A couple of years ago my mom’s cousin Kay Lee asked me about redoing an antique rocking chair she has. Last Spring she brought it up again. I told her I would be happy to do it. Then I see her again at our family reunion in June and we talk about her chair one more time. Finally late in the Summer she brought me the chair.
The chair belonged to Kay Lee’s grandmother, Mae Elizabeth. This is a picture of her grandma in 1951. She was 82 in this picture. Mae Elizabeth passed away in 1962 at the age of 92. Kay explained to me that her grandmother lived with her family for as long as she could remember. Everyone called her “mom”. Even Kay Lee referred to her as mom, while calling her own mom “mother”.
This is how the chair looked when I got it. I did a little more sanding on it, then I worked on repairing some of the webbing. Kay Lee brought the original seat padding, but I didn’t get any pictures of it.
When Kay Lee and her husband Bill dropped the chair off to me she had said she wanted a simple tung oil finish. I didn’t have any, so after several conversations we decided on a dark walnut finish.
I applied one coat of stain with a soft cloth, then put on one coat of wipe-on poly. Love the results!
Here, you can see the original fabric from the chair. I laid it out as a pattern for the new pieces.
I got the seat done relatively easy.
I added two new pieces of webbing on the back.
Okay, I have NO in progress pictures. This was not an easy makeover. I told Kay Lee that I felt like Mae Elizabeth did NOT want me to recover this chair. I struggled quite a bit.
I used the nailheads that come in strips with a nail every 5th spot.
I delivered the chair to Kay Lee and I think she is really pleased with how it turned out. She said the finish is exactly how she remembers it being originally. Whew! I was sure glad to hear that.
I have a rocking chair in the basement that has hideous material on it. I blogged about it here when I first started the blog and redoing furniture. I plan to tackle it this winter, probably with some drop cloth material. It will look a LOT better the next time around!
Have you upholstered something lately? Any tips for a novice?
see more chair projects here: