Saturday, February 4, 2012

Refinishing an Early 19th Century Windsor Chair

I was cleaning out our basement utility room and came across two of these old chairs. My wife wanted to throw them out, but I like them. They are hand-me-downs from her maternal grandparents, and they likely got them from their parents, originating in Ohio. Estimated age is 150 - 200 years old. They are small; the seats are only 13" wide by 14" deep, and the top of the back is 31" high.

I am totally impressed with their construction and integrity - they do not creak and they don't move at all when they are used. Really sturdy. At the moment I am stripping that ugly brown paint off, and we'll see what they are made of, literally.

The backs have a pronounced rake, which makes them comfortable to sit in, in spite of their small size.
After the initial application of stripper and some scraping, this is what we are looking at.  I've wet the chair seat with mineral spirits so that you can see the wood grain better.  As you can see from the close-up pic, the wood looks quite weathered and washed out, so the MS helps see the grain pattern. You can also see brown spots, which are remnants of paint, white filler, and unknown black spots.  I'm guessing either the initial paint or perhaps just weathering of the wood?

Judging from the application of filler and the brown paint, these have obviously been restored at some point.  Whoever did it seemed to know what they were doing.

More later.....

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