Friday, July 10, 2015

Antique Chair Restoration ~ Reassembling

For quite awhile, I have been wanting to work on my chairs again, and this week, was able to do that! This past winter, I had finished taking them apart, stripped them of their stain, and sanded them, and the next step was putting them back together (using wood glue in all the joints.)

Dad was really busy this week so he wasn't able to be there for the whole process, but he helped me get started by helping put the backs of the chairs together. After learning from him during that step, Leah and I felt more comfortable doing the rest on our own. Though Dad still came to our rescue at times such as when we needed just a little more muscle to pound some of the dowels in all the way. :)

Getting ready to assemble a chair front (we started working on a table, but moved to a concrete floor part way through as the table had too much 'give' when pounding in dowels.)

It was a lot of fun to do this together! Though fast paced since the wood glue only takes thirty minutes to dry. There were a lot of pieces to get together, straightened, leveled, cleaned up of excess glue, etc. in that amount of time!

(That is one reason why there aren't many photos, and there would have been even less, but Mom had a few minutes and was so kind to take a few today while we were working . . .)

Leah and I spreading the glue up the sides in the dowel holes

With only having done anything like this once before (on the first chair that my Dad and I did several years ago), it certainly was a learning experience! It was a bit challenging at times, too, as parts of the wood and dowels were not in the greatest shape - some dowel ends were chipped and worn, others had misshapen ends, some parts were bowed, etc.

Leah pounding the pieces of one of the chairs together . . . she would pound, then I would measure until they were where they needed to be. This was the second chair, and one that we needed Dad's help with to get the dowels in the last little bit.

Both Dad and Leah have a knack for working with wood and 'construction', and I couldn't have done this without both of their help. The chairs wouldn't have turned out nearly as well without their skills!

As we worked, it was exciting to see all the different pieces coming together and then once we were done, seeing each chair all in one piece again!

All three! And please don't look too close. :) There are quite a few imperfections!
The one on the right is the first one my Dad and I had put together (which is already stained and had the Tung Oil finish applied), and the two on the left are the ones assembled this week. 

Even with their imperfections, for a first attempt at something like this, I am quite pleased with how they turned out. Now comes another fun step . . . staining! And then applying the Tung Oil finish, attaching the seats to the chairs, and then caning.

This has been such a fun project so far, and I am really looking forward to continuing to work on it. Which will be happening this next week, as well as Leah working on her own furniture restoration project. More about both will be coming in a later post!


  1. Sarah, they look incredibly professional. Well done! They are a lovely design and must be a pleasure to work with. What are you going to do for the seats, I wonder?

  2. AnonymousJuly 11, 2015

    Sarah, you and your sister did a wonderful job on those chairs. I probably would have a piece leftover if I attempted something like that. Joan

  3. Your chairs are lovely! I am amazed at how capable you and your sister are in so many things!

  4. Sarah they look great I can't wait to see them totally finished. Have a blessed Sunday :)

  5. Thank you, Elizabeth! They are indeed a pleasure to work with. :) I can tell that they have been restored once already, so this is the third time for them!

    For the seats, I will be putting in pre-woven caning. I haven't done that type of cane seat before so it will be a new experience!

  6. Welcome to my blog, Joan, and thank you! I can see how something that could happen. :) Or mix up the pieces and not know which goes where!

  7. Thank you so much, Sarah! It was/is a lot of fun to work with them!

  8. Thank you, Marie! I have been working away on them and will be posting more about them before long . . . maybe next week? I look forward to sharing!

    Thank you! I hope you did as well.

  9. The chairs look great, Sarah! Awesome job!

  10. Thank you, Mrs. Anne!

  11. Worth every bit of (hard) work! Really beautiful.

  12. Yes, it is, Alex! And thank you. :)


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