The Sewing Place

Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs

Flobear

Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« on: October 30, 2021, 11:49:09 AM »
My G Plan dining chairs and table, that I obtained second-hand in 1976, have given sterling service over the years but the chairs in particular need some love and some new clothes.

I've seen seat fabric in Doughty's but I presume the padding underneath will need replacing too by now and I expect I'll need to buy online. The upholstery is not a difficult task and I have done a little in the past but had an upholstery supplies shop 3 miles down the road where I lived before.

Any suggestions of where to obtain supplies online would be welcome.

The main problem for me is what to do with the wooden frames. They are polished (not shiny) wood - teak, I think - and in some parts look faded or have had things dropped on them which has taken colour out. I am happy to bingle and see what I can find out but, if anyone with some experience can offer advice, I like to get it from real people!

Many thanks, dear TSPers, for reading my ramble.
A sewing room now painted, in use and awaiting curtains.

SkoutSews

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2021, 12:22:18 PM »
Lakeland orange oil is good for improving the appearance of teak. https://www.lakeland.co.uk/25871/Lakeland-Orange-Oil-Wood-Furniture-Polish-500ml
It smells good too!

Elnnina

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2021, 14:43:29 PM »
I am an avid watcher of The Repair Shop particularly at the moment as I am abut to clean up an old Victorian/Edwardian treadle wooden table top and cover, and according to Will Kirk he uses a mixture of equal quantities of Turpentine, Methylated Spirit, White Vinegar and Linseed oil, and uses a white cloth to apply this, and says you can see the black/grey on the cloth, but it if goes brown/yellow then you are taking of the varnish if any.  Helen Howes also recommended that I use something called Danish Oil, whereas Will Kirk uses beeswax.  Both Helen Howes and Will Kirk use the very finest wire wool which is grade 0000.

If you go into Google and type in Will Kirk cleaning wood you should then find a You Tube link where he mentions this cleaning solution - thanks to Charley on TSP for giving me this link.

HenriettaMaria

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2021, 14:51:16 PM »
I did much the same a couple of years ago, but on newer chairs that had been sold as leather-seated but weren't.  There is a good video of how to attach this kind of job here, which I found very helpful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0GjPZaBtI4

You need a fabric with a very high Martindale number (rub count) otherwise you'll be doing the job again in a couple of years!

I used this supplier for the foam pads.   

https://upholsterywarehouse.co.uk/search?type=product&q=foam

I got the pre-cut ones (but watch the video above before buying - you need them oversized).  This site will also sell you the polyester wadding that needs to go between the top fabric and the foam to prevent abrasion happening between the two.

You also need a decent staple gun and plenty of staples, and a staple remover, of course.

The wood can be easily revived by sanding with fine-guage sandpaper and revarnishing. 

However, if you want a streak-free finish you might be better sending the frames to your local furniture restorer - we have one that goes by the name '...French Polishing' but offers a complete furniture refurbishment (and cabinetmaking) service.  They've revived a 1920's oak barley-twist leg dining table and a 1950's G-Plan bureau for us.  Not bargain-basement prices but cheaper than buying similar quality new.


Esme866

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2021, 20:59:27 PM »
Oh, I wish I lived next door so I could help! This is a project I could sink my teeth into.

Without seeing the chairs, it's hard to say what will give a finish you'd be pleased with. Trying orange or lemon oil may help, but chances are after almost 50 years of use, a refinish is probably warranted.

Busted to Buff, Dashner Design and a few others are excellent YouTube sources. If any of the joints are loose, they will need re-gluing.

The seats are probably foam over plywood or hardboard. I have a "go to" solution for seating foam I've used for years. I use 1/2" carpet padding, readily available at DIY hardware stores.The foam is much more resilient than a lot of seating foam - "resilience" is how well the foam recovers once it is squished/compressed. Since it's only 1/2" thick , I simply cut and use as many layers as I need. I just stack them on the seat, I've never bothered gluing them together. I started down this path because foam is a 20 mile drive to downtown (one way) and carpet padding is a 3 mile drive to the DIY store. But ever since, I prefer the carpet padding for dining type chair seats.

As far as choosing an upholstery, the rub count is usually on the tag, but I've pulled $5/HD pieces out of clearance bins that have held up great. The only rule I can think of is this: the thinner the fabric, the tighter the weave needs to be. Basically, don't grab drapery fabric by mistake, though some of it will work too.

