Castelli DSC 106 part I – Teardown

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The upholstery on the Castelli DSC 106 I bought was torn, and rather discolored from damp storage, not worth trying to salvage. I decided to pull it all off and see what the plywood underneath looked like.

First step was to take out the screws, and knock the frame apart. Surprisingly easy, only took a couple whacks with a rubber mallet and it came right apart.

The seat and back fit into notches in the cast frame pieces.

The vinyl covering was stapled into place with what look to be brass plated steel staples.

The back cover is odd. It has a zipper for one of the seams.

The wood underneath was not perfect, but it’s not bad for plywood. The back has a few cracks in the top layer of plywood, and marring from the production process. I’m going to sand things a bit, mostly to get rid of splinters on the edges, and varnish it. Should look pretty decent at the end, if a little bit richer in character than the ones originally produced with a wood finish.

The rest of the pictures I took of the tear down process are in the gallery below. Lots of detail shots of the upholstery seams and fasteners, so I can get as close to original as possible if I decide I want to put a new cover on in the future.

Curious how it turned out? Click here for the followup to this post!

Find of the day – Castelli DSC 106

Picked up this sweet old Castelli DSC 106 chair for $30 from City Liquidators today! It was part of a pair but the  other one was missing some of the feet, and I’m pretty sure they are made of unobtanium.

It’s apparently a 1965 design, by the Castelli company. It’s a pretty handsome, and cleverly engineered. Only four  screws are used in the entire thing. The chairs consist of cast aluminum side brackets, with tube steel legs and  under-seat crossbars clad in grey plastic. Small nylon stops set into the bottom of the side brackets keep them  from clanking when stacked up. The seat and back are molded plywood, and can be found upholstered in vinyl, cloth,  or bare with a varnished finish.

They’re still made today, sold as the Haworth DSC Axis 106, and retail between $570 and $787 depending on finish.  More info from the company here.

Not sure how you can date one of these chairs accurately. One of the differentiating characteristics seems to be a  number cast above the logo on the inside of the side brackets. My chair’s logo has an 8, and I’ve found examples of  the logo with castings of 22, 73/7, and 69/6. I think it’s safe to say that the latter two are year/month combos,  but I’m not so sure about the single and double digit ones. Maybe month of production since launch?

Up in Smoke – The Fairview Training Center in Salem, OR

While I was looking through old photo sets to choose the next one to upload I was re-reading background info on various sites. I found some more recent articles about one, and unfortunately it has joined many of its kind as a victim of arson.

The Pierce cottage was part of the Fairview Training Center, a former psychiatric hospital in Salem, Oregon. After standing for nearly ninety years, it was burned down by people who “…said they thought it might be humorous to imply a “ghost” had something to do with the fire, amid stories of hauntings in the building, investigators said.” The place was due to be deconstructed and recycled, so it isn’t as big a loss as a building that had potential for reuse in situ, or preservation, but it is still disappointing to see anything destroyed so flippantly.

I won’t try to explain the whole history of the campus, others do a better job than I could hope to. If you’re interested in learning more about its history the Wikipedia article is not a bad place to start.

Despite having been largely gutted and partially demolished when I checked it out, it was an impressive and interesting place to explore. A lot of the history of the buildings still showed through in the notes on the walls, small personal items scattered about, and in the way the buildings were laid out.

An extensive network of tunnels carried utility lines from where the main plant used to stand to each of the buildings on the campus. It also provided convenient passage between the buildings, out of sight of worried neighbors and the rumored security guard. And of course, they also had that delicious quality steam tunnels do of making you feel simultaneously like a secret agent infiltrating some forbidden place, and a character in a horror movie who is going to be messily devoured by whatever is waiting around the bend.

Here’s the rest of the set: