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Lovely Chair, Phase 1: Disassembly

Over the weekend, Scott and I tackled Phase 1: Disassembly of Operation Lovely Chair. (Not to be confused with pre-phases choosing fabric, take 1 and take 2.) We mentioned our fear of messing with old wood screws, caps and creaky joints, but to our surprise, it was easy. As in, we rolled up our sleeves, prepped our work space and set aside a few hours – and it only took 15 minutes.

Once we got started, we noticed 2 visible wood caps at the base of each arm. One of them had a few scuffs, which made us think that this chair had been disassembled at some point before us. Scott took a small flathead screwdriver and a mallet, wedging the screwdriver under the cap and lightly tapped the handle with the mallet. After a few tries, the cap popped right off!

Underneath, a long (warped) screw held the frame in place against the cushion. We used our drill with an extension to get it out, but a flathead screwdriver would’ve worked, too.

After doing this on both sides, we tried to wriggle the cushion free – but no luck. It was held in place underneath the seat cushion, but with no visible wood caps, we flipped the chair over…

… and pulled back the lining underneath to reveal one more screw. Well, there were actually two screws, one on each side, but one had come loose and wasn’t holding anything together anymore.

After taking out the last remaining screw, the entire cushion slipped out, and we had ourselves a disassembled chair. Phew!

We’d mentioned possibly sanding down the frame and staining the wood a darker walnut (or Minwax Jacobean, our favorite deep wood color), assuming the frame had been stained a honey hue. But with a closer look, we quickly realized that the original wood wasn’t stained at all! Rather, a clear lacquer (that had yellowed over time) covered the arms, but the actual wood color could be beautiful once we buff out the wear, tear and old watermarks:

Before sanding the entire frame (and to potentially save ourselves a headache), we’ll first try a light sand on the lacquered parts followed with an oil buff. Morgan at The Brick House is full of tips – so we’ll give this a go.

Phase 2 for Operation LC will be the frame refresh, and I’ll be dropping off the cushion and velvet to the upholstery experts this afternoon. We’ll finish her off with Phase 3: Assembly and reveal!

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - October 16, 2012 - 8:48 AM

    Hahaha. I love that you were settled in for the long haul and it only took you fifteen minutes. That is the best. Best. Best! Confession. I’ve never dropped something off at an upholsterer’s and i want to. Officially a goal of mine. Find something so special (and cheap) that I am too scared to mess it up myself.

    Can’t wait to see this dandelion in action.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 16, 2012 - 9:27 AM

    Julia, until my grandma’s chair, we had never been to a upholstery shop either. But after seeing the results, we’re sold! Especially on something more difficult than, say, a seat cushion or bench.

    Also, nothing beats a 15 minute project (when you had assumed hours of headache were ahead!).ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - October 16, 2012 - 9:31 AM

    I am watching this refurb closely, as I’ve inherited a chair that needs work, this one has embroidered cushions that have seen better days, but I really want to salvage them if I can. At the moment I just keep looking at it, I’m so scared!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 16, 2012 - 9:44 AM

    Kelly, we hope our refurb will help! We know the feeling though. It took us years to get moving on this girl.ReplyCancel

  • Christina - October 16, 2012 - 2:21 PM

    I’m SO glad you’re not staining that chair! I’m all for refinishing but the value of the chair is in the wood and it really only needs some danish oil/teak oil.ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - October 17, 2012 - 4:11 PM

    Get outta my head! Just teasing, but I think it’s hilarious that last weekend you built something with flanges (as did I) and this weekend you disassembled a vintage chair to refurbish it (as did I). So glad you were able to easily disassemble!

    Speaking of reupholstery, we finally found one for our white sofa (covering it in white pleather so it’s more pet-friendly) and clearly I have a thing or two to learn. I thought we could get the sofa back in 2 weeks . . . turns out they’re so popular it’s going to take a total of 10 weeks (8 for the waiting list). Here’s hoping yours isn’t as slow!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 17, 2012 - 4:48 PM

      Oh, no! Ours will take 2 weeks. Thank goodness! I don’t think we could stand to wait that long, eek!ReplyCancel

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