Flobear

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2021, 21:49:34 PM »
Thank you @Esme866  :D

The wood finish does want a bit of a spruce up although, having had no children, it's not too bad considering the age. On one chair some glueing is required.

When I saw the fabrics that I fell for, I saw something that I thought was Macron numbers and wondered where a French President came into it! Chap serving at the counter kindly put me right  :P

Not sure if the photos help at all but they can count as 'Before' !



« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 21:53:21 PM by Flobear »
A sewing room now painted, in use and awaiting curtains.

Lilian

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2021, 21:52:59 PM »
Thank you @Esme866  :D

The wood finish does want a bit of a spruce up although, having had no children, it's not too bad considering the age. On one chair some glueing is required.

When I saw the fabrics that I fell for, I saw something about Macron numbers and wondered where a French President came into it! Chap serving at the counter kindly put me in the picture  :P

Not sure if the photos help at all but they can count as 'Before' !





I have four of the exact same chairs!   Mine are covered in a blue velvety fabric  :)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 21:55:21 PM by Lilian »
Willing but not always able :)

Esme866

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2021, 00:45:48 AM »
@Flobear and @Lilian  I LOVE those chairs! I keep a lookout on Craigslist here locally for anything similar but availability and my pocketbook never seem to match up at the same time. I did buy a teak buffet several years back in the same 70's contemporary, but I've yet to get the table and chairs.

Flobear, the finish does still look very good on your chairs. I lucked into a lone Scandinavian designed chair (has the designer/architects name stamped on it)for $12 several years back in similar condition. I use it at my dressing table. I simply touched it up with furniture repair markers and then oiled it. It looked great except my cat at the time for some reason began "attacking" the arms. It was his new favorite wrestling buddy and it had several teeth marks within a few days. Filled those, touched up and then applied two coats of wipe on polyurethane. The poly turns a bit amber as it ages, the same way shellac and varnish do. Its held up great. (And for some reason, once it was poly'd, cat never bothered it again).

Renegade Sewist

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2021, 02:21:13 AM »
@Flobear that is very minimal damage to the finish. Here I would be suggesting Howard's Restor a finish. It is available in the UK. Most antique dealers have sword by the stuff for decades. I've used it since the mid 70's. It comes in 9 shades. Excellent for removing water damage. One thing with any of the oil and solvent based restorers is let the product dry/cure before you do the upholstery or sit on it. If you don't it will wick into the cushion and your clothes. This is true even of the orange oil some others have suggested. Mostly we use those products on table tops and the sides of furniture cabinetry so it can be a surprise when you get it on your clothes.

For the reglueing do use a wood glue. I would suggest one designed for chairs. They are marvelous. I have one from Lee Valley Tools that you inject with a provided needle into the space of the chair rung then clamp or tighten into place and let it cure. It goes into the end grain of the rung and causes it to expand then cures giving it a very snug fit.

Ellabella

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2021, 10:15:59 AM »
Hi jacking this thread slightly, sorry @Flobear , can anyone suggest a way to get those white watermarks of a nest of tables?

I inherited these from my mum and the are very useful and fit where I use them but years of kids and now kids have taken their toll.

I don’t know what wood the are but it is fairly light. I know I could sand them back but then DH would take over, make a very good job but then would moan for ages about how much time he had to spend on them and bore me rigid when he explained for the nth time what he had to do.

Diane

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2021, 11:20:50 AM »
@Ellabella I've used mayonnaise before and it did work

https://youtu.be/HLWyIltiqxk

I’m a fabricholic on the road to recovery. Just kidding. I’m on the road to the fabric store.

Janome 4300QDC, Overlocker Brother 1034d

Renegade Sewist

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2021, 11:57:35 AM »
@Ellabella , the Howard's Restor a Finish I mentioned earlier is what 8 out of 10 antiques dealers would use. It's quick, simple, yields fantastic results and is available in the UK. Or ask at a big box hardware/ home improvement store for that or a similar product. There is seldom a need to actually refinish a table top just for water marks.

Ploshkin

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2021, 12:03:28 PM »
I did make a big improvement to water marks on a pine dresser with a hair dryer.  I don't know how  it works but it did.
Life's too short for ironing.

HenriettaMaria

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2021, 12:42:40 PM »
I once got white marks out of a French polished table by rubbing it with Brasso!

Greybird

Re: Refurbishing 1970s dining room chairs
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2021, 12:49:35 PM »
I've never tried it and wouldn't have the wherewithal, but I read once that if you rub in cigarette ash and polish it off with a dry cloth that should fix it.