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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  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.

  2. Nicholas Waggoner
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Hey there! I found this exact same chair, but couldn’t get any infor on the maker. Did yours have a stamp at all? Or do you have any info on it?

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