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How to finish or refinish this old chair

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Forum topic by DadRambles posted 08-21-2016 02:20 AM 356 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DadRambles

11 posts in 113 days


08-21-2016 02:20 AM

My wife picked up this old rocker at a thrift store a few months ago. She wants me to clean it up and tighten things up a bit. I have a few questions for the group,

1. What is it? There are some number stenciled on the bottom? Not sure if hat helps or not.

2. I want to keep the finish as original as possible, any suggestions to clean it up a bit?

3. There are some delaminations in the back plywood , and in the seat . My plans are to glue the back ones and replace the seat with a similar piece of plywood, with the design , and polish up the tacks before reinstalling…any thoughts here? Don’t think the seat is salvageable.

4. Am going to shoot sown glue in the joints where I can’t, they at mostly tight, but I want to make it useable for at last a small person. .

5. Thoughts on a finish for the new seat that will match the original wood as closely as possible.

Thanks for any help that can provide.

Brian

-- My "stuff" can be found at http://Dadrambles.com and http://Youtube.com/DadRambles


5 replies so far

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JBrow

819 posts in 386 days


#1 posted 08-24-2016 02:38 AM

DadRambles,

1. What is it? There are some number stenciled on the bottom?
I did a quick Google search on the stamp and found little that would help. There does seem to be a King Ranch furniture line, but I am not sure K. R. if a reference to King Ranch

2. I want to keep the finish as original as possible, any suggestions to clean it up a bit?
Not being much into finishing but having renewed a settle and two side chairs, I can speak as to my approach. I approached the cleanup with a great deal of restraint, even though the pieces were made from solid wood. It did feature contrasting wood inlays. I took a soft brush and removed the loose dirt. I then used 0000 steel wool and lightly sanded the surface (very lightly). I was careful not to remove the patina. I then guessed as to the original finish (I assumed it to be an oil finish, since the pieces were made in the early 1900s) and applied a clear coat of Danish oil.

3. There are some delaminations in the back plywood , and in the seat . My plans are to glue the back ones and replace the seat with a similar piece of plywood, with the design , and polish up the tacks before reinstalling…any thoughts here?
Regluing the delaminated plywood back is, I suspect, is problematic. I doubt that using wood glue will hold up, since glue has already been applied. Maybe contacting Elmer’s or Titeboard could reveal the best approach. I think they each offer a customer service telephone number on their glue bottles.

4. Am going to shoot sown glue in the joints where I can’t, they at mostly tight, but I want to make it useable for at last a small person.
Since I doubt you want to dissemble the joints, clean off the glue and then re-glue, finding some way to pin the joints mechanically with dowels or made some brads, could probably help stabilize the joints.

5. Thoughts on a finish for the new seat that will match the original wood as closely as possible.
Even if brand new, that seat looks uncomfortable. Replacing it with new wood or plywood, unless contoured, would probably remain uncomfortable. Even if replacing the existing seat with new, matching the stain to the chair would be difficult. It would, I suspect, require a lot of trial and error experimenting mixing stains to get a good match.

An alternative is to upholster the seat, using a plywood base, some foam and batting, and fabric. The fabric could be stapled to the plywood on the underside of the seat. The problem with this approach is the expense. The cost of the upholstery materials would likely exceed the value of the re-done chair.

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jwmalone

769 posts in 169 days


#2 posted 08-25-2016 12:57 AM

Are there holes drilled around the edge of the set, it looks like a style that would have had a hand caned seat.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

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dhazelton

2326 posts in 1763 days


#3 posted 08-25-2016 11:24 AM

I would just use the old seat as a template for a new one – I like that star pattern. I’d suggest the stencil underneath might be from the institution where it came from – a hospital maybe – and a room number.

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2284 days


#4 posted 08-25-2016 12:25 PM

Seems unlikely to me that the chair originally had the plywood seat – either something upholstered or caning, I would have thought. But I may be totally wrong, plus it doesn’t really matter. Your idea to replace the seat will work fine (although drilling all the holes and getting it to line up is going to be tricky. Maybe using a plunge router with a rub collar through the old seat clamped to the new would give a good result.
Can you get a closeup of the delamination in the back?

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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DadRambles

11 posts in 113 days


#5 posted 08-25-2016 12:56 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback. I hadn’t thought about the fact that the seat could be a replacement. I don’t think it is, but I might be wrong.


I would just use the old seat as a template for a new one – I like that star pattern. I d suggest the stencil underneath might be from the institution where it came from – a hospital maybe – and a room number.

- dhazelton

I like the star pattern as well. I guess that design is what had me thinking it is original, but maybe there was a crafty repair person in the past as well. Yeah, I was thinking hospital, military, institutional of some sort as well.


Seems unlikely to me that the chair originally had the plywood seat – either something upholstered or caning, I would have thought. But I may be totally wrong, plus it doesn t really matter. Your idea to replace the seat will work fine (although drilling all the holes and getting it to line up is going to be tricky. Maybe using a plunge router with a rub collar through the old seat clamped to the new would give a good result.
Can you get a closeup of the delamination in the back?

- jdh122

I will pull off the plywood and see if there are any other holes or indication underneath that. I might try the router trick with a good piece of plywood and see what happens (if that’s the route I take). I will get a closer photo tonight when I’m at home, of the delamination of the back. I think its probably in the best shape of the whole chair. I already glued and clamped on part of it and it seemed to hold pretty well and looks good, so I think it may work out.

Thanks again for the input.

-- My "stuff" can be found at http://Dadrambles.com and http://Youtube.com/DadRambles

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