Refinishing midcentury chairs! (5 photos)

leebroadwayJanuary 6, 2012

Hi all, I have never tried to refinish furniture so I've done some research, but basically I'm clueless as to what is currently on these chairs and how I should go about getting it off.

They are two Dux chairs that are probably teak? It looks like they may have some kind of stain on them and then some kind of acrylic or other glossy coat over it. Or maybe it is not a stain at all but some kind of glossy coat that darkened the wood a bit. The glossy stuff is wearing off on the arms and in some spots you can see the bare wood underneath.

Only the arms and the top rail of the chair back are in bad shape, it almost seems a shame to refinish the whole chair, but I imagine being a total novice I could never get the arms and back to match the rest of the chair.

My original plan was just to douse it in some kind of stripper (I see Citristrip recommended a lot for midcentury stuff, I'm not sure why) and then finish it with Watco Danish Oil (Fruitwood). Not sure if anything should go over the Danish oil.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I have never done this before, so you can't give too much info.. thanks...

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First step is to determine the original finish. I'm thinking lacquer. You can test different solvents: lacquer thinner, denatured alcohol, and mineral spirits. Lacquer is the most likely, but the solvent test will rule out varnish or shellac. If lacquer is the finish, strip it off completely. If it turns out to be shellac or varnish, come back for more advice.

For stripper, methylene chloride is the name of the chemical. That's the strong stuff. The natural strippers really only take off dirt and grime; they are more like soap. The old lacquer should be completely removed. MC strippers work really well if you put it on thick and let it sit for a couple hours. Steel wool is your friend.

The Watco danish oil is not really a finish. It is more like a pigmented furniture oil. It does not form a film on the surface of the wood, therefore it offers little or no protection.

A traditional varnish is a much better choice. Waterlox original would be the way to go.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 10:39AM
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I have been looking for a pattern of Americana, 4th of July. I am doing a chair class this weekend. Any ideas
hope you can help. Something with some fireworks???

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 8:45PM
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