Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chair help.


From the mail bag:


Hi decorno

i live in australia and i think your blog is fantastic and your readers are very cool. i love that there is a place for people that loathe naff posters and wall decals. may i please ask for some advice from you all?

i bought some chairs, which i'd like to fix up. i'm thinking stain, lacquer, something, but not paint. the people i bought them off seem to have stored them outside so they're kind of raw and silvery coloured in places from sun bleaching.

problem is, i've never restored a piece of furniture before and i have no idea what to do. i went down to my hardware shop and the 16 year old guy with emo hair couldn't really help.

i'm planning on using the chairs as bedside tables in the master bedroom. the colouring in that room is taupe and white with doses of red and blue in doses and a large artwork above the bed. the artwork is predominantly blue, red and yellow. we have a dresser in this room which is dark reddish wood.

i'd love it if your readers could give me some inspiration and some advice re treating wood. i've attached a pic of the chairs.

many thanks
e


Readers - any advice?


37 comments:

Anonymous said...

They look like they are teak? If you want to try the natural look before you go the route of paint,stain etc., you might just try cleaning them up a bit by using a bleach/water solution as well as fine sand paper.

Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...

If you have accents of dark blue in the room, I would go crazy and paint them blue. (Even though you said you didn't want to paint them, you can end up with fantastic results). But first, do a layer of light taupe and then take some sandpaper and rough up the edges a bit, so it doesn't look too perfect and bits of the light taupe will peek through. Hang a funky pendant light over them for bedside lighting. Great pieces by the way!

columnist said...

If you don't want to paint, (and you're severely limiting yourself), then a limewash would be good.

Anonymous said...

Clean them a tiny bit as Anon 11:27said then oil them. Really work the oil in. A little at a time. No paint or stain. Don't lose that patina. They've got a story and a history that should be appreciated and enjoyed. Painting/staining would just destroy the character. And Happy New Year!

António Erre said...

Just white wax and wool polish in severall layers, without any clean process. The last step will be an application of red shoe wax and finish with wool polishing. This must highlight "patina" and scent the room.

Anonymous said...

White semi gloss enamel. Or black. Lightly sand and use teak oil.

Erin said...

I agree with anon 3:30am, oil creates a beautiful, natural but polished look. Tung oil is easy to apply, may take up to 5 or six coats, but once built up is easy to maintain. The bonus about tung oil: it's natural & green. They're great chairs, good luck!

court. said...

ha! "the 16 year old guy with emo hair"

I love that this blog can make me laugh this early in the am.

Anonymous said...

Make sure to find out if there is an old finish already on it. If it has been previously finished/treated, and it probably has, then whatever is on the chairs might interfere with the new finish if not removed properly. The old finish might cause the new finish to appear uneven.

Once cleaned, sand the pieces, coat with the new finish, and repeat by lightly sanding again, applying more stain, etc. Do this several times for the best results.

Emily said...

lots of good ideas - and I have to say that I'm ambivilant about painting wood. Sometimes it's awesome and sometimes it comes out "shabby country french clutter chic" which wouldn't work with those chairs.

regardless of the endgame, you need to rehab the wood. At the very least, moisturize. You'll be amazed what a coat of cleanser (I like Formby's, it's what my grandfather has been using on his wood for decades) and then lemon oil will do. Follow the directions on the bottle.

PS - if possible, a smaller hardware store that's peopled with awesome "retired" guys will be a much bigger help than the 16 year old emo kid.

And send after photos! Those chairs are fabulous!

Meg said...

I think they would look absolutely fabulous lacquered in black or red since they have an Asian design - or silver, a chrome effect (I always think Starck)...but if you are adverse to paint, I would stain them as close to black as you possibly can get. Once cleaned up you could have them sprayed locally fairly inexpensively for a perfect finish. All the best with whatever you decide, they are beautiful pieces.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

They are pretty perfect the way they are. My advice would be this; simply lightly wax them, polish them, and have cushions made in a fabric that will complement the room.

Anonymous said...

I think the color is great and I agree with another poster that you shouldn't paint OR stain. Oil them. It would be impossible with all those tiny spaces that are hard to sand anyway. I suggest getting a piece of glass to put over them. Then you'll leave a little place for magazines or books or something, but still have a flat place for a lamp or a clock or something. It should look great!

Ivy Lane said...

Red! and I love the fact that she will be using them as bedside tables! Send us a photo with them in the room when the transformation is all done.

Anonymous said...

You're smart not to paint them. That is good wood.

You don't need both oil and wax. It's overkill. You'll end up with greasy wood.

Tung oil is very easy to use, and gives very gratifying results, letting the grain shine through. You'll get a warm, natural finish. There's something similar I've used too: Watco (brand) Danish Oil. Requires NO talent whatsoever to apply, and makes wood happy: natural-looking and not all waxy/greasy.

Shawn said...

Though I love the suggestion of tung oil (hooray for anything green) it is important to note that it is derived from a nut, so if you have nut allergies you should proceed with caution and/or consider something different.

katiedid said...

