Help!! How to re-finish stripped wooden chair seats?? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-14-2019, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Help!! How to re-finish stripped wooden chair seats??

Hi! Long story short here of several rookie mistakes that have led me to this question...I have a couple of kitchen chairs that I refinished recently. I chalk-painted everything but the seats, and left the seats as-is, leaving the wood unpainted. I was not smart enough to cover the seats while I painted the rest of the chairs, and a few paint flecks got onto the seats. Mistake number 2 was using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to try to get the paint off, which ended up just stripping the finish of the wood right off. Mistake #3 was trying to bring the sheen of the seats back to life with boiled linseed oil. It never cured and stayed sticky for days on end, so I finally took it off with turpentine, which ended up taking the rest of the chairs' original finish off along with the BLO. So here I am, with dull, unfinished chair seats, all because I didn't cover the chairs to begin with!! What's my next step? I would like to be able to just spray on some sort of clear sealant, since the surface area of the seats is small and I feel like painting on a new finish will only lead me to more imperfections. Do I need something heavy-duty like shellac, polyurethane, or polycrylic? Or will any clear sealant do, just to bring the shine back? Thank you in advance!!
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-14-2019, 10:29 PM
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You have an interesting cocktail of chemicals on the wood right now. I think I would wash the seats off with lacquer thinner. Then allow it to dry and lightly sand it and apply linseed oil. This time wipe off the excess so all it will do is enhance the grain. Then you could mask off the rest of the chair and get a rattle can of some clear acrylic finish and spray it. It will need a little sanding between coats with some 220 or finer paper to make the finish smooth. Most acrylic finishes tend to make the wood look bland is the reason for the linseed oil.

You could also use shellac or polyurethane or polycrylic. Just keep in mind that oil based finishes have an initial yellow tint to them and continue to yellow as they age. If the wood is light in color this sometimes doesn't look very good. Also if you use a water based finish be sure the linseed oil dries for several days. The two are not compatible with each other.
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-14-2019, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Steve! Let's hope I don't burn my house down with all this stuff...out of curiosity, what does the lacquer thinner do that turpentine doesn't? Also, does it have to be lacquer thinner, or would mineral spirits work? Only reason I ask is because I have MS on hand but I would have to go out and buy lacquer thinner.

If I did spray polycrylic, polyurethane, or shellac, would I need the linseed oil first? The stuff scares me at this point so I'll avoid it if there's a way to! The wood is dark enough that I'm not worried about yellowing. Also, of those three sealants, is there one that you think would work best given my situation? Thank you again! I really appreciate the help!!
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-15-2019, 01:08 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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The different solvents explained here ....

This article will explain how and why to use the different paint solvents and their properties:
https://www.nytimes.com/1996/10/27/n...-solvents.html

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-15-2019, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elliecatt104 View Post
Thank you Steve! Let's hope I don't burn my house down with all this stuff...out of curiosity, what does the lacquer thinner do that turpentine doesn't? Also, does it have to be lacquer thinner, or would mineral spirits work? Only reason I ask is because I have MS on hand but I would have to go out and buy lacquer thinner.

If I did spray polycrylic, polyurethane, or shellac, would I need the linseed oil first? The stuff scares me at this point so I'll avoid it if there's a way to! The wood is dark enough that I'm not worried about yellowing. Also, of those three sealants, is there one that you think would work best given my situation? Thank you again! I really appreciate the help!!
Lacquer thinner is a much stronger solvent. It contains a lot of chemicals such as acetone, toluene and alcohol which tend to remove other substances and leave the surface cleaner. A lot of substances are incompatible with finishes and the more of it you can remove the better. Turpentine and mineral spirits are functionally about the same thing. It would tend to smear substances around and leave it there. Also they take a long time to dry where lacquer thinner would dry in about ten minutes.

You would not need linseed to use an oil based polyurethane, it has linseed oil contained in it. What linseed oil does for you is it brings out the beauty of the wood. It's one of the reasons it's in oil stains. The lack of it may not show up very much under shellac but polycrylic would give more of the appearance of unfinished wood. It tends to make the wood really bland.
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