Reproduction Antique Rocking Chair

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Project by Phil Brown posted 05-24-2007 07:46 AM 6400 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I bought this hardwood rocker from the local junk dealer for $10 and faux finished it to give it an aged, well worn look, then put a price tag of $175 on it.

I didn’t skimp on details on this project. It took hours of hand work to get this look. The varnished maple was sanded to give the faux finish something to adhere to. I used oil base and solvent base products to cover the piece. I often ask folks for old paint from their basements and get some interesting products. You can use oil based paint with acrylic as long as you give them their proper drying time and sand the coats for adhesion.

A coat of yellow was applied, sanded, then white, sanded, and finally a minwax polyshades honey pine stain mixed with clear was added. The three layers were painstakingly hand scraped and steel wooled, then two thin layers of polyurethane topcoat was added and rubbed out with steel wool for a satin finish and years of protection.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

14 comments so far

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4056 days

#1 posted 05-24-2007 08:34 AM

Hi Phil

I am sorry to say I did not like this project, it came in at no 32 of the 31 projects you have posted. I am sure that a lot of work, thought an effort went into it, but it is not to my taste. Maybe it is just the photographs, sometimes they do not do justice to a piece.

If I were to buy this, then I would want to restore it to its original glory. Sorry if my opinion offends you.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4272 days

#2 posted 05-24-2007 11:19 AM

Well I like it. I think its cool as hell. Especially if you get the money you want. Go gettem tiger. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4186 days

#3 posted 05-24-2007 12:37 PM

you just never know where you will find a treasure – and what it will look like when finished. I, too, thought that it was waiting to be refinished. After reading your description I had to look at it with a new perspective and I can see that in the right location this would be a wonderful addition and conversation piece. (i’m picturing it on the porch, surrounded with rustic furniture, birds singing in the trees nearby). Very artistic, Phil.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Diane's profile


546 posts in 4148 days

#4 posted 05-24-2007 02:40 PM

I like a newer look to things myself but it is amazing that there is a way to finish a project to look old like this. How long ago did you do this and did it sell?


View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4084 days

#5 posted 05-24-2007 03:20 PM

I did it a couple of months ago Dianne and its sitting in a boutique here in town. The tourist season is picking up and things are starting to sell. These reproductions are very popular with the affluent river dwellers around here. I live along a major waterway and tourist area, a national treasure that celebrates its 175th anniversary this year. In fact one of my aged reproduction tables sold yesterday. I’ll post it as a new project.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4084 days

#6 posted 05-24-2007 03:29 PM

Debbie, if you thought it was waiting to be refinished, then I have accomplished my goal of creating the impression that you speak of. I see very few crafstmen that can accomplish this work. Most put on a commercial store bought “crackle finish” in a can and pass the furniture off as antique. Mine fools some of the antique dealers. The reproduction and primitive genre is very popular and doesn’t look like its going away soon.

I’ve had the opportunity to handle some of Canada’s national heritage furniture collection, pieces that are displayed in embassies, the Governor General’s residence and other government establishmensts. In the national woodwork shop, which was a rare treat to get a tour of when I was moving furniture in the building, I was able to see a level of furniture restoration and preservation of our past heritage that struck me very much. When all the true heritage pieces are bought up or gone it will take real craftsmen to reproduce these heritage pieces with the look and feel of a bygone era.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4062 days

#7 posted 05-24-2007 03:46 PM

I keep looking at it and tilting my head. I’m drawn to the piece, but I don’t have any constructive comment at all…yet I type anyway.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4103 days

#8 posted 05-24-2007 04:00 PM

I like the idea Phil…I think it is a great piece of art in the woodworking world. Keep it going Phil.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4084 days

#9 posted 05-24-2007 04:02 PM

Well mot, if it were a real antique rocker, think of the history that happened in and around the chair. Go back a hundred years to bygone days, pioneers sweating out their existence on the land, rocking babies to sleep at night, parents and grandparents dispensing advice and discipline from such a chair, children playing on it, guests relaxing in it… Maybe it survived a fire and got moved in a horse drawn wagon or rickety old truck to a new location… Maybe it got passed down through generations and was kept in the family as an heirloom, and they refuse to restore it because it might lose its memories… I get lots out of it – that’s why I put lots into it.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4112 days

#10 posted 05-24-2007 06:42 PM

Hi Phil…interesting project. I understand the idea, but I’m not sure I like it. The idea of faux finishing furniture to look old somehow just doesn’t seem right. I know it’s done a lot but i’ve never been attracted to it.

True antiques have a true story to tell…faux have…well a faux story. Of course a true antique rocker would likely be going for more than $175 so I guess there is that. I have a 150 year old Lincoln rocker that my Mother gave to me after she re-caned it. Of course I don’t dare sit in it…(I’m 6’4” 280lbs)

The good thing is that I’m sure there are others out there that will love it. Good luck with it.

-- Bob

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4084 days

#11 posted 05-24-2007 07:43 PM

Exactly Bob, true antiques have a story to tell, but not everybody can afford them so I try to recreate a story or a mystery, and I think that its important to do that rather than slather on an “antique” finish from a can.

In my career as a mover I’ve handled millions of pieces of furniture – a lot of stories – a lot of history. I was packing diningroom china one time and the client came over and told me that just one place setting was worth more than I made in a year. Must be why there are knockoffs of certain items. However, I do it to help folks have something similar to what they cant afford and a story that might have been.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4336 days

#12 posted 05-26-2007 04:16 AM

I too am not a fan of furniture made to look old and worn out, but I know that there are many who will give and arm and a leg for it. Thanks for filling that niche, so I don’t have to. By the way, you really got the look you were working for.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4119 days

#13 posted 05-26-2007 04:31 AM

Hey Phil, any chance of maybe a blog on the process to get to the end-state of this chair? I would love to know because it really is hard to ‘distress’ something and not be too obvious. If that were to be a disclosure of some trademark technique, I get that too. Kudos on the effort involved.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4084 days

#14 posted 05-26-2007 07:12 AM

Jeff, I dont have any trademark secrets and would be happy to blog through the process.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

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