Another chair refinished

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Project by BobTheFish posted 07-11-2011 03:21 PM 1739 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

(EDIT: forgot to mention: The first and last two pictures are of the chair cleaned up, the middle three are of the chair as a “work in progress”. Pics 2 and 3 are the best for showing what I was originally working with. There’s no “before pics” because I often forget to take them. /EDIT)

Well, a friend (different friend) gave me a chair! Coincidences would have it that this chair is almost exactly like my other chair, except it’s oak, and it’s an office chair. It’s survived two floods, and probably at least 50-60 years of age.

For the most part, this was a really simple clean up, sand, and refinish job. The mechanisms, which we thought to be rusted out, were in fact not, but instead painted brown and had plenty of caked on dirt. (Those same mechanisms also bear the mark, “MADE IN USA”, which should also show you how old the chair is… ;) ) Where the mechanisms were good, and saved me a little heartache (and lots of WD-40), someone did a number on the casters, and replaced the originals with big gold painted plastic orbs of cheesy office furniture caster-ness.

So I had my sweet bit of revenge on this bad taste, went out and bought some more vintage-ish casters (though perhaps not as old as the chair), gave them to someone to blast with glass beads, and put them on.

The other issue was with the T molding. This style of T-molding (which you can see in pic 3) simply does not seem to exist anymore. I spent an entire week combing the internet in my off hours trying to find it, but with no avail. In the end, I had to wood putty it, and glued on some purfling for some decorative cover. I like it, but it was a bit of an afterthought (as I originally planned on getting the molding), and there’s some difficult to remove glue marks.

I blame that solely on my bad mood the past four days. Never work when you’re not feeling it.

Of course, one project done, another’s lined up already.

of course, this means learning to cane, doing a bit of glue repair, and more things as I progress.

but making a little progress:

(EDIT: These I have “before” pictures, solely because they were requested by the person who gave me the chairs. I still have a fair amount of work to go…. :) /EDIT)

7 comments so far

View lou's profile


343 posts in 3440 days

#1 posted 07-11-2011 04:06 PM

I see a lot of quarter sawn oak in that chair.Maybe you can find a desk to go with it.Nice job.

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3187 days

#2 posted 07-11-2011 04:09 PM

Amazing work Nice save!!!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View JBWoodWorks's profile


55 posts in 3155 days

#3 posted 07-11-2011 04:21 PM

I love the desk chair! I have a 100+ year old desk in my shop right now that needs some serious work, but it was a free find. Hope to work on it this winter.

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2550 days

#4 posted 07-11-2011 04:35 PM

Lou, I’m trying to give it back to the friend who had me work on it. He’s refusing it on the grounds that he doesn’t have much space and that he doesn’t want to take back something he gave away. I can respect that, but his eyes tell me he would love to have it back. So for right now, I consider it in my care for safekeeping. One day he’ll be ready to take it back.

As for a desk, I could even make one, if I could find the proper source for some seriously aged QS red oak in probably somewhere between 6/4 and 8/4 thicknesses. Right now though, I’m doing all these refinishing jobs as my family member with all the power tools is seeking to move and hasn’t a set up workshop at the moment.

JB, if you were closer, I’d be more than willing to help you out. Refinish and repair has its own joys to the work.

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17385 posts in 3004 days

#5 posted 07-11-2011 10:53 PM


Great job on the refinishing job there. I picked up a chair kind of similar to the first picture at an antique sale recently. Its got all cast iron hardware and castors but it is lacking a back. Do you think that you could send me some up close pictures of how the back slats are attached to the chair seat. Id love to make arm rests and back supprt for it. Feel free to private me.


-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2550 days

#6 posted 07-13-2011 05:06 AM

Chris, No problem! I’ve been sanding for about six hours, and then spent another three cleaning up my living room, so I’m a little exhausted at the moment. I’ll get you those pictures sometime before Friday.

Do you need the method they used to do the slats, back, and arms? because they’re all different pieces of wood.

I might take some closeups of the mahogany chair I have in my projects too. It’s almost exactly the same, except it’s a stationary chair, rather than a swivel. The different boards are pretty distinct on that one as well, so you might get a better idea.

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17385 posts in 3004 days

#7 posted 07-13-2011 06:45 PM

Id love to see the methods they used for the slats, back and arms on both chairs. There’s obviously no rush to it so whenever you get around to it. Thanks so much. When i get home tonight ill take a pic of the stool we have … its strikingly similar.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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