethercharles 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
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!
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.
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.
- Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Theodore Koch Barber ChairsAugust 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.
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, CEF
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.
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. Thanksbill 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.
Any help would be appreciated!
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
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,
- 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 ChairsDecember 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.
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
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?
Regards folks !Bascoul Charles
- Montauban France
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.
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
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, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
August 17, 2013
Can I please get advice on how to restore the porcelain enamel finish on an old barber chair.
Thank you & kind regards.
- 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
- WEST HEMPSTEAD NEW YORK
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, P.E.
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 :)
- 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,
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
^- Sorry, this RFQ is outdated
View Current RFQs
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.
- 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,
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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
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.
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.
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!
It's YOUR hobby, and there's little point in an endless string of questions if people don't want to actually engage in conversation with their peers :-)
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.
N/A - Shortland NSW Australia
November 2, 2017
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?
Curve Media - London, united kingdom
January 29, 2018
Q. What can be used as a replacement for the handle knob on the pump handle of a Paidar
- Richland, Michigan
February 13, 2018
Q. I have just bought a 1920/40s antique Koken barber chair. The chair pumps up and down, swivels all around, and reclines, but it does not lock in place when it reclines. So when you're siting in it, it slowly will tilt back. There is a screw in the middle on the bottom to tighten it and it does falls back as much, but once you push it back to recline it becomes loose again. So there is no set position for the arm pump to be in, you just push the chair back to recline, but then it won't lock, any help?tim beard
- austin, Texas, USA
July 5, 2018
Q. What oil does the hydraulic cylinder take. And how do I install it?Adolph Gallegos
- Questa New Mexico US
A. Hi Adolf. Power steering fluid is probably fine if you can't find anything more specific. Hydraulic cylinders will have a plug you unscrew to add fluid. There are lots of youtube videos on how to add oil and how to rebuild them. Good luck.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"