What type of finish would you recommend for this rocking chair?

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Forum topic by brantley posted 12-05-2009 06:24 PM 1531 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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185 posts in 2677 days

12-05-2009 06:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

i found this rocking chair at a used furniture/antique store last week for 5 dollars. Its in need of a new finish. I have never refinished a chair before and was wondering what yal recommended. Ive used the basic polyeurathane before. As you can tell the chair as some wear on it. So im thinking it will need a new coat of stain as well?





13 replies so far

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3547 days

#1 posted 12-05-2009 06:40 PM

Strip and prep with care.
Fix the cracks.
Tighten loose joints with hide glue.
Finish with milk paint (ala Windsor chair tradition).

-- 温故知新

View SouthpawCA's profile


262 posts in 2653 days

#2 posted 12-05-2009 06:57 PM

I agree, milk paint – -. You could use 2 different colors like their Lexington Green as a 1st coat and then Barn Red as a 2nd coat. Then when you burnish the 2nd coat (with steel wool) you can slightly wear through the 2nd coat and have the 1st coat show. It’s an awesome look.

If milk paint isn’t your thing, try shellac. You can tint shellac any color you want using a few drops of transtint or some other dye. Shellac is very easy to repair in the future unlike stain and poly which you’d have to, basically, strip and start over.

-- Don

View brantley's profile


185 posts in 2677 days

#3 posted 12-05-2009 07:18 PM

alright, im gonna be heading to HD here ina few…I know i have seen shellac there but i havent seen any “tint” before..of course ive never really looked for that. but ill keep an eye out for it

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3242 days

#4 posted 12-05-2009 11:00 PM

Home Depot will have shellac but they do not carry trans tint dyes. If you want to use these to color the chair once you have it repaired and stripped Rockler or Woodcraft will stock them. HD will carry shellac in clear and amber tint.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View SouthpawCA's profile


262 posts in 2653 days

#5 posted 12-07-2009 12:38 AM

Make sure you get DEwaxed shellac.

-- Don

View BeeJay's profile


71 posts in 2607 days

#6 posted 12-08-2009 01:04 PM

Mate, that wood looks like it will have sufficient character without staining. Check first.
Check all joints and sand it all back very carefully, including the underside. If you test with a little tung oil on the seat underside and if the colour is satisfactory: oil for preservation and appearance. Anything with a tung oil base and finish with shellac. Just be sure the colour on the underside is to your liking. If not consider stain, good deep penetrating dye though.

-- If you try to fail and succeed, what have you done?

View brantley's profile


185 posts in 2677 days

#7 posted 02-12-2010 03:42 AM

anybody got an idea of what kinda wood this chair is made out of? cherry?

View buildvoy's profile


1 post in 2446 days

#8 posted 02-12-2010 04:48 AM

A natural oil that seals very well and is quite beautiful. You can create a glossy “varnish like” finish with natural ingredients.

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2997 days

#9 posted 02-12-2010 08:07 AM

Wipe on poly

-- Custom furniture

View Les Casteel's profile

Les Casteel

159 posts in 2479 days

#10 posted 02-13-2010 12:39 AM

I don’t think you can decide about the finish until you get the old finish off. Clean it up and then if the wood is attractive enough then go with a clear finish. I agree with a1Jim, use wipe on poly. Try mixing Minwax with Naphtha 50/50 and apply with a soft cloth in an open area. You can put on two coats a day, rub in between with steel wool.

If the wood is not attractive then use milk paint like the guys said…in multiple layers. I would still seal the milk paint with poly but that’s just me. The wood is probably soft maple or poplar, or more likely multiple species. I highly doubt its cherry.

Good Luck!

-- Les, Arkansas,

View brantley's profile


185 posts in 2677 days

#11 posted 01-27-2012 06:05 PM

bringing back this old thread. i am just now getting around to refinishing the chair. how would i repair one of the spindles under one of the arms thats loose?

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 2470 days

#12 posted 01-27-2012 09:45 PM

I haven’t used either of these products, but maybe somebody else can chime in? I’m sure it depends on how loose/big of a gap you’re trying to repair.

WonderLok 'Em, Loose Joint Repair (available at Rockler, or the internet)

Briwax ChaiRX (available at Woodcraft, or the internet)

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Ed Pirnik's profile

Ed Pirnik

83 posts in 2250 days

#13 posted 01-27-2012 09:55 PM

I’m with HoboMonk:

After stripping and repairs, go with milk paint. I’ve always loved the two-color effect of laying down a few coats of barn red, then a few coats of black overtop. Sand through (gently) the black a bit, in high-wear areas, to reveal hints of the red beneath. Rub out with #0000 steel wool and coat with boiled linseed oil. Allow oil to cure for a week or so, follow up with paste wax. It’ll be BEAUTIFUL. Good find.

-- Ed Pirnik, Fine Woodworking Web Producer

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