Is there a label underneath the chair showing the brand of the manufacturer and any safety information? Labels are very important because it identifies who made the chair in the event that there is a problem. Do you know why most Chiavari Chair companies don’t label their chairs or put warning labels? Because they do not want to be liable for issues with breakage or injury. Also keep in mind, warranties are not valid unless you can identify who made the chair in the future.
How are the chair’s joints? The joints of the chair are what holds the frame together. When you get your sample you should stress the joints by picking up the chair and pulling on the legs in every direction. You should also sit in the chair and rock back and forth to test the back strength. You want to make sure that the joints seem strong on day one, but also strong after lots of use. This is why we test our chairs to BIFMA U.S. commercial furniture standards. We have the ONLY Chiavari Chair available that has passed all 6 BIFMA tests for safety and durability.
Check to make sure there is a quality seat bolt holding the leg post in position. Get an allen key to make sure you can tighten the seat bolts. Some companies cover the seat bolts with putty which is very bad because one day you will need to tighten the bolts and if you don’t have access your chair will become wobbly and unsafe. If there are no bolts at all… then I would be concerned.
If there is a hex bolt on the back of the seat, make sure that you are able to turn it with an allen key. Some bolts are made with metal that is so cheap and soft that you can’t even turn them to tighten without stripping the bolt — making them useless.
Check the seat edge. Does it chip easily when you pick at it with your fingernails? Also, does the seat edge looks like it is made from a veneer that is ready to peel off? If you see a veneer, stay away because they peel off after very little time. Don’t be afraid to scratch up your sample! What color is the paint under the seat edge? What about under the finish? Is it white and very noticeable when damaged or is it consistent with the rest of the chair color? At Vision we have a tri-layer paint system where our putty, primer and finish are all similar colors. We do this for every color Chiavari chair that we offer.
Are the insides of the chair legs sanded smooth so that when you stack the chairs they don’t chip the seat edge? This is also an important feature to look for because the chair finish will wear out prematurely without this chair spindle modification. Other companies that do not have the ridges on the spindle sanded smooth on the inside of the legs have issues with chipping when the chairs are stacked.