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Lovely Chair, Phase 2: Wood Refresh

The last time you saw our lovely chair, she was in two pieces – and truth be told, she still is. (Was that really 3 weeks ago?) But! We have made progress, starting with a bit of a wood-frame-refresh over the weekend. We’ll be the first to admit that our progress leaves a lot to be desired based on the photos alone, as in, you can’t even tell. Even still, trust, our efforts below were worth it, so for anyone that needs a wood pick-me-up (whoa), this is for you!

You know now that we snagged our chair from Craigslist years ago, and she sat, untouched, in our living room. Well, that is, aside from a mineral oil rubdown on her first night in our home. She was full of scuffs and scratches, water rings stained her arms, and a serious Jack nibble ruined one of her legs.

Jack-attack aside, she’s clean, polished and very pretty now. While the difference may seem slight on your screen, it makes all the difference in person; we swear. We wanted to maintain the look and color of the natural wood, so think of it as kicking up her natural beauty a handful of notches. See?

Following these basic instructions from The Brick House, we used the following: our power sander, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Danish Oil (in medium walnut) and Howard’s Feed-N-Wax:

Okay, technically we started with a super fine grit sanding block to rid the original varnish. Sanding only in the direction of the wood grain, I worked over the entire frame, focusing on the areas that needed it most. My goal was to buff of the slick varnish (which, luckily, was only still  in tact on the arms), but when I reached the legs…

… well, my little block wasn’t going to cut it. Aside from that couch-licking incident and the occasional (literal) bedtime snack, this is the only item in our home that Jack has, um, indulged in. We tested a small area with Plastic Wood filler we had on hand, but the surface area was too large and noticeable to cover well.

So, we took out the power sander using extra fine paper, and Scott smoothed it out as much as he could without actually changing the curvature of the leg. Because our frame is solid wood (and not just a veneer), we decided what the hell! Let’s sand the whole thing with power! And we did.

After a damp cloth wipe down to pick up the loose dust, we used lint-free cloths to go over every surface with the Murphy’s Oil Soap.

We followed that up with our Danish Oil, using heavily soaked rags to work it into the wood. The arm rests drank it up in no time, so we went over those areas multiple times, until the wood was no longer soaking in the oil.

After wiping up any leftover oil and allowing the chair to dry for an hour, we rubbed in the Feed-N Wax, buffed it out, applied more, and buffed it again.

Water rings? What water rings! Scuffs and scratches? What scuffs and scratches! Jack’s attack? What – oh, that’s still kind of there (see it on that bottom leg, your left?). But it has been smoothed over, and overall, she’s looking fine. (Imagine me saying that as if I have swagger – and now imagine me saying swagger. Ha!)

Our cushion has come back from the upholstery shop, but we’ve yet to complete the process; we blame this on lack of daylight (after all, we need to take photos!), overall exhaustion at the end of the day, and, you know, the need to laze around every now and then. However, this is not to be confused with lack of excitement – because, you guys, the velvet is gorgeous. Oh, tease.

Phase 3 – reveal! – coming soon.

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  • Ooh, she’s looking VERY pretty! I’m so excited to see her all finished up. :)ReplyCancel

  • Marie11.7.12 - 5:41 PM

    Good work, you’re professionals now.ReplyCancel

  • Monique11.7.12 - 5:46 PM

    Great restoration. So glad you chose not to paint this beautiful wood furniture.ReplyCancel

  • Ada (new york)11.8.12 - 6:57 AM

    Thank goodness for the invention of electrical hand sander huh?!!! I can see the different = the beauty of the chair is shining through .. GREAT JOB using those muscles!ReplyCancel

  • Helena11.8.12 - 10:44 AM

    I have a telephone bench I need to refinish and will definitely be referring back to this post!ReplyCancel

  • Sophi11.8.12 - 7:13 PM

    I actually think the difference is quite noticeable! The wood looks so much more luminous and rich after your TLC. So excited to see the finished product.ReplyCancel

  • So glad you posted this, because I just finished applying these tips on the first of my two trash-pile-rescue dining chairs. I’m waiting for the teak oil to dry as I speak! Thanks!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.6.13 - 5:22 PM

    Awesome, so glad it helped, Jane!ReplyCancel

  • […] of our piece until we’re down to the raw wood; rather, we continue to use a simple 5 step “wood refresh” method that will revive our tired furniture and make it look new again. Spruce up what you […]ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

Join us as we renovate and nurture vintage homes across Chicago + SW Michigan!

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