Refinishing a Mid Century Chair

Refinishing a Mid Century Chair

When my motivation is at its peak, I can complete an entire project in a single day, from start to finish. Achieving this, however, requires an early wake-up call (grumble) and the temporary neglect of some other chores (hooray!).

A recent example of this rapid productivity was the transformation of a quirky, retro diner furnished with iconic Jon Jansen chairs. In just one day, I managed to clean, sand, stain, varnish, and reupholster these vintage pieces. What an exhilarating whirlwind!

For this project, I relied on Voodoo Molly's fantastic selection of Vintage Stain colors, including Whitewash, Rimu, Kauri, Mahogany, Dark Oak, and Ebony. When it came to clear coatings, Voodoo Molly's Vintage Clearcoat was available in both Semi-Gloss and Low Sheen finishes, with the added option of a Semi-Gloss Wipe-on version, perfect for restoration work.

If you're looking to undertake a similar restoration endeavor at home for your dining chairs, here's the step-by-step method I followed:

1. Use an electric sander for the flat sides and sanded the legs and sand the curves by hand. Remember to wear a dust mask every time you sand, as well as ear muffs when using electric sanders. Safety first peeps! I used 180 grit for the first round of sanding, then 240 grit, and then a final zip over with 360 grit.
2. Wash off the sanding dust with a wet cloth. The cloth will remove the dust but also "raise the grain". When dry, lightly sand again with 360 grit sandpaper to smooth out that raised grain. Clean off the dust again with a damp cloth. 
2. Use Voodoo Molly Vintage Stain "Mahogany" to bring out the natural glow of the wood. You can apply it with a brush or a a soft, lint-free cloth. Disposable gloves are essential, as is stirring VERY WELL before - and during - the application! While waiting for the stain to dry start working on the upholstery. 
3. Using the existing fabric as a pattern, I used a staple gun to attach it. Some self-made gimp braid covered up the staples. 
4. When the stain is dry, give it a coat of Voodoo Molly Vintage Clearcoat in "Semi Gloss". Gently stir the clearcoat before applying (do not shake it, or you'll get air bubbles) and quickly apply it with a perfectl clean brush. I use the same brush when varnishing (hence why "varnish" is written on it!). 
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