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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anti-Sanding Chair Refinish

I hate sanding.  My sander and I are still not on cordial terms after that Great Kitchen Redo of '11.  So after I painted my laminate bookshelves with the wonder primer designed to stick to anything....the light bulb went on.
I could totally use this primer on my awesomely awesome thrift store chairs and not have to sand them.  Genius.  Well, perhaps the folks at Zinsser are more deserving of that label.  Anyway.  So let's get to it, shall we?
Here is my glorious chair, one of my favorite thrift store finds:
A long string of events I won't bore you with led me to check underneath the chairs (I bough two) for a name.  Which I then Googled.  Which led me to discover that these $5 thrift store chairs of mine...originally retailed starting at $767 each.  I KNEW they were quality!  Just a little worse for wear....

So here's what I used for a sanding-free refinishing:

Wood filler
Zinsser Cover Stain Primer @ $16.97 a gallon

Valspar Clear Protector top coat @ $20.97 a gallon

Smooth rollers
Foam brushes
Paintbrush and rags for glaze

1)  Take a damp rag, and wipe those babies down from head to toe top to bottom.  Make sure to get all the dust and grime out of the nooks and crannies; you need a clean surface to start with.
2) For any knicks or gouges, fill them in with wood filler.
Let it dry only slightly, then take your damp rag and lightly wipe off the overfill excess, being careful not to wipe it out of the knicks/gouges.  If you find the rag is removing too much, just wet your fingertip and use that instead.
3) Let dry thoroughly.

1) Take your foam brush and get that primer into all the nooks and crannies you think a roller won't get to.
Then come back with the roller, and roll on a coat.
2) Then repeat!  I recommend two coats, and you may need to go back with the foam brushes for a third coat in those hard to reach corners.
3) Depending on the color of paint you choose (i.e., if you choose a dark color), you may want to follow up with a coat of Glidden Gripper Grey primer.  I chose red paint, and didn't even think to do this.  Yeah, regretted it after a million six coats of paint!

1) Ditto.  Take that foam brush and get the paint into all the nooks and crannies you think a roller won't get to.  Then come back with the roller, and roll on a coat.
2) Repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat. And repeat.  Actually, for your sake, I really hope it doesn't take that many coats!  Learn from me, as I said above, if you are using a dark color of paint, throw on a coat of Gripper Grey before you start painting!

1) There are many different methods for glazing.  This time around, I used a foam brush to brush it all over, especially into the corners, then used a dry rag (I don't recommend knit, since the glaze is sticky, the fuzz from the knit will stick to it) to wipe it off.  Since I was applying the glaze over such a dark color of paint, this worked really well.  If you're using a lighter color, you may want to use a slightly damp rag to wipe it off.  It's all about personal preferences, how dark you want the glaze to be.
1) This stuff is awesome.  And really straight forward and easy to use.  Just paint it on.  Dries clear with just the slightest sheen.  I use two coats generally....except for the bookshelves that went in my family room to hold my kids' books and toys.  They got four coats!

Okay, now if you're doing some basic reupholstering as I did with these chairs, this is what you'll need:

Home decor fabric (in other words, something sturdy enough for upholstery)
Foam (if replacement is needed)
Cover fabric
Staple gun

1) First things first, gotta remove the old.  I seriously considered just reupholstering over them, but that ugly maroon fabric was just so dusty and grimy...
so onto removing the staples.  I used my screwdriver to wedge underneath each staple and wiggled them up, then pulled them out with a pair of needle nose pliers.
26 staples holding down the cover layer, and once I pulled that off, I discovered.....
a million more staples holding the upholstery on.  Horrors!  (to quote Sheldon.)
By the time I finished pulling all those out, my back ached, my legs were permanently cramped in a weird position, and I thought it was time for a break.  Like a tall Diet Coke and very large piece of cheesecake kind of break.  Unfortunately, since I had neither of those, instead I took a good look at the foam padding that was under the old ugly upholstery.
Ack!  It's dingy!  It's dirty!  It's disgusting!  It's.....time for an emergency run to JoAnn to buy new foam!
2) Okay, next I took that yucky piece of upholstery and laid it down (dirty side UP!) onto my lovely new fabric (courtesy of our local Calico Corners).
Pinned it into place, then cut it on out!
3) And then repeated the same idea with the foam.  Take the old, lay it on the new, and draw around it with a magic marker (except I used a blue highlighter since I couldn't find my magic marker, which knowing my 3 year old, is a very bad thing).
Pull off the old, then cut it out.
4) Now comes the fun part: the staple gun!  Layer it like a sandwich: fabric, foam and then the form you're stapling to.
This next part requires two people, no getting around it. One person pulls the fabric taut, and the other staples.
I started out stapling with my husband pulling, but quickly switched.  It takes a bit more skill to pull fabric and foam taut and just so that it does to wield a staple gun.
When you get to the corners, fold the corner into the center first,
then fold the sides over on top of it.
Also, be careful not to pull unevenly or too tight, or you might have gaps when you put the seat back on (happened to me, had to take out all the staples and do it over again).
5) Then staple on the cover fabric, and don't pull too hard on that or it will tear. (Oh, and don't try to iron out the wrinkles either, or you'll end up with a big hole in your fabric and a lovely mess to clean off your iron. Trust me.)
6) And reassemble!  Screw the seat back on, and enjoy your new chair!!!

Just a recap:
Ah, some pizzazz and life!  That's better!  :)

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