Wednesday, September 11, 2013

More Inexpensive Furniture


We bought 5 chairs off craigslist for around $100.  Four were cherry and one was walnut.  They needed refinishing and recovering, but were in good shape other than that.  I have refinished a lot of furniture, but never chairs.  It takes a lot longer to do chairs.  I guess it's because there are so many surfaces and edges, as opposed to tables or chests of drawers, with their flat fronts, tops and sides.


I always use Formsby products.  They are less likely to dry out the wood, but anything you use to take off a finish is going to remove some of the color or patina.  So it is a trade off.  The finish was worn away in places and sticky, so it had to go.


With Formsby's Furniture Refinishing, you dip some 0000 steel wool in the liquid and wipe away at a small area.  If the finish is thick or goopy, I wipe the dissolved areas away with MANY paper towels.  You will need to wear stripping gloves.  Or your hands will never forgive you. 


It works best for me to do a rough strip and then go back over it the next day for a finish strip.  After another day to rest and dry,  I do a bit of sanding with a 220 grit or higher sandpaper and clean everything off with a bit more Formsby. 


Wait another day and then you can stain or finish.



I used dark walnut on the walnut chair and black cherry on the cherry chairs.  ( Why do I feel like Pee Wee Herman? )  I didn't try to cover up the different colors of the wood and I wanted to leave a bit of the grain to show through.  Let the furniture dry for another day.


Did I mention this is not a quick process?

I like to put on a Tung oil guessed it...Formsby's.  If you do a sufficient number of coats, at least three, it will leave a hard finish to protect the wood, yet it will oil and preserve the wood at the same time. You can add other coats in the future if needed.  It will darken the wood just a bit.  I used the high glass version although they make a low gloss, if you like that.


Tung oil is rubbed into the wood in light coats with a cloth.  You have to wait overnight between each coat.  Wear more stripping gloves.  Regular exam gloves won't hold up.  Don't ask me how I know that. 


Before you put on the next coat,  rub lightly all over the finished piece with more 0000 steel wool.  Then you have to clean off the steel wool bits that are left behind.  Buy way more steel wool than you think you will need!

I brushed off the furniture and then wiped it down with a clean cloth.  A tack cloth is better, but I didn't have one and they make my hands feel, well, tacky.  Then put on the next coat.  And wait a day.  And rub everything all over again.

Did I mention this is not a quick process?

So anyway I finished them.  Three coats.  Or I finished refinishing them.  Don't they look great?


What do you mean I'm not done?  Oh, yeah.  Now I have to recover the seats.

Did I mention that Formsby is expensive and not sold at Home Depot and that you need to buy way more than you think you will need?  So that the inexpensive chairs are getting expensiver by the day?   Good thing I don't charge myself by the hour.


  1. Great choice and I know they will be exquisite when recovered!

  2. Did I mention how great those chairs will be looking when you are done, Rebecca. Now I know who to consult if I ever get some great old furniture finds.