Before and After: Mid-century Chair Makeover

Does everyone remember my chair that I found at Goodwill? Well, it’s finished. Last weekend something happened and I finished not one, two, or three chairs, but four chairs and almost finished a dresser. Success. Although this project didn’t turn out quite like I had hoped, it is still immensely better than how I found it nearly five months ago.

Chair BeforeI thought only the arms needed to be refinished, kind of like what I did here, and that this would be such a quick wonderful project that I could set a timer and show just how easy a project can be. So I got to work and set my timer.

7 minutes. Taping is finished. Maybe I’m a slow taper, but the legs are tapered so I had to rip off a bunch of little pieces to go around the arms. Don’t judge.

31 minutes. I used Furniture Refinisher and took all the stain off the arms.

2 minutes. I took this bad boy into the garage since it was getting dark and applied my Danish Oil. It looked like this after one coat:

Chair Stained

Sorry if my terrible garage picture has fooled you and you thought it’s just a washed out picture. There was no change. The wood didn’t soak up any of the oil.

6 minutes. I contemplate a driveway burn pile, come to my senses and call Austin asking, “WHYYYY?!” Who really knows, except it was probably finished with some sort of a wax. Or someone used Pledge on it when the finish was gone. Or that’s why it was still sitting in Goodwill when I found it and everyone knew better. He recommended this wonderful project, which I have used once before with great results.

Chair Progress SpraySpray lacquer, and in this case H. Behlen Lacquer. We get this at The Woodsmith Store, a local woodworking specialty store. Has anyone else used this?

22 minutes. I took off the tape and started to apply thin coats to the arms, and then later the rest of the chair since the medium brown walnut is a little more red than the chair originally was. It only takes 15 minutes to dry, so I did quick coats, waited, then reapplied.

After a total of 68 minutes, I had this sitting in my driveway.

Chair After

Oh yes. You bet I had neighbors flocking over to my garage admiring my work. Just kidding, they still think I’m the crazy lady with a garage filled with old smelly furniture. The only thing I wasn’t pleased with was my lack of skill when spraying the lacquer. Even though I tried to be really careful to get even coats, a couple places on the arms and the back of the chair have a few blotches. Not too noticeable, but still it bugs me. See?

Chair Arm DetailI might try to gently rub it with four ought steel wool and see if I can buff it out. But judging from my past experience and Austin’s words of caution, I’m going to call this project done sauce.

Chair Before and After

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One Comment

  1. Posted July 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Woah! I’ve never seen that stuff. It looks really cool. Yeah, not totally perfect, but still cool. I think it’d be great to use on pieces that you don’t want to spend several weekends on. Maybe lower end peices or to quickly touch up small parts like legs.

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