Refinishing Dad's Old Rocking Chair

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Forum topic by snaregeek posted 07-21-2015 08:44 PM 558 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 460 days

07-21-2015 08:44 PM

I am working on refinishing my father’s old rocking chair/bench and am lost at where to start and what to do. The bench itself is not in the best of shape, and is quite literally falling apart. I’m unsure of how to make this thing look pretty again so I’m hoping you guys can help

As you can see the wood is flaking, and almost all of the original color is nowhere to be found. This was my father’s chair from our lake home and he passed away about a year ago so the chair holds lots of sentimental value and memories. To be completely honest I have never done any finishing projects before and I’m really scared of messing something up. I hope you guys are able to advise me in what to do!

2 replies so far

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2417 days

#1 posted 07-21-2015 09:40 PM

This is a real good product to use on your chair to remove any old loose varnish, laquer.
Then find a stain and polyurethane to refinsh the chair. Outdoors need a few coats.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 1269 days

#2 posted 07-22-2015 10:43 PM

If I were in your shoes, I’d take the following approach:

1. Strip the remains of the old finish with a good quality methylene chloride paint stripper. Follow the directions on the side of the container carefully.

2. Use an abrasive pad and plenty of either denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner to wash away the residue from the stripper, as well as any residual finish.

3. Sand the wood thoroughly with a fairly rough grit like 100 or 150 grit paper.

4. Use a saturated solution of oxalic acid to restore the weathered surface of the wood. Oxalic acid is available at many paint stores, and is commonly sold as “wood bleach.” Mix a saturated solution by adding the crystals to a quart of warm water until no more crystals will dissolve. You know that you have a saturated solution when you see un-dissolved crystals in the bottom of your container.

5. Let the bleach dry overnight. Repeat the bleaching process if necessary. Next, neutralize the oxalic acid with a solution of baking soda and water. Use a couple of heaping tablespoons of soda in a quart of water. Let the wood dry overnight.

6. Sand the wood smooth.

7. Apply a stain if desired.

8. Refinish the chairs as desired. A wiping varnish, like Waterlox, would probably give good results with the least amount of trouble. You’ll likely need several coats.

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