Mid Century Modern Lounge Chair DIY

by JRR
2 Days
I love the look of mid century modern lounge chairs. They are one of the iconic furniture pieces of that design style and are quite fun to restore...if you can find them. I found this recent chair on Craigslist and decided to make it a combination of mid century and classic design so that it would fit into my own decor.
Stained with Varathane "esspresso" stain and hand rubbed with wipe on polyurethane this chair looks like a million bucks but cost me about $40.00.....and a whole lot of hard work.
Here is the craigslist post picture where you can see the state I got the chair in. The wood was water stained, scorched and bone dry from decades of sun, and it had a board over the springs.

The first thing I try to do with any furniture piece I restore is take it apart completely.
That chair easily popped apart because it was so dried out. "Look Honey, I spent $20 on Craigslist for this today!"
I saftey-up with facemask, chemical resist gloves and the rest of my furniture stripping accoutre ma and began to experiment with how I could remove the old finish. I have had success with some Mid Century Modern furniture by only using Acetone while other times I needed to employ heavier stripping agents. One needs to experiment and be ready to modify what one uses from job to job. The acetone did not do enough and the chemical stripper was not much better. I finally went back to elbow grease and heavy sanding. I first used 80 grit paper- a LOT of it, then 120 grit to smooth the wood's surface. This was hard and took a long time. I faced it like a workout and did it in several sessions over about 6 hours. It was not easy.
The result, besides several blisters and almost 2 packs of sandpaper used was gorgeous bare wood.
I put on the Varathane "esspresso" stain, then gently sanded yet again, by hand, with 180 grit paper. I wiped all the pieces down and added two more coats of stain and 4 coats of wipe on polyurethane.
The MOST expensive thing in a mcm lounge chair restoration are the cushions. The above cushions for the last chair I did cost about $160!
The cushions for this chair were found in the summer clearance section of my local hardware store. Marked $10- down from $20....yet they were actually ONLY $7 a piece. That makes the cushions the least expensive part of THIS restoration and they even fit MY personal style!
I glued the chair together. I used the original springs which were hidden under the board but I also could have used bungee cords to replace them.
The original springs still work!
The wipe-on poly gives it a perfect finish every time.
Time to relax.....
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