Flea Market #3

A pair of old Thonet desk chairs out of a school at Camp Pendleton, CA Since they have some value, I would like to refurbish and take them back to their original finish. I don't want to ruin them. How should I take off the old finish? I was going to paint them before I researched and found them to be worth about $200-$225 each. A pleasant surprise since I paid $10 for the pair.
flea market 3, painted furniture, Old Thonet school chair from Camp Pendleton CA
Old Thonet school chair from Camp Pendleton, CA
flea market 3, painted furniture, Lable for Thonet Chair
Lable for Thonet Chair
  4 answers
  • 117135 117135 on Jun 10, 2013
    I would restore then with a stain instead of painting! Painting may take away from their value!

  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Jun 10, 2013
    I would sand them and put a stain similar to their current color then a poly coat or get a poly stain combination product and put a few coats of that. I like working with the poly stain combo.

  • Frankie Laney Frankie Laney on Jun 10, 2013
    DeDe after I researched the chairs I did not want to paint them. Who knows how many Marines have sat in that chair so I will honor them by keeping the chairs true to their roots. I just want to know how to do that process correctly. Thanks.

  • Patricia Pierson Patricia Pierson on Jun 10, 2013
    As someone who has been restoring antiques for over 30 yrs. I cringe at some of the pieces that are painted or stripped. Mind you, there are a lot that need to be repurposed and I was taught by my teacher that is was good if need be, but to try and see what can be done AND if it is worth it. How to do it:DO NOT REMOVE THE FINISH. The chairs will be worth the wood only. 1st use sanding blocks and paper about 100 grit till you have the finish/color about the same. Remember that the patina is part of the charm. A stain/sealer like Mimwax in a color close to the old color will work nicely. Buy before that instead of using 300 grit paper use brown paper bags as the 300. It saves a lot of money. Use your sense of touch to let you know when the wood is smooth. After all sanding use tacky cloth to remove all dust. I have used both sponge brushes and rags and prefer rags for around corners. Put on heavy then wipe off after a few monents. If not dark enough then reapply. Use the bags between staining. When your happy with the color and the chair has dried a few days ish. Use the bags again to smooth out the finish. I don't use sanders on surfaces this small because of to many chances of leaving gouges and ring marks. I probably left out stages, if so just ask. I just do things and don't think about all the layers. Wishing you the best! Would love to see pictures when finished... If it would help, find a small piece that cost cheep to free to do first