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Restoring a Chair Is Easier Than You Think. Ask the Brownstone Boys.

Restoring a Chair Is Easier Than You Think. Ask the Brownstone Boys.


Furnishing your own home with antiques doesn’t must be costly — not in the event you’re keen to do some restoration work. Take it from Jordan Slocum and Barry Bordelon, higher generally known as the Brownstone Boys.

“If you get a bit somebody has already spent quite a lot of effort and time restoring, it’s going to be costly,” stated Mr. Bordelon, 43. “But there are a lot of items on the market that want quite a lot of love, and to be restored, that you may get for lots much less. We do this so much.”

The Brooklyn-based designers — whose new e-book, “For the Love of Renovating,” is out subsequent month — are at all times on the hunt: in classic retailers alongside Atlantic Avenue, in architectural salvage yards, even amongst piles of trash on the sidewalk.

“We’re lucky to stay in New York, the place stooping is a factor,” Mr. Slocum, 41, stated.

Recently, they rescued a wooden facet chair with a ruined seat and gloppy paint from the curb. To restore it, they employed most of the similar methods they use on woodwork in historic brownstones.

Start by eradicating any upholstery you don’t plan to maintain, so you’ll be able to work on the wood body. Then use a warmth gun on the previous paint and peel away as a lot as you’ll be able to with a metallic paint scraper.

“You warmth the paint, and then you definately scrape,” Mr. Bordelon stated. (Just watch out to not burn the chair.)

“That’s going to get many of the paint off,” he continued. “It’s going to come back off in globs, but additionally depart some remnants.”

To take care of any tenacious paint, use a liquid paint stripper, like CitriStrip. Spread it on generously with a paintbrush — and be affected person.

“We’ll let it sit for at the very least 5 to 10 minutes,” Mr. Slocum stated. “And then assess the way it’s scraping off.”

Work cussed areas with metal wool and wipe them with a rag.

Now that many of the paint is gone, spray the chair with denatured alcohol and scrub with extra metal wool to wash off any residue. Then sand your complete chair to take away any remaining flecks of paint and refresh the floor of the wooden.

“We do need to get all the way down to the uncooked wooden,” Mr. Slocum stated.

Start with coarse sandpaper — perhaps 80 grit — and work as much as progressively finer grades, ending with 400 grit. The Brownstone Boys generally use an influence sander, however to get into curves and crevices, Mr. Slocum stated, it’s usually simpler to work by hand with extraordinary sandpaper.

“Sometimes we tape it to a wooden block if we have to get a bit extra power into the furnishings,” he stated.

With the naked wooden uncovered, add stain in a shade of your alternative. The Brownstone Boys wiped Varathane Early American stain onto their chair with cheesecloth.

For even coloration, Mr. Slocum stated, “you need to work with the grain.”

After the stain dried, they sanded the chair once more to easy out any raised grain.

An upholstered seat is at all times a pleasant choice, however Mr. Slocum and Mr. Bordelon have been feeling formidable. So after they observed a groove across the seat of the chair, they determined to make use of pressed-cane webbing they purchased on Amazon as a substitute of cloth.

To add cane to a seat, lower the fabric a bit bigger than wanted and soak it in water for about 20 minutes.

“That will assist us not solely apply it, however do away with stiffness we don’t need,” Mr. Slocum stated.

Use wooden wedges or a screen-rolling device to drive the perimeters of the cane into the groove and trim off the surplus. To maintain the cane webbing in place, add wooden glue and a reed spline — a steady strip of fabric that fills the hole.

To full your restoration, add a transparent coat. The Brownstone Boys utilized Varathane matte polyurethane. It’s greatest to make use of a recent paintbrush or rag, Mr. Slocum stated, to keep away from brushstrokes.

For their chair, one coat was sufficient. But if the end seems uneven otherwise you need higher safety, you’ll be able to apply further coats.

Then all you must do is work out the place to place your new piece of furnishings.

“We’re going to place it in our workplace,” Mr. Slocum stated.

But the chair, he added, could finally find yourself in a house they assist another person renovate: “Then they’ll take pleasure in it for the subsequent hundred years.”

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