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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

picking up strays

Some people can't resist taking home stray animals. I can't resist taking home orphaned chairs.

I spotted another one at "the Goodwill" (as my friend Maria calls it) and I couldn't resist picking it up. It had good bones and the seat was in great shape -- a must if you ever consider reupholstering one. The lines and color of the wood felt slightly mid-century modern which I thought was very cool. The fabric on the other hand ... well that left much to be desired.

Though it photographed well the old and ratty material gave it a dentist office feel and was a little on the rough side. So unless you were looking for a chair that could shave your legs, it wasn't really anything you'd want to cuddle up in.

While I normally go for the quick and easy paint job on my found furniture, I really wanted to keep the wood, just darken it. So I put the chair in the garage and headed off to Home Depot for some supplies. Shortly after arriving I realized once again I didn't know what I was doing. I circled around in the paint area for a while looking for a nice dark stain and finally spotted something I thought would work.

Next I needed some sandpaper (should be easy to find, right?) and after heading off into the great unknown, spotted a Home Depot man in his little orange apron so I decided to ask him.

Me: Can you tell me where the sandpaper is?
Depot Man: For a hand sander or electric sander?
Me: *silence*
Depot Man: Does it use power or just something small that fits in your hand?
Me: It's electric. Definitely electric.
Depot Man: *eyes me suspiciously but starts heading off with me trailing behind*.
Me: When you say electric do you mean it plugs into the wall?
Depot Man: Stops mid aisle "yes, it uses power."
Me: Oh. Okay, mine uses power. I think it's a Ryobi. (I throw this out there hoping it will buy me some credibility. Depot Man does not look convinced.)

We arrive at the sanders and there are about 2 zillion of them.

Depot Man: Which one do you have?
Me: *silence*chew on lip*shuffle over to sanders to get a closer look*
Depot Man: Is it small or larger like this?
Me: Ah, let's just go buy a hand sander...

I'll save you the rest of this humiliating story but let's just say it basically continued on like this for a while with other customers glaring at me while I walked all over the store, apparently "hogging" the help. Oy.

When I finally left, I had a nifty little sander-bar-thingy, some stain and a brush.

These, however, would need to wait a couple days because there was other work to do. The first step was to examine the staples and begin removing them. I usually take pictures of the chair as I go so I can use the first upholstery job as a template when putting it back together. Note this part is NOT fun and is the reason I wouldn't actually ever recommend doing this. Do not try at home...

Because there are many staples and they are fairly difficult to remove, I spread the work out over a couple days and when done, I had this.

The next step was to sand the chair, so the stain could absorb into the wood. My bar did a pretty decent job. 

Afterwards, I was ready to stain my garage floor, er, I mean chair. It wasn't too hard to do but when done, it didn't end up quite as dark as I had hoped (and there was a little "incident" on the garage floor that appears to be permanent). Anyhow, I followed the directions and waited overnight before staining it again. When it was ready, this is how it looked. Progress!

My original plan was to do a simple white cotton duck fabric to keep it really clean, but then I stumbled across this and it was love at first sight. Typically a nice upholstery fabric like this would run about $25/yard. This was on clearance for $7.00 (can you hear the heavenly choir of angels singing? I did.).

All that was left to do was staple the fabric back in place and this takes some patience too which ironically, I do not have. So again, I spread the work out a bit and finally I have this.

Is it perfect? No. But I do think it got a new life and now it needs a new home!

If anyone is interested in this chair, this is one of those projects that I did for the challenge but just can't keep. (I have too many strays here already.)  In instances like this (and I'll have more later on) I'm selling it for the cost of the project, $45 in this case. If it would look great in your home and you have an extra $45 laying around, let me know and it's yours!

She found a home - a really good one with one of my favorite people!

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