25 January 2015

SCA Crossover: Refinishing A Chair

 I recently refinished a piece of wooden SCA furniture for a friend in the group, for his campsite.  It had definitely seen better days:

(all of these pics are halfway through sanding, to show just how much *crud* is in/on this wood)
Don't get me wrong, it's a good chair.  It's extremely well-made, sturdy, and not a joint is out of place, though it looks horrible.  What you're looking at is several years' worth of

  • rain/water damage
  • sun exposure/oxidation
  • corroded varnish
  • sweaty fighter butts (ewww)
Not only was the finish shot, but the wood was so swollen with weather and age in places that the chair wouldn't fully open OR close...rendering a really nice chair completely useless. 

I'll be honest, I was dreading the prospect of sanding allllll those pieces individually.  I guess the chair, or the Universe, or the Powers-That-Be heard me - because I could NOT get this thing apart to save my life.  I tried every tool at my disposal, got friends to help me, even tried to grind the hardware out, but it appears to have been made of naquadah-enhanced unobtanium, and sealed with black magic.  @_@  In the end I had to sand and stain this thing WHILE FULLY ASSEMBLED.  I'm here to tell you that was a bitch

BUT I got it done: 

(I could no longer feel my hands after this...and it still needed more sanding)

Here's the first coat of stain, applied very, very carefully, with a small brush and a lot of paper towels.  The chair is solid oak, and pretty well weathered and seasoned; still, I didn't want to chance the stain swelling the wood and undoing all the work I put into buffing down the seat pieces so that this thing would move properly again.  Rubbing stain into the wood with paper towels keeps too much stain from soaking in and swelling the wood, and it also gives you a LOT more control over the depth and amount of color.  

(oooh, aahhh)

After two more coats of stain, and several coats of spray poly-acrylic (for a low-tack, matte-sheen clearcoat, rather than a polyurethane which could stick in hot weather), it was finally done:

(The dark area of the back piece was severely stained, deep enough that I couldn't surface clean it out, or even sand it off the wood.  It's the same on the reverse of the piece; in fact, it's worse on the other side.  I have no idea what caused it, but, this was the best I could do with it). 

Sir John's and his lady Bridget's devices painted on the center of the back rest, in acrylic paint, and heavily clear-coated to prevent scratching.


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