Kitty and The Antique Chair


Me:  At last! You’ve been put in jail for all your misdeeds!


Kitty:  Oh, Ha ha….  not.

Me:  Why have you incarcerated yourself then?

Kitty:   Since you won’t turn the heat on, I’m desperately trying to keep warm in this sunny spot. And it just happens to be under your new chair. When are you going to refinish this thing anyway?  It’s been sitting here in the middle of the room for a couple weeks now. Perhaps you should get some advice from your readers.


Me:  Good idea Kitty.

Kitty: Of course.

Me: I’ll take it outside where the light is better so the folks can get a good look at it.



So I bought this antique dining room chair at a garage sale a few weeks ago. It called to me and wouldn’t let me leave until I bought it.





And at only $10, it was a steal.



It needs to be refinished, but it’s been at least 15 years since I’ve stripped old varnish.



I’d like to get it down to bare wood, and then put a non-glossy varnish on. I suspect under all that darkness is a light colored wood which is exactly what I would like.

Any suggestions on products/techniques to get this job done?



Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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13 Responses

  1. Glenda says:

    Go to your hardware store and get a gel or paste stripper. It is easier to handle than the liquids. Then get some really fine grained sandpaper to start with before you stain. Then use it again between coats. That’s all I’ve got. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it as well. Maybe someone has a brand new product they’ve had good luck with.

  2. I haven’t done any “stripping” for quite a few years either but I always used Zip Strip, I suppose they still make it. It’s a gel and works good. I have a couple of chairs to re-finish and now would be a good time to do them..when it’s nice and cool and a person can work outside..yours looks very interesting and I will be looking forward to seeing it finished…

  3. Best advice is from the hardware store. But USE RUBBER GLOVES!!! It’s a royal mess. And, hurry and do it so you can do it outside, or in the barn. Way too messy for inside. It’ll be a beautiful thing when done.

  4. Cameo says:

    I tried one time & made such a mess I took it to a pro to have it done.

    Just a note
    I have been very sick the last 4 months & was not on my PC.
    The one thing I really missed was reading your Blog.
    Last Fri. was my first day back on & I’ve really enjoyed catching up on your adventures.
    Your trip sounded so wonderful & the way you write about it made me feel like I was with you.

    I sure missed Kitty

  5. Tina says:

    I have to admit I have never stripped anything. I just had to comment on the cool looking chair (it was a steal) and the great looking cat there in the picture with the sunbeam!!

  6. Bonna says:

    If you want it natural wood again I have no help, too much work, too much smell, too much WORK! Now if you are interested in painting with color just use Annie Sloan paints and wax. Some beautiful results and much easier.

  7. Carol says:

    I can’t offer advice on the lovely chair. Kitty and you are silly and I love it, what a funny face under the chair LOL ! Tee Hee! Kitty does look beautiful in the sunlight! ; – )

  8. Dianna says:

    Oh, I would definitely strip it – it’s probably a beautiful golden oak! YEARS ago, my first husband and I refinished lots of furniture. We used a product called Kutzit (sp?), but there may be something better on the market now. And, yes, it’s an outdoor job, requiring rubber gloves, and be careful not to get any on your skin….Please post an “after” photo!

  9. Pat says:

    Lovely old chair. Check online for the latest tips and the latest products. I’ve refinished bedroom sets etc. and have never been sorry. It is not difficult although it will be painstakingly slow on the beautiful designs on the chair back. Good tip from Sandy and Dianna about using rubber gloves…the stripping compounds are tough on the skin. I would love to see the finished product. Have fun.

  10. Becca says:

    I am a huge fan of “This Old House” on PBS. I bet they have some video tutorials that would help. Norm Abram is one of the guys from the show and he is great with wood!
    I know HGTV has videos and such for just about anything under the sun. Youtube is a great go to source.

  11. Jeanne says:

    That’s a beautiful chair! We will all be looking forward to seeing the final effect you give it! – I know from my days of doing refinishing, that the gel stripper worked well, but do it outside! Good luck!

  12. Louise S says:

    My parents had a couple of chairs like this one when I was growing up. I think you got quite a bargain. Kitty looks exceptionally beautiful in the sunlight.

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