Refurbishing thriftstore platform rocker

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Blog entry by driggs63 posted 10-10-2014 04:49 PM 1809 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello, I am new to this site and haven’t done much blogging either, but here goes.

I am relatively new to working with wood. I’ve always loved things made out of wood however, and am very happy to have found something I love doing. Hopefully someday, after I’ve learned a lot more, I will actually create something of my own. But for now, I’ve just been picking up things I like and fixing them up.

I got this chair a few days ago at a local thrift store for $25. I knew immediately it was worth more than that. Not that I care, but it’s always nice to have a quality piece.

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It was pretty scratched up, and a few holes in the cushion covers, but really the only thing wrong was a broken metal slat underneath the seat. I don’t have unlimited funds, so last night I took the slat off, drilled a new hole, stretched out the spring with a crowbar, and luckily my brother showed up and stretched the spring the last little bit to get it hooked into the new hold. Fixed!

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I’ve washed the cushion covers and will be cleaning the foam in the bathtub.

Meanwhile, I’ve been sanding and sanding. The old stain is pretty easy to get off, unlike some pieces I’ve redone. I started out doing the arms, and did them by hand, but am using my sander to get the rest of the stain off. Once that is donel I will be going over every inch and sanding starting with 60 grit, will go all the way to a 2000 grit I have to get it all soft as buttah.

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I love it when you touch a piece of wood and it is so silky smooth it almost feels like water.

Again, due to my limited funds, I just use mineral oil once I’ve sanded something. I usually just slather on with my hands, like lotion. The wood just soaks it up. Tip, if you don’t know, instead of buying oil in the wood working section of the store, I get it in the pharmacy section. It’s WAY cheaper.

The wood on this chair is so pretty, I will probably not stain it, but just put a light coat of some good polyeurethane on. Unless I hear of a better/different way to go. I don’t have resources to recover the cushions right now, so I will just clean and repair and put back on. I actually kind of like the retro tweediness of the material anyway.

Once done, I will move into the living room. My daughter has already claimed the chair! It is oversized, sturdy, comfortable, and soon to be beautiful. There are no markings or brandings anywhere on the chair, so I have no idea how old it is, or where it came from. I’d never heard of a platform rocker until I started researching.

So, that was my first blog on this site. Hope it was ok.

6 comments so far

View handsawgeek's profile


591 posts in 814 days

#1 posted 10-10-2014 09:58 PM

Welcome to LJs. Nice project! I’m sure you will have a great, usable chair once you are finished.
It’s very likely that it would be highly unnecessary to sand as fine as 2000 grit. Most of the time, sanding bare wood for finishing doesn’t need to go much further than 220.
Polyurethane is an adequate all-purpose finish, but a a lot of craftspersons avoid it because of the ‘plastic-coated’ appearing surface it renders. In my opinion, applying a good tung oil finish will do better in bringing out a more natural wood appearance. I’m definitely no huge expert on finishing, so maybe a few other LJs could chime in and give better direction on what would be the best way to tackle this….

-- Ed

View handsawgeek's profile


591 posts in 814 days

#2 posted 10-10-2014 10:02 PM other comment. It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but how difficult does it appear to completely remove all of the metal framing? Finishing the wood might be a lot easier if you didn’t have to work around the metal obstructions. If the frame is just screwed on it would be no problem to take it off and re-attach it once the chair is re-finished. Just a thought.

Keep on blogging!

-- Ed

View driggs63's profile


3 posts in 743 days

#3 posted 10-10-2014 11:19 PM

I know I probably don’t NEED to sand up to 2000, but I really really like making stuff as smooth and soft as possible. I realize some things are better left NOT made that smooth, but I think it’s nice.

The metal obstructions are just underneath, I think I can do it without unscrewing. Putting it back together would be harder for me than sanding around any obstructions!

I wondered about polyeurethane, but I thought it was the way to go? Not a cheap spray can, but the nicer stuff in the quart can. I like water based, just because clean up is so hard for oil based.

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2752 days

#4 posted 10-11-2014 10:43 AM

Great job on a very nice chair so far. Renovating/restoring old furniture is a great pastime and usually very rewarding. There are lots of good books (Amazon?) that cover the subject and you can learn a lot of woodworking from them too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View rhybeka's profile


2605 posts in 2539 days

#5 posted 10-11-2014 10:56 AM

Welcome! great job so far :) It’s always nice to restore something someone else thinks is lost. My parents own a reupholstery business so I’m always amazed at what they do to a piece. I have a chest out in my garage that needs some TLC as well so I may be blogging here on that shortly since it’s got veneer on it I’m mulling over what to do. with. Other things first! Again, welcome!

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View driggs63's profile


3 posts in 743 days

#6 posted 10-13-2014 09:05 PM

Thanks for the welcome, all. :) I know about the good books at Amazon, and also at my library, as I work for a library system in acquisitions, so I am constantly on Amazon and other sites checking out their books.

I, too, have a big chest I’m refinishing. Another fun site to post your finds is

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