I agree with AL and others. They look great as is. Just a cleaning and glueing if they are rickety at all. I recently used teak oil on a table. It does make it darker temporarily, and will lighten up again over a few months. Great find!!!

Anonymous said...

No advice that hasn't already been posted, but I am very envious. Those are fantastic. There must be amazing finds in Australia - it seems like every time I look at a design blog from Australia I see something I yearn for yet never find the likes of around here.

Anonymous said...

a very light sand or no sand and bee's wax ( natural or tinted white or dark as you see fit ). nothing more.

thank god you have taste. i can see these butchered in high gloss yellow as before and afters on design sponge. shutter.

very beautiful. good luck.

kristina said...

wood vs. paint/lacquer. I love this debate. the wood people always get so fired up. I like modern, so I say lacquer the shit out of 'em. any vibrant color will do...turquoise, lime, red. then I would slide a piece of acrylic through the openings just below those things that look like handles on the sides. magazines/books under the acrylic, lamp/alarm clock/water glass on top.

CJP said...

I am completely on board with the lacquer idea. It would turn them into amazing pieces. Color - red, yellow or blue would all be very cool. The shape of the chairs is so lovely, and the sheen of lacquer in color will accentuate the shape very nicely.

Anonymous said...

I'm not one who stands squarely in one camp or other in the natural versus lacquer debate -You say potato, I say potato and all that. However, I will say it is easier to try the natural look first and not like it than to commit to lacquer and hate it.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with a color like lime or turquoise is, you're are pretty much guaranteeing you will get sick of these one day.

Renate said...

That pair of chairs is fab! What a great find!

I agree with anon 3:30 too - oil would give a nice effect.
On the other hand - we have a very similar 2-seater bench that is done in a dark red/burgundy colour. Looks really good, gives a kind of oriental look. You could consider a glaze/lacquer in the colour of your dresser.
I love Kristina's idea with the piece of acrylic glass.
Please - send pics of the final result!

Lisa Hunter said...

The problem with lacquer is that it has to be absolutely perfect, or it looks junky.

Natural wood or stain is much more forgiving of flaws.

elspeth said...

hi there, it's elspeth here and they're my chairs. i dropped by this blog and fark my chairs were are here already! thanks for posting them decorno.

at the moment i'm torn between keeping them v natural with a little oil and staining them dark. my boyfriend and i are going to have a team meeting and i'll be bringing all your suggestions to the table. i also love the suggestion of getting some glass cut to sit on the top.

i really appreciate all your suggestions and i'll definitely post some photos when we're done.

happies for new year.

elspeth

susie quillin said...

P A I N T .

Anonymous said...

These have beautiful bones. Please don't bury those under a lot of "magazines, books, lamp, alarm clock, water glass," etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

ONE MORE?????

I HAVE TRULY SEARCHED WORLD WIDE FOR A PRODUCT THAT BRINGS WOOD BACK TO LIFE, LIKE A FRENCH POLISH, BUT WITH MINOR STEPS.
DISCOVERED IN ENGLAND 'STONES FURNITURE CREAM', SAME RECIPE FROM 1760'S. IT PENETRATES (DECORNO, ANY COMMENTS?)DEEPLY INTO THE WOOD, PLUMPS IT UP AND BRINGS IT BACK TO LIFE W/A FEW COATS. I ASKED THE CO. TO BE THE SOLE REP IN USA OR YOU COULD CONTACT THEM DIRECT.
US WWW.SCENTIMENTALGARDENS.COM
UK WWW.STONESFURNITURECREAM.CO.UK

Anonymous said...

CALM DOWN, IT IS PROBABLY JUST FANCY GREASE.

Anonymous said...

I suggest ebonizing them.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to do it, but antiqued silver would look good. those are great pieces of furniture!

Anonymous said...

Go with glass tops and throw some paint on the bottom of the glass. Red, blue or yellow paint will scrape off when your mood changes.

I'd oil up the wood to darken it, but use the glass tops to provide shininess.

Anonymous said...

DONT CLEAN WITH BLEACH!!!

Bleach an be pretty bad for the wood, and it isn't going to clean the greying off. If you're looking to do a natural, oiled finish, I'd highly recommend you go to a boat supply store.

Teak cleaners available are pretty nasty chemicals, but will bring the wood back to life, and they teak oils will warm it up nicely while protecting the wood.

woodley park-zoo said...

I am in love with those chairs, what an amazing find! I do pure tung oil on various bits of thrifted furniture I've stripped (with soy stripper, also highly recommended, not for this project but generally...) and I love 'real' surface to the wood, rather than shellacked underneath some polyurethane.

The second comment above in CAPS made me laugh out loud! Gotta love the Decorno crowd.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous Chairs, mate! I would use tung oil as many have already suggested. If a punch of color is what you're after, why not turn the chairs upside down and place a colorful serving tray on top? That way you're not destroying the integrity of the chairs. Since you're using them as nightstands, placing glass on top might might pose a hazard and are difficult to maintain a clean appearance due to fingerprints, streaks, and dust. Frosted glass might be okay or try the aqua-colored plexiglass. Good luck! I can't wait to see the pictures of your final product.

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