Sunday, August 11, 2013

Antique Wooden Folding Chair Re-Do!

Antique Wooden Folding Chair Re-Do!

A couple weekends ago I was at a great local antique shop called The Blue Building, and I always find some great pieces there.  This time I snagged a couple of awesome finds!! The first things I found were these amazing old metal pieces.  

This first one is an antique cobbler's shoe stand. It's cast iron so it's pretty heavy.  The shaft has this Forest City print on it - I've looked it up and there are a couple of Forest City Iron Works or Forest City Iron and Steel Co. out there that may have made this. It looks like it may be from up north around the turn of the century.  

 The next piece I found was this antique torch.  It's a brass torch made by the Lenk Manufacturing Co. probably in the 50s.  This one has a very small amount of the label on the front of the bottle and the metal is very rusty. Nevertheless, it's such a unique and interesting find.    

First of all, I love metal pieces. And second of all, I love utilitarian pieces - things that have/had use.  I especially love useful pieces that are interesting or different in their construction - things that you haven't really seen before.  A lot of the things that I find are like that, and this chair is one of them.  Here's my before and after preview!!

One of my favorite things to buy (apparently) is chairs. I seem to really love chairs, and I have a lot of them... So naturally when I ran across this chair of course I feel in love. This is a really cool, antique, wooden chair with a pretty shoddy paint job, but the chair's construction and materials are solid.  It almost looks like an auditorium chair mixed with a folding chair. The coolest part is the strange way it folds up!

Instead of folding up the "normal way", in which the seat folds up to the back, this chair's back comes down and around to meet up with the bottom.  I loved it and thought it was so unique!! Here are more photos.

Here's the seal on the chair from the American Seating Company - Grand Rapids, Michigan. I've looked up the chair and gotten a little more information. The American Seating Company has been around over 125 years and specialized in school seating. One of the sites said this was a school chair from 1934.

So it was time to figure out what to do with the chair. I normally wouldn't mess with it. I really don't like re-doing antiques, but enjoy restoring them more. I never want to mess with the integrity of a piece or take away from it being an antique.  Unfortunately, this one already had a bad spray paint job, so my choices were to strip that and refinish the wood, or figure out another option. For some reason I was feeling a chevron pattern with this chair. I don't know why, and maybe I saw it somewhere recently, but I really wanted to do a gray and white chevron pattern. So I set out to do it!

Now, let me tell you, chevron is NOT easy...... I was in no way under the impression this was going to be easy, but JEEZ, I thought it would be slightly easier..... I had looked up different ways of doing it and had tried a couple of different way before re-googling how the heck to do it! I will admit that as much as I am a visual person, I am not a very spatial person, so that may have been some of my issue - I also tend to over think my projects and was getting cross-eyed looking at this for too long!! Finally I found this great idea of how to chevron on Eclectically Vintage, which majorly sped up my process! So here are photos of my taping out my chevron design (on the seat and back only - I am doing the frame in the gray).  

Any questions I had about whether or not the chevron would look good went out the window once I got it all taped out.  I even loved this tan color of the tape in this pattern!! 

So I'm all taped out and ready to paint. I bought a little sampler size of this great slate gray color. I painted around my pattern and all the frame of the chair with this gray.  

Here's the finished product!!! I finished at night so this picture is a little dark.  It turned out so well and I couldn't be any more pleased!!!!!!!!!

Here's a shot of the back. I painted it all gray like I did the frame.  I took this picture at night when I finished so it's not the best quality - it almost looks green instead of gray!! 
This does show the hinges and metal pieces used on this chair. They were covered in layers of paint and I really wanted to uncover them. I removed almost all of the old paint using acetone and cotton balls/swabs. I love the exposed metal now!!!

Shot from the next morning with better light - still just as beautiful as I thought!!!!!! 

This was my effort to maintain the historical part of this chair. This is the bottom of the seat that had the label shown above.  I felt okay about painting over this chair, but there was no way I was going to paint over the label. So i taped off around it and painted all around it. This area will only show when it's folded up, but at least the label and history were maintained!