refinishing kitchen chairs---Is this a bad idea?

marrilynMay 8, 2008

I will be getting a new kitchen table, but would like to save some money and use the same chairs that I already have. The finish on them is all wrong, however. It matches absolutely nothing that I have or have ever had. It is a very light wood tone. I would want to finish them to a medium wood tone.

Is this just going to be way too much trouble? :) I have read some sites where there are SO many steps listed it seems overwhelming. I had originally though I would just use some liquid sandpaper and then stain them. Is that way too naive?

They are spindle back chairs, so I'm sure that increases the difficulty level to some degree.

Has anyone here ever attempted this? I appreciate any feedback. Thanks.

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Without seeing them, I doubt anyone can offer the right advise. Older furnitures tends to be made better and worth refinishing. I would look in the phone book and find out if you can have them dipped. Depending on the spindles it can be a very tedious job. 8 years ago, we paid a company to refinish our oak table and chairs. It was well worth it:)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 9:39AM
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Painting them might be easier. I love the look of black painted chairs with a wood table. Then you wouldnt' have to worry about matching stain to table.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 10:40AM
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Well, they aren't older, like antique or anything. They are maybe ten years old. Just your typical kitchen chair with a rounded back and spindles. Maybe called windsor style?

I suppose painting might be easier. I like black also, but just wouldn't match anything in my kitchen I don't think.

So is it just impossible to change the wood color without completely stripping/sanding etc?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 10:51AM
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I am planning the same thing as you are, and have decided to paint out the chairs the same colour as my trim work.

Have you considered this for your chairs? Would it suit your decor? Is your trimwork painted.. otherwise, maybe I'm just flappin' my gums here.

I have a dark kitchen (not light-wise, but cabinets, floor ect) My trim is CIL French White, and currently we have surprisingly extremely sturdy Ikea chairs that are white. The white doesn't quite match the trimwork, so I'll be painting them as soon as my son refinishes and restains the table a darker colour to blend with the cabinets.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 4:54PM
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I think it would be fine if your doing a similar color like lobotome (love your kitchen!) white to white. But if you plan on really changing like light wood to dark wood then make sure you refinish them correctly. I mean strip the finish off completely or else you will see a lot of chips since chairs are used so often.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 5:11PM
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I'd toss one in the back of my car and haul it to the hardware store. I'd put it in a basket and wheel it in. Then I'd ask in the paint department. :)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 8:41PM
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Try checking the Kitchen forum. I've read about several members redoing their stained cabinets with gel stain without stripping. They've figured out something over in "Kitchens" that sounds alot easier than stripping.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 9:37PM
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I have painted chairs before and it was hard and a mess!

The next time I bought a new table, I went to a furniture warehouse type place and bought new chairs at a reasonable price. Much easier!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 9:43PM
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Try using Polyshades in an inconspicuous spot to test for color. It's a wood finish with a polyurethane finish coat.
I changed a light pine glider to a deep cherry and the finish has held up fine. I'm not sure how it would handle the day to day abuse a kitchen chair gets.

I have the same chairs you describe. Your project will be tedious at best. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 3:13AM
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I'm one of the ones that did my kitchen cabs with the gel stain. Eventhough they look fabulous they don't get the use that a dining chair normally gets. I just imagine the legs and the back (where your belt touches) would be all nicked and damaged. There is not enough polyurethane in the world to prevent that.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 7:58AM
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Thanks for all the responses. I'll definitely check the kitchen forum. I would love to try an easy way to refinish these chairs. If it doesn't work long term, I can always buy new ones.... I just thought it might be worth a try...

Beautiful kitchen lobotome, thanks for sharing the pic. Painting them the same color as the trim is not something I would have thought of, but may be an easier option than completely refinishing.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 10:58AM
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Oh, now I'm excited. I was just reading in the kitchen forum. It sounds like maybe you can use gel stain over the old stain/finish without stripping or sanding them first!? That might be worth a try!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 11:48AM
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As someone mentioned already, take a chair in to a reputable paint store for an expert opinion and advice. I recently "freshened up" my dining table. I took the leaf in to my BM paint store & they recommended a light sanding and 4 coats of a poly & it looks wonderful.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 2:42PM
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