March 22, 2008

Sand it or strip it, that is the question

My dad found this chair in an old office building that was being renovated in the early 1970s. It was always either at the head of the table or in front of the telephone/office nook in his house. We have a lot of family pictures with my dad sitting in this chair. It is solid and stood up to four kids dragging it around and turning it upside down to build forts in the living room. When my dad died my brothers were incredibly gracious and let me take it and I am forever grateful to them.
It clearly needs to be refinished, but I'm not sure the best way to approach it. I've refinished (using that product that you just brush on over the original finish) and painted other wood furniture in the past but they were all garage sale finds and it really didn't matter how they turned out. This chair means a lot to me and I don't want to destroy it. I'm pretty sure it's oak and you can see that the original finish is quite brittle and completely worn off in some areas.

Should I sand off the finish or use a chemical stripper? How do I refresh the bare wood that has darkened? Advice welcomed, especially from you Ubercrafty folks out there.


Mortimer's Mom said...

It's going to be a pain, but I would hand sand it. It doens't look like it's going to need much to get the finish off. I'd be afraid the chemical stripper would be too harsh on it.
Since it's a light color, you are not fighting to get it to bare wood. just need to get any and all shiny-ness off. then you are free to do with it as you please. I think chocolate brown would be nice!

Felicia said...

I have the same chair and love it. Definitely don't paint it. My was restored by the previous owner so I'm not sure how it was refinished. But I will say that mine is a little shinier then I'd like. Best of luck!

the unreliable narrator said...

Hand sanding! :o)

(Fabulous blog BTW....I share the same problems in re: fabric shopping, mercy me....seeing how much fabric I can add to the electronic shopping cart before the shipping goes up a notch! Try starlit nest on etsy, her prices are the best AND she will have that new HR in this June....yay!)