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Mission style rocking chair restoration

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Forum topic by Chris posted 08-02-2017 02:38 AM 1030 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chris

5 posts in 134 days


08-02-2017 02:38 AM

Topic tags/keywords: rocking chair restoration refurbishing finishing traditional

Hi, I’ve been a floater for a while but now I need to ask some questions regarding a restoration project I’ve got, and hoping for a few tips!

I bought this mission style rocking chair at a thrift store for $5 in the hope of being able to return it to it’s former glory. It’s complete, but it needs a fair bit of work. Some of the joints are a bit loose, the upholstery is done, and the runners are a bit flatter than they once were. I also think it may have spent quite a long time living on someones porch and has seen a fair amount of weather.

I’ve given some areas a light sanding to see what I have to work with and it’s come up beautifully, but I’m not sure what kind of wood it is. I think it may be oak?

So my plan is to disassemble it, sand everything lightly and reassemble. White it’s in pieces I’ll take a piece to the lumber store and see if I can find a good match to make some new steam bent runners. Finally, I plan to stain it and reupholster in brown leather.

Here’s a few photos:


8 replies so far

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Cricket

2255 posts in 1428 days


#1 posted 08-02-2017 02:39 AM

Chris, PhotoBucket doesn’t let the basic free user accounts share images to other websites anymore.

Unless you have another option, your best bet is to upload the images to here.

-- LumberJocks.com Community Manager

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Rich

1978 posts in 425 days


#2 posted 08-02-2017 04:34 AM



Chris, PhotoBucket doesn t let the basic free user accounts share images to other websites anymore.

Unless you have another option, your best bet is to upload the images to here.

- Cricket

Yeah, click the “img” button, follow the prompts, and you’ll be all set.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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Chris

5 posts in 134 days


#3 posted 08-02-2017 11:22 AM

Oops! Fixed it now.

Yesterday I disassembled the chair, binned the rotten seat fabric and filling and gave it all a sanding. The grain had raised a lot on the outer faces due to rain I think. Also it was very gray. But after some 120 grit it’s come up beautifully.

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HorizontalMike

7656 posts in 2750 days


#4 posted 08-02-2017 11:55 AM

Wow! Great find! I have one very similar to yours, that I refurbed in late ~1970s. You are correct that it is Oak. I stained mine in “walnut” way back then and it has held up well.

Some suggestions:
  • Yes, disassemble and re-glue all joints if possible. That is well worth the effort.
  • DO NOT replace the rockers at this time. Unfortunate for me, I stepped on the rockers on mine when I was a child (1950s?) and broke off one of the rockers, so I was forced to replace them. IMO, keep the originals. I have another oak rocker from the same time frame and that rocker has the original “thin” rockers, but they are holding up just fine.
  • I have the exact same seat frame, springs & straps, and padding. The only thing I replaced back then was the leather upholstery. My mother, at the time, stitched up a replacement using the original as a pattern. Now some +40yr later, it does show the wear of time and too much sun. That said, use a leather treatment balm on a regular basis and you shouldn’t have any issues.

GOOD LUCK! AND KEEP US POSTED ON YOUR PROGRESS.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Chris

5 posts in 134 days


#5 posted 08-02-2017 02:19 PM

Nice chair, Mike!

The reason why I think I need to replace the rockers is because they are really quite out of shape and quite badly worn. See the photos below.

So this morning I sanded all the pieces except the rockers with 120 grit and it’s come up quite nicely. I went straight to 120 because I don’t want to lose the scratches, dents, gouges, etc. All the stuff that is in it’s history and gives it character. Should I go any higher than this before staining?

I also found a stamp. Simply an ‘F’ on the end of one of the arms. Could this be the makers mark?

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Chris

5 posts in 134 days


#6 posted 08-02-2017 02:21 PM

If I do make new rockers, my plan is to find some similar coloured oak and steam bend it. Probably making them slightly thicker than the originals to give them a bit more strength but not so thick that they look out of place. An extra quarter of an inch would do the job.

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HorizontalMike

7656 posts in 2750 days


#7 posted 08-02-2017 04:06 PM

Steam bending would be best/great, if you have the time and don’t mind the effort. FWIW, the rockers that were made for mine were cut and not bent. They are much thicker because of that methodology. Bent straight grain would be better, if you can find it.

I noticed that one of your rockers appears to have been cut-formed instead of steam-bent. Noticed the de-lamination of the grain on that piece. Replacing them may actually be the better option in that case. The “new” rockers will always look newer, because of how tight newly sawn grain looks when compared to old.

As old as this is, yeah, I’d stop at 120grit and stain. You can always build up the surface with finish, before going with any finer grit.

As far as that “F”, it may be nothing more than to mark the “front” of the piece (thinking production line ID of parts).

More of mine. Your rocker may be a bit older, considering the use of metal parts in mine:

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Chris

5 posts in 134 days


#8 posted 08-02-2017 04:26 PM

Thanks for the photos Mike. That is a nice chair and the cushion springs are very similar.

The only metal parts on mine are the springs, the screws that hold the rockers on and the screws that fix the back of the arms to the rear legs.

Having had a closer look at the rockers, I think new ones are definitely in order. One of them does look like it’s cut formed, thanks for pointing that out. But the other one has a flat spot where it has worn which no amount of bending will get rid of. It’s hard to see in the photos but it is major wear, so much so that the thickness of the rocker in the middle is quite a bit thinner than at the ends.

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