Random (but not really)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Project: Kitchen Chairs

This one is going to be a little more complicated.

I inherited Grandmom’s kitchen table and chairs. She said that they were “antique” when she and Popbo were given them by one of his aunts, who had the set in her attic (or perhaps basement).

Popbo refinished the set, and then they were used every day. Over the years chairs broke and were repaired with greater or lesser degrees of skill (depending upon who was doing the fixing). When they started to get unstable, and she was afraid one might fall apart while she was using it, we used L brackets to brace them up, and at the same time recovered the seats, and that’s how things have been since–the late 90s probably.

So I have a table and chairs that are in need of a good deal of work, but also very old. And more importantly, of great value to me because they were Grandmom’s.

Essentially, I don’t want to make things worse, but it’s reached the point where something really does need to be done.

The table I can probably manage, since I’ve refinished tables before.

The chairs, however, worry me.

I’m not worried about the sanding and refinishing, but it seems silly to do all that work without repairing them, and THAT I am not comfortable doing.

The chair in the right is in the worst shape. You can see it was badly broken and poorly repaired. We try to make sure small people never sit in this chair.

Kitchen Chairs

Here is a closer look at the repair job. The back slat was replaced with a mostly-matching piece of wood, but the repair where it was rejoined is–awful.

Kitchen Chairs

The bracing is on the underside, out of sight in this view, but somewhat visible from the side. It’s just a brass L bracket, carefully screwed into the wood.

Kitchen Chairs

Here is the view from the back.

Kitchen Chairs

I’ve started by simply cleaning the wood with Murphy’s Oil soap and an old toothbrush and nail brush and soft cloths, and that’s helped, but they really need sanded and several new coats of polyurethane. (Several coats, because this is MY kitchen table now, and I use it every day.)

So, here is the question. Does anyone have advice or recommendations for me? Or is anyone willing to trade delicious baked goods for assistance in this project?

I’m assuming the wood is 100+ years old and so I am extremely leery of removing any existing screws for fear of causing further damage (or not being able to get things back together without breaking something.

Did I mention delicious baked goods of your choice in trade?

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