Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WIP Wednesday - Peyton's Rocking Chair

,Earlier this month I posted about refinishing my old childhood rocking chair for my granddaughter Peyton's first birthday. Link to post is here if you want to read about it:

Here is a picture of what the poor old well loved 58 year old chair looked like before I started to refinish it.
I decided I wanted to do all the restoration by hand, no power tools. This is a labor of love for Peyton, and I want it to be just right.
I feel like I have more control on how it all goes doing it by hand. Granted, it's taking me longer than it would if I used power tools, but I just feel better about doing this way.

Here are some pictures from different angles of how it is looking at this point of restoration.

I'm finding it is taking me much longer than I had originally anticipated.

It looks pretty straightforward and simple, right?


 Because it is child sized, it is presenting itself to be more of a challenge.

Some of the challenges:

It looks to be pretty smooth, etc. with simple scraping. Not so. There are lots of little nooks, crannies and crevasses that are giving me fits to try and remove the old finish from.
So far I have used a plastic scraper, an old toothbrush, a small flathead screwdriver, toothpicks, one of those skinny turkey skewers that you use to lace together the turkey after you stuff it, q-tips, and a stiff brush. Gotta get creative you know!

Then there are the round pieces. They don't scrape very easily with a flat scraper. So, I scrape as much as I can with the scraper, then take the old toothbrush to the round parts. Of course, that pushes the gunk into the crevasses where other pieces fit into the round pieces. Out comes all my other creative "pick it out" tools, lol.
After all that, I wipe the section I'm working on down with mineral spirits so I can see better what is left behind to still remove. 

I'm finding it's better to do one section at a time. Don't even try to do the whole thing at once. And maybe because it's been awhile for me to strip anything, I need to do a second coat of stripper to get off the rest of what I missed. (Couldn't be my old eyes could it?!?!)

This is the stripper I am using. I really like it a lot. It has a lot of super good things going on for it. First off, it smells like citrus, very low odor, and you aren't gasping for breath while you are using it :)
Since it's a gel, it's super easy to put it on whatever you are stripping and it doesn't run off. I've been using an old paint brush and that works really well.
It doesn't take much to do the job. Even after applying it twice to everything, I have only used about a third of the jug. It's 32 ounces ( or a half of a gallon, U.S. measurement).
You can clean it off in as little as 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. I have found that 30-45 minutes is usually long enough. 
If you don't think you are going to be able to get back to clean it off in a short period of time, slather the stuff on thick! Because if you only put on a thin layer and don't get back to it shortly, this stuff dries like cement and is a whole lot of fun to try and scrape it off, lol. ( I found out the hard way). If it does dry on you, I found the easiest way to get it off is to just recoat it with the stripper, wait 20-30 minutes, then you can proceed as you should have done :) This is the only downside I have experienced with this stripper.
Price and availability in the U.S. is great. I got mine at my local WalMart and paid something like $10.97 for it.
Don't forget to buy a bottle of mineral spirits to wipe any residue off as you go along. I bought the odorless stuff, what a difference. Got that at Walmart too. The odorless is a bit more expensive than the regular stuff, but you can BREATH while you are working and it's worth every penny.
Looks like I got pretty windy on this post, so I'll quit for now and keep you updated.


  1. You are much more patient than I! I'd have done the surface spots I could reach and been done with it long ago, LOL.

    I'm sure it's going to be awesome when you're done, though, and all that work will have paid off.

    Thanks for joining in on WIP Wednesday. I really enjoy seeing all the different projects people are working on.

  2. Wow! I think it is looking good. I don't think I would have the patience to do that project. I am sure it will be beautiful when it is finished.

  3. he's going to love it!

    I'm heading in a few to get my WIP post done for the week too.

  4. Wow, what a job you've done so far, it looks perfect! What a treasure and heirloom this is. Your granddaughter will cherish this for years to come.

  5. The Chair looks great, I tried to refinish a black piano bench, it is still not done. I gave it to my son. (smiles) Enjoyed reading your blog.