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Refinishing Before and After
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Child's Rocker Pgm

Refinishing before and after

Child's Rocker Refinish

Below is a child's rocker rebuilt and refinished by the Chair Doctor of Grand Junction.  It is easy to guess which is before and which is after.  The bottom picture is a close up of the seat.  You can click on all of the 'after' pictures to get close ups if you want.





The wood used for the chair wasn't premium wood, which is typical for a lot of kid's furniture, so the grain is not particularly exciting, especially in the before state.  However, after finishing it looks much more interesting and appealing, particularly the seat.  The finish used on the chair originally was more like paint, while the 'after' color is provided by a dye stain applied directly to the wood.  The seat pieces were difficult to glue because they were warped and not very uniform.

Oak Veneer Table Refinish

Below is a round table veneered in quarter-sawn white oak.  There were numerous chips and splits in the veneer that needed repair, water stains to be removed, and a new color and finish to put on.

Sanding veneer is very problematic, because it may be very thin.  Older veneers were generally thicker, though, and if not sanded very much for previous refinishing jobs can usually be sanded safely.  There is still a dark area in the upper right quarter of the table (seen in the upper left in the before picture) due to water damage that couldn't be removed.  Yet the table was very much more appealing after all the work was done.

Maple Table Refinish

The maple table below is a little different.  The client wanted it darker, so we used a walnut dye stain applied directly to the wood.  We adjusted the color by diluting the dye with alcohol.

The walnut color was an excellent choice for this table, because it retained some of the warm orange that is usually associated with maple while shading the overall tone more towards the cool end of the spectrum.  See the section on Color for more information.

Upright Cedar Chest

Another interesting project we did was a cedar chest that stood upright instead of laying down like you would expect.  It had been purchased in the '60's by the client at a department store, along with a matching dresser and mirror combination.  As you can see from the before picture, it was painted white, and the paint was lead-based, so it needed some special precautions for stripping.

After we stripped it we found that it was veneered with a beautiful walnut, just like the matching dresser we had refinished before this.  Why they decided to paint it is a mystery now.  Probably because at the time the space race was heating up and everyone wanted 'modern' or 'space-age' looking furniture.  (For the really old people, like me, do you remember the Carousel of Progress at Disneyland?)  Fortunately the stickers did not leave dark marks underneath, as they sometimes do (because of blocking any sun-fading).

The cabinet was solid cedar inside, with veneer only on the outside.  Cost was about $325.00 including sanding the inside.


Oversize Pine Rockers

These rockers were originally used in the Bright Angel Lodge at the Grand Canyon.  Repairs had been attempted several times, and they had been reupholstered at least a couple of times too.  There were breaks at a couple of spots (on the curves) and they were very loose.

After quite a bit of work we reglued all the joints and refinished both frames.  Each of the French curved arms had to be lined up precisely, and each side of both chairs also had to be lined up identically so that they would match.  We had to clamp them to a table and use a large quantity of clamps to get everything just right.  Originally some of the joints were shimmed or filled, so we had to carefully measure and compare to get all the dimensions right when we reassembled.  Fortunately our glue can also be used as a filler and still maintain a high structural strength, so we just colored it to match the anticipated finish and sanded it smooth before refinishing.

Below is a picture of one of the frames next to a regular size rocker for comparison.  These are really big rockers!  Big enough for two people to curl up in comfortably.

We even got some pictures after they were reupholstered in leather.

The upholsterer told us that each chair took one cowhide apiece.  Total cost of the project was about $5,000.00 or $2,500.00 each.  Our part of it was about $2,000.00 or about $1,000.00 each.  But the chairs are very unique and comfortable, plus they carry a very large sentimental value for the owner.  We understand they are going to find a good home in a mountain cabin somewhere, where they will fit in beautifully.  It was a privilege to work on furniture with such character and beauty as these two rockers.

Walnut Secretary

The first picture shows the antiquing paint that was applied several decades ago (lead based, so it was a long while back).  The painter thoughtfully painted all the solid brass hardware also.  The paint was very difficult to remove because it was really good paint, plus there were so many nooks and crannies that it nearly drove us crackers trying to get it stripped.


We didn't know for sure what wood was used to build the secretary until after we started stripping.  It had a marble top so we didn't do anything to the compartment where the top drawer is.  We removed the back to help with the process, plus all the drawers and doors.  What a pleasant surprise that it was a combination of solid walnut and walnut veneer.  The finish is a clear gloss lacquer and we removed all the paint and corrosion from the brass hardware.  The writing surface is a black leather, which we didn't touch.  Total cost for this project was a little over $1,500.00.  The client had a budget that we went over a bit, so we had to stop without doing some of the detail we normally like to do if we can.  Looks just a tad different now, doesn't it?


Copyright 2006 The Chair Doctor of Grand Junction
Last modified: 03/25/11