by DIY specialist Natasha Dickins at Little Red Industries

‘I love a vintage find,’ says Natasha Dickins, DIY specialist at Little Red Industries. ‘But usually old furniture needs some changes to make it collectible again, and I have a three-step plan that works for any makeover.’

1. Remove the one thing that makes it most dated. In this case it’s the old red vinyl.

2. Add an element to make it more functional and modern, which will be new varnish to protect the plywood.

3. Improve the experience by sanding