finished (for now) banker’s chair

May 18, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Antiques, During, Furniture, Projects | 9 Comments

Over the weekend, I puta few coats of polyurethane on my old banker’s chair, and then I managed to put all of the pieces back together.  I am pretty proud of myself, so now I’m going to share a million pictures with you.  It still needs a seat (obviously) and is missing casters on the bottom, but those will have to wait until after the big move.

What do you think?  A little bit better than this (the before), right?


Chair Update

May 14, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Posted in During, Furniture, Projects | 5 Comments

Remember this chair?  I hoped to get her done by today for the Project Procrastinator’s Party at the Inspired Room, but I skipped out of town last weekend to visit my husband and family instead.

I did end up staining the chair a bit darker.  The light patch on the right side of the chair back was driving me nuts, so I darkened it by adding another coat of stain.

I hope to find time to put on a few coats of polyurethane this weekend, and to put the chair all back together before the movers come next Thursday!

that old bankers chair

May 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Antiques, Before, During, Furniture, Projects | 20 Comments

My main project for the weekend (involving tools!) was working on the old bankers chair I found on Craigslist.  You know, the one I blogged about finding months ago and has since taken up residence and collected dust in the basement. (I should also note that I was inspired to revisit this project thanks to the Inspired Room’s Project Procrastinator’s Party)

Last time you saw my chair, she looked like this:

I was going to paint her, but a few of you talked me out of it.

So instead, I stripped and re-stained her.

My chair-stripping supplies

The stripping process was pretty easy since she was old and neglected and didn’t have much polyurethane on her.  I used about 3 coats of stripper.  For the first 2 coats, I spread the stripper with a paintbrush and scraped it off with a plastic scraper.  For the third layer, I used a green brill-o pad with a bit of stripper and lightly scrubbed the chair, pressing a little bit harder on some of the darker spots.  I washed the stripper off using a different green brill-o pad soaked in water.  Then, I wiped down the chair one last time with the odorless mineral spirits (to make sure all of the stripper came off).

Next, I used some wood filler to fill in the gaps on either side of the chair back.  I then sanded down the entire chair, using my handy-dandy mouse (detail sander) and some 120 grit sandpaper.

Finally, I dusted off the chair and applied some pre-stain conditioner to make the stain adhere evenly on all parts of the chair.  I used a dark stain – red mahogony – and only applied 1 coat.  I may go in and apply another coat later, but wanted to see what only one coat would look like.

I also removed all of the metal pieces from the chair, and boiled them with water and baking soda to remove old paint and dirt.  This worked like a charm, but most of the pieces were a bit rusty.  So I rinsed them and then let them sit in distilled vinegar overnight.  The next day, I scrubbed them with steel wool and a metal brush and rinsed them again to get most of the rust off.

I wasn’t able to get all of the rust off, but the large flaky pieces came off, and the base was smooth enough to be primed and painted with Rustoleum.  I was particularly excited that after all of the cleaning and scraping, I was able to move some of the springs and other apparatus that allow the chair to swivel and recline!

I also discovered the the chair was made by the Milwaukee Chair Company, and patented in the 1914s.  The markings on the metal had been rusted and painted over so many times that they were un-readable.  But the hot water and vinegar baths solved that problem.  I can’t find much information on the Milwaukee Chair Company, but I do know that they made chairs from the 1880s-1940s, and that they supplied the chairs found in the House and Senate chambers of the capitol.  The Milwaukee Chair Company eventually branched out and produced wooden phonograph cabinets, and created Paramount Records, a record label known for blues and jazz in the 1920s and 1930s.

The wooden rectangle to the right of the above photo is the seat for the chair.  It was cained and covered with leather.  And it was completely falling apart.  I plan to cut a new seat, pad it with foam, and recover with a fun fabric.

I will also have to apply a few coats of polyurethane to the wooden parts of the chair, and reassemble all of the metal goodies above.  The chair also needs new casters, as a few of the originals were broken.  Stay tuned… I hope to have it all finished before the move!

Craigslist Joys

February 6, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Furniture, Our Home, Our Study | 5 Comments
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I’ve been scouring Craigslist lately, looking for a desk that will go with our new old banker’s chair.  I want something that looks like this:

Simple, square, 1930s era desk.  Said desk needs to be less than 44″ wide to fit in our little office.  And, in my dream world, this desk is under $50 and has few scratches (because, I think you guys persuaded me to re-stain the banker’s chair instead of painting, and I thought it would look nice if the desk and chair were stained similarly).  In case anyone is wondering, the above desk sold for $675.  So I might be dreaming here.

Anyways, the point is… this desk is hard to find.  But it’s okay, because I’m up for a challenge!  Unless any of you know where I can find one of these beauties (or can suggest a good alternative)…

An old banker’s chair

January 23, 2009 at 10:24 am | Posted in Before, Furniture, Our Home, Our Study, Projects | 10 Comments
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Check out my recent craigslist find:

It’s an old wooden banker’s chair in need of a little love!  I’m hoping to make it look like this:

Pottery Barn Swivel Desk Chair

I’m going to clean the wood and then paint it white, add new casters, and recover the seat, probably using a cute green fabric.  When she’s done, she’ll have a place in the study, along with the curtains that I purchased a month or two ago from Urban Outfitters (I actually purchased two “tapestries” for $10 each on sale, so I will have to cut them into 2 separate panels and sew them into curtains)… stay tuned… (and wish me luck!)

Urban Outfitters Birdie Stamp Pattern

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