making a vintage wooden chair

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I have this really cool old barn wood desk that was given to me by an old co-worker that I absolutely love. I had the hardest time finding a chair that fit well with the warm color and style of the table so I knew that I just had to make one! Here is what you need and the process I went through:

A wooden chair of your choice
Wood Stain (I used 2 different colors, a dark rich and a lighter)
Long nails & screws (will explain more below)
A cloth for rubbing the stain


1. Get your chair! 
My first step was to buy a chair. I searched for a long time and found a natual wood chair from Boston Wood - a local Boston woodworking store that hand crafts everything so it was definitely a plus.

2. Pick your colors! 
Next I had to find some stain that I thought would match. I decided to go with two colors so that I had lots of depth like the table. MiniWax Wood Finish - Red Oak 215 & Dark Walnut 2716 

 3. Beat it up! 
This is the fun part. To make the chair look like it has been around the block you need to scuff it up a little bit. I beat it with a hammer, put long nails on the wood and hit them with a hammer and scraped it a little bit with the nail - basically anything you can think of that would make it look worn and not so new. I found this idea from another blog that I didn't save so I don't quite know where to give credit for this idea! (photo is after I stained it to show dents).

 4. Stain, Stain, Stain!
After your chair is nice and beat up it's time to start the staining. I used the light color first and basically just started randomly applying it everywhere and rubbing it in with the cloth. I kept layering until I couldn't really see the original chair color and then applied the darker stain in random areas - do the dark in small amounts because once you overdo it you can't go lighter. I made sure some areas had more stain than others so it looked older. The areas with scratches and dents really started to pop and look amazing. It is kind of a personal preference to when you should stop. I probably did about 2-3 rounds of each stain to really make it look layered. Like I said above, don't overdo it early on, you can always keep layering! Now let it dry - I left mine in the sun just to see what would happen. (photo is about 2 rounds of staining).

4. Time to sit! 
Now it's time to enjoy your labor. Pull up the chair and take a seat! You can put some sort of polyurethane protectant on it but I wanted my chair to look matte only because the table was not shiny at all. I think it matches pretty well!