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How to Refurbish a Wooden Chair

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How to Refurbish a Wooden Chair
How to Refurbish a Wooden Chair

Pick a well-ventilated location, such as a patio or outdoor work space, when sanding, priming and painting used furniture.

Photo © Jami Delia

Wooden sitting or table chairs are one of the easiest (and sometimes most inexpensive) pieces of used furniture to pick up at thrift stores, garage sales or even on the side of the road. However, they usually need a bit of work. Not only do they usually need a fresh coat of paint or lacquer, but also some basic repair and TLC.

When searching for a chair to refurbish, look for something that is sturdy and well-built. Unless you absolutely love a certain chair, don't go for something that will cost more to refurbish than buying new or that will require more time and effort than you're willing to put into the piece. Try to look for chairs you can refurbish (and repair) with items you already have at home or, at least, the most commonly used refurbishing tools and supplies that will be useful in other projects.

This project details how to refurbish a basic wooden chair with a few scratches and dents and an excessive amount of dried wood glue from a repair job gone wrong. So what's needed? Only the basics:

  • sandpaper and electric sander (recommended, but not necessary)
  • wood filler or putty
  • primer
  • paint
  • a well-ventilated work area

Before getting started, make sure you clean your chair thoroughly to remove any dust, cobwebs or sticky residue. Also, make sure you have a well-ventilated place to work, such as an outdoor patio or work area, and an old sheet, drop cloth, cardboard or newspapers to cover the ground area.

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