Upcycle Project- Elegant Dining Room Set

When our daughter bought her first home, an early 1900’s Four Square, she set out to furnish the dining room on a tight budget.  An upcycle project was the perfect answer. The Lima ReStore provided just what she was looking for – with a bit of restoration help from her dad and me!  We found period pieces that complemented the architecture of the home over a period of nearly a year.  We first purchased the table, found five matching chairs a few months later, added a sixth contrasting chair at a later date, and finally found the perfect buffet months later.  Visiting the ReStore on a regular basis was worth the effort!

chair in driveway  stripped buffet

Suggestions for Furniture Restoration:

Solid Start!  Be sure your furniture pieces are solid.  Ed reconstructed several of the chairs and the table base using wood glue.  Clamps are critical to hold the pieces together while the glue dries.  If you don’t have clamps, enlist the help of a friend or neighbor who does!  (Finding solid pieces that need no repair work is a challenge.  When you find them, rush to purchase!)

Visualize the End Product!  Consider what finish you want for your final look.  We wanted to preserve the natural wood grain, but the damage was extensive to the point of requiring a complete stripping of all of the finish.  Our favorite furniture stripper for tough jobs is StripFast Power Stripper.

half done table

Carefully follow the directions for using this or other strippers. (Don’t forget to check the ReStore for other stripping supplies, too.  You will need sandpaper, steel wool, a plastic scraper, and gloves to protect your hands.)  Our contrast chair was painted white, a tough color to strip from wood.  We gave it a light sanding, and added a fresh contrasting paint color.

finished chair

Stain and Poly Tips! Test wood stain colors on the underside of tables or chairs first.  Every wood gives a different color to the stain.  Buy stain in small quantities if you are unsure of your color choice.  We chose to protect the finish of the wood with a durable satin finish polyurethane.  We are still experimenting with top coat finishes on tables.  I just read about this technique that we will try:  Use an oil-based wipe-on polyurethane for the table top surface.  For an applicator, roll up a cotton cloth and hold it together with a metal binder clip.  Pour the ply into a paper bowl, dip the cloth into the finish and spread it using long continuous strokes.  Between coats of poly (three recommended) lightly scuff the surface with 220 grit sandpaper and clean up the dust with a cloth moistened with denatured alcohol.

finished buffet

Finishing Touches! Our daughter chose a fun fabric to cover the chair seats.  I removed the old fabric, wrapped the seat tops with the new fabric, and used a staple gun to hold the fabric in place.  After putting the seat tops back on the chairs, I sprayed them with a water repellant finish to prevent stains.  We also stripped the metal feet covers on the table and the buffet drawer pulls with paint stripper.  A coat of glossy poly on the feet gave them an elegant shine!

finished set

Now, her dining room is ready for entertaining family and friends!  Thank you, ReStore!

By Michelle Boyer