When is a chair all legs?

I mentioned saving an old rocking chair from ending up in the landfill.  Little did I know just how much love this chair needed.  This was hand-built from a few pieces of wood joined to make a seat and almost every other piece was a leg from at least one other chair at one time. The arms, back supports, etc they were intended to be used as legs and probably were before.

There was nothing which was assembled properly, holes were drilled too big, nothing was glued together so just touching one piece or another (most times multiple pieces) fell apart. I’ve finished repairing the chair into something not only safe to use, but kind of quirky.

Looking back at the before picture I had set most of the pieces together to take the picture, one of the back supports kept falling out, so I gave up, frustrated, and took the picture any way.  Do you notice the white on the one “arm”?  That was gauze wrapped around the wood to hide a screw (and protect the person sitting in the chair I would assume) which was sticking out. I removed the gauze and the screw as well and reassembled the pieces gluing them together instead.

Since this was in such a broken-down condition you may be wondering why I carried it back to my home.  Simple, I hate to see anything end up in the landfills.  One of my goals is to live a zero-waste life so just sitting here seeing it destined for the landfill was too much to bear.

I won’t be keeping this chair.  It will be set out under a grouping of trees for a shady seat all my  neighbors can use.  After that it will need a home to go to.  Do you have a piece of wood furniture you would like to update but don’t know how?  Here’s a well-written tutorial on preparing and doing the job right, although I use a low VOC primer.

A few places where the builder tried to keep the pieces assembled he (or she) used wood screws to secure the pieces.  Some I removed, securing the pieces with glue.  Others I left alone if they were doing the job.

The seat could best be described as “what in the world were you thinking”.  Four pieces of wood were held together by nailing another two pieces of thinner wood on one side.  Underneath, another two smaller pieces were then nailed for added support.  I don’t know why you would go to the trouble to create a chair and not at least locate a solid piece of wood to use as a seat.

Here is the chair now safe thanks to a lot of gorilla glue. This may not be the most green product I could have used, but it’s the strongest glue I’ve ever found.

Once I could safely touch the chair to work on it, I sanded it to remove all the old varnish and any rough spots (the seat pieces were so dry there were areas that were splintering).  since I knew I was going to paint this I didn’t worry about removing all the original stain, but I did get most in the process.

Finally sanded down I pulled out my old can of primer and gave it several coats.  The seat area took four coats as the dry wood  sucked up the first three.

I really liked it white, but that was only primer.  I had promised myself I was going to repair and restore this at zero cost.  So far I had accomplished that.  I already owned the glue, primer and sandpaper and had a left-over  can of polycrylic from 2002 I would use for the top sealer.  But now I needed paint.  I called my daughter-in-law and asked her if she had any of the paint left from projects we had worked on for her home.

She had one paint left and she knew exactly where it was, she offered to bring it by next time she stopped.

So here’s the finished chair, minus the cushion we found,  it’s too big and I have to take it apart and re-size it.  We’ve already tried it out and determined the chair is very comfortable. I should mention I had help painting after completing the priming. My 3 year old grand-daughter wanted to help.

I turned the chair over to let her paint the underside, but before I knew it she was painting the arms and bending upside down to paint the seat as well. Surprisingly, she didn’t have any drips or areas I needed to touch up. I think we have a budding artist on our hands. I’d share the pictures of her, but since I wanted to save her clothes she ended up painting in her underwear.

This isn’t my color, I’m the tomboy who loves neutrals, but it drew some attention while I was putting on the final coat.  And best of all, before I even had the sealer coat on it the chair had found a home come fall.  Mission accomplished!

What do you think of the finished product? Don’t worry you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like the color.



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