Refinishing Antique Dining Chairs (Restor-A-Finish & Stain)

I have not been around for a few months, and I apologize for that. I've been having a lot of complications since having back surgery  (which I will update soon...you are going to freak out!) and my blog has had to be put on the back burner. That's not to say I haven't been doing projects. I have managed to get some stuff done. Beaten down but not beat! That's my new motto.

I shared a post a few months ago about recovering a lampshade without styrene. The gentleman I did that lamp for had some other things he wanted me to refinish before he moved to his retirement home. Gorgeous furniture that belonged to his parents and grandparents. He's in his 70's, so you can imagine how old it is.

I want to share a few with you and what I used to restore them. The first is this beautiful dining chair.

On this one, I wanted to just clean it up and give it life. I wanted to even out the patina and fix a few issues. As you can see, the cushion needs a little work, and it is also missing a rod underneath.

To fix the rod, I just purchased one from Home Depot that was the same circumference of the original and cut to size. I made sure to later tell them that this is not a structural fix, and more of an aesthetic addition.

I measured it to go in about half way through the side rails on the bottom.

 Then I measured my drill bit, and put tape where I wanted it to stop.

 Then I said a little prayer.

I should mention that this rod had been outside, so it got rained on. It was pliable when I went to put it in place. I also stained it black before I glued it in with wood glue. It being soaked with water is just an FYI, incase you are in a similar situation and have to bend it to get it in.


This chair is so old, you can see where the old varnish and patina is bubbling. I sanded this down very lightly. I didn't want to lose the color, just even it out.

To get the color I wanted I used the sludge that was on the bottom of the stain can. This is Ebony.
After one coat.


After two coats.

And a third coat with just the liquid stain.


I cut some foam for the seat and covered it in coordinating fabric from the lamp I did before. Then I stapled it in place.

I trimmed it out with some brown felt ribbon and a smaller decorative trim. And I'm sorry for the quality of the pics, but these were taken in his house and the lights were really yellow. I cleaned them up the best I could.

Here she is!

The other chair is a lighter brown and just needed to be refreshed. It had mystery white spots and overall dull appearance. It's solid and has gorgeous detailing.

I lightly sanded the white spots and when they were blurred, I used Restor-A-Finish with #0000 steel wool. This product is kind of like teak oil with a little bit of stain in it.

Now, I like it, but it really depends on what you're using it on. I tried it on this one piece and it did nothing.

Here's a side by side of the seat. And an after of the top.

Again, these were taken in at my client's house, so they are a little yellow. But you can see it has some sheen to it, and it really freshened it up.

The third piece was an old lawyers case. It came in 3 main parts, with a top and bottom wood piece. You can see how dull and lifeless it is.

With a little Restor-A-Finish and steel wool, and it is bright and shiny...and almost as good as new.

He couldn't stop touching it. :)

Thanks for joining me! Happy restorations!



  1. Thanks for sharing on Whatever Wednesday on Thank You Honey! Great work. You're chairs came out awesome. Hope you have a fabulous week!

  2. Wow, you do nice work! I'm comng to you from the Twirl & Take A Bow Party and have added you to my Must Follow list. Looking forward to getting to know you and your blog better.
    Marie @ The Interior Frugalista

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your chairs with us on Twirl and Take a Bow Tuesday. They turned out lovely. Beautiful work! ~Tammy

  4. Magnificent website. Lots of helpful info here. I'm sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you on your effort!


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