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Hi all,

I'm not much of a woodworker (yet), and recently literally intercepted a few chairs on the way to a landfill. I've re-webbed them with jute and burlap cloth, and send out the cushions for re-upholstering, and now I'm wondering what I can do to help make the wood look a little less battered.

I'm already way, way, way over budget for this "project", given that the original idea was just to keep a couple of nice chairs from going to the dump. I don't think I'm up for dozens of hours of stripping and sealing and etc., so I'm wondering what the best low-impact way of moving these chairs from mildly bashed-around to okay-looking is.

The issues seem to be mostly things like scratches and what looks like water spots or other bits of water staining. Here are some photos:

A scratch in the wood.


Scuffing on the side of the arm.


What looks like water damage on another arm.

I know there are best practices for this sort of thing, but given that this is something I'm tackling in my office during 15 minutes of lunch every day, I'm looking for your best ideas for a "pretty good" solution that will get these chairs looking good-at-a-glance, not to a state of absolute perfection. Thanks for your thoughts!
 

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If you are looking for a temporary solution old english scratch cover for dark wood cover works well for spots like that. You can also use the meat from a pecan. If you are looking for a more permanent solution then the finish needs to be recoated. This involves thoroughly cleaning the furniture with a wax and grease remover such as Dupont Prepsol Solvent. Then scuff sand the furniture and recoat. Probably the easiest finish to work with would be lacquer but some testing should be done first. Lacquer has the potential of damaging the finish should the old finish be a oil based varnish. In some inspicious place put a drop of lacquer finish on the old finish and see if it dries smooth and clear. If it is an oil based finish it should wrinkle up and should be recoated with an oil based finish. Most factory finishes are lacquer or shellac which both would be compatable with a lacquer recoat. It would be necessary to spray the finish but isn't necessary to have high dollar spray equipment to do it. I use Harbor Freight sprayers.
 
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