So besides being a crazy youngster that enjoys doing daring things to her rental home without asking her landlord permission, I also enjoy buying old lousy furniture and dumping money and countless hours into it. BUT the final product tends to be somewhat decent so I usually am happy. I bought an old trunk from salvation army for $10 once and turned it into a table. It cost me 3X as much to fix it up but I get a lot of compliments on it so it’s okay.
My current furniture project is an old chair my mom’s boyfriend had lying around his garage and they so kindly donated it to me. I cannot for the life of me pinpoint when it was made and it’s driving me bonkers. I was going to paint it white, distress it, and reupholster it but I have a soft heart for antiques and decided to try to restore the wood instead of painting. I don’t have a place for it in my house so I decided I would fix it up and give it back to my mom since her birthday is coming up.
This is before I cleaned it. The wood is really worn and dirty, and the leather seats are really damaged. Poor thing needs some TLC 😦 So far I have concluded that it’s made of dark walnut?? and that it’s really old?? maybe?
I figured this tag on the back would make it a piece of cake to figure out how old it was, what it’s made of, and how much it’s worth. WRONG-O. I searched for hours, dayssss and I can’t find a chair company/manufacturer, leather company, or anything based out of Detroit. Seriously if you know anything about this chair tell me. Oh, it’s kind of hard to read but the right side says Detroit, Michigan 😉
So the first thing I did with this chair is give it a good cleaning with a rag and some hot water, soap, and borax. The borax probably wasn’t necessary but I just love that stuff.
He looks a lot better after a nice bath but he’s far from a shiny diamond of a chair. Sorry chair, you’re still a lump of coal. Next I used Howard Restor-A-Finish in Dark Walnut and #0000 Steel Wool to restore the color of the wood and hydrate it. The top of the arms are really faded. There were also several scratches on the wood and the Restor-A-Finish is supposed to hide them really well.
When using the Restor-A-Finish make sure to put a drop cloth or newspaper underneath your project or apply it outside. It’s very oily and I’m sure it would make a mess if it spills. Let me tell you this stuff makes a BIG difference. You almost can’t tell that the wood on this chair was so neglected.
I just love how rich the wood looks after using Restor-A-Finish. It really brings out the carved details in the chair as well. This product is really easy to use and a little goes a long way. I almost wish it came in smaller containers because I don’t really know what else I’ll use it on. Maybe that’s an excuse to buy more dumpy furniture 😛
Stay tuned for the next stage in this chair’s makeover. I’m scared to pull all that leather off!
P.S. You can see the chest table I mentioned earlier in the background of a few of the last couple of photos.
See You Around!