Restoring A Vintage Chair

This one's a special one as it belonged to my parents, and was part of the landscape of my childhood home in Yorkshire. I think it must be about thirty years old. When we headed over the Pennines a couple of months ago, I eyed The Chair up greedily, and made hopeful noises about being happy to give it a loving home one day (in Natalia's bedroom), should the time ever come for it to be replaced... turned out to fit very neatly in the boot, so away we went. Hurrah!

It's a genuine Parker Knoll. The springs are in great condition, and just need a new cover.

But the finish is in need of some care and attention:

There are various chemicals that can be used to strip paint, lacquer and varnish from furniture - I don't like to use these as the fumes are too toxic for a house with children living in it. So I used my new DeWalt detail sander to sand the lacquer off instead, revealing the silky smooth mahogany below.

Man, it was a task and a half. The lacquer was really thick and sticky, and took some serious elbow grease and fortitude to sand off. I started off with 60 grade paper and gradually worked up to 180.

It created a vast amount of dust, so during the process I looked like this:

Ear defenders, goggles, and an industrial-strength dust mask. Oh the glamour.

Once the lacquer had all been removed, the chair looked like this:

The wood was very dry and thirsty, so I buffed on a layer of tinted Osmo polyx oil - the chair seemed to soak up all the lovely oil very happily.

I then sanded the entire chair again (the oil roughened up the surface of the wood slightly) using 320 grade, and applied two layers of clear satin matte oil, leaving 24 hours between each coat.

Just look at that gorgeous silky sheeny delectable finish. Mmmmmm, smooooth.

So, that's where I'm up to with the chair. Nine photos, a couple of months, and I haven't even started on the upholstery yet! I'd use the children as an excuse, but it took me weeks of on-and-off effort to upcycle our inherited vintage medicine cabinet, and that was back in the day before our daughters were even a twinkle in my eye. My aim is to create furniture that we'll still be using in another thirty years, mind - and I think that naturally takes a little bit of time. I'm also working on a rather lovely Edwardian chest of drawers acquired in a nail-biting eBay auction (I was the only bidder) - photos to follow next week.