I found this chair on the side of the road, slightly worse for wear, as you can see. Before I began restoring it I took photos from all angles so I could remember how it looked. I then stripped all the material off and took all the extra nails and tacks out. I sanded and shellacked the timber.
This is such a super simple way of restoring timber. Anyone who is willing to walk around with slightly yellow fingers for a day or two (from the shellac) can do this. Just buy the flakes and some metho and mix them up so that the shellac dissolves (use a jar with a lid as the metho evaporates quickly), or alternatively, buy shellac made up from your local hardware store. Then rub it on! The theory is that the shellac fills up holes in the timber and it all gets smooth and shiny and lovely. The more layers you do the shinier the timber gets (this is french polishing).
And you can add a drop of oil to your rag (I just use cooking oil) as you rub to make it shinier …
Anyway, then I got out my trusty staple gun and put new webbing onto the seat (you buy it in a roll at the hardware store – it looks like a long and wide hessian ribbon), placed padding on top of the webbing (I had some saved from other projects) and upholstered over the top.
I cut up an old ‘Australiana’ linen tablecloth I had purchased in my travels and attached it with upholstery pins (making sure all the raw edges were tucked under and the fabric was pulled quite tight).
When reupholstering, the most useful advice I have is to make a pattern from the old upholstery – so try hard to get the old material off in one piece if you can. It saves heaps of time and mucking around when you get to the re-covering stage! I love this chair, but it now resides in someone else’s house (it was auctioned off at the Fairfield Primary School art show, Arr4All).