Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Four Year Project

That really should have taken about four days...

Four years or so ago, I grabbed two cute little arm chairs out of someone's trash pile. The upholstery was pretty gross and the wood pretty banged up, but the lines were very nice,they had good detail, and they weren't wiggly in the least. So I took them into our apartment, despite my husband (then boyfriend's) objections, crying out how lovely they would be once I refinished them.
Shortly thereafter we took a trip to the fabric store where I picked up the red fabric that is on the seat of this chair here. The back of the chair is the original gold crushed velvet. The seats of both chairs were disgusting enough that I pretty much immediately tore the covers off and stitched these new ones to recover them. And this is how they sat for about 6 months until we moved out of our apartment building and into a two family house where I had space to sand them.
Which I did to one.
The sanding, you see, caused quite a bit of noise (I used a Black and Decker Orbital sander) which landlords didn't seem to appreciate, and mess, which stressed me out, it being someone else's house. And so there the chairs remained, half sanded and half covered, for about four years.
But then we moved into our great big house out here in the boonies! So the work finally continued. I ripped the backs out of the chairs, grabbed my trusty sander, and took them out to the deck. It took me about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, to get all the old stain and polyurethane off. (Yes, I wore a mask and goggles.) I intentionally left the old stain in the recessed parts (not that it was coming off very willingly) because I wanted to stain them a slightly lighter color to bring the detail out more.

Next I applied three coats of MinWax stain/poly combo in Dark Cherry. The directions advised letting them dry for six hours, but they still seemed tacky after seven, so I let them dry overnight in between each coat. I used the old covers as patterns to cut the new ones, but the old seat and backing were fine, so I reused those. Hot glue held things in place while I stapled them in with an industrial stapler, and Voila!

A chair is reborn! I have to make another trip to the fabric store to pick up some kind of trim to cover the upholstery edge of the seat-back, but I think they look pretty good. Unfortunately, I've realized that they are about 6 inches shorter than the ideal piece to furniture would be in the place I want to put them... but they'll do for now. And then at some point it will be a great excuse to go furniture shopping!

TIME: Realistically, about a week.
COST: $90, if you're starting from scratch
Fabric- 2 yards at ~$10/yd.
Orbital Sander- I owned mine already, but a new one will cost you about $50.
Stain/Polyurethane- About $6
Others- (brush, mask, safety glasses, fine-grit sandpaper) About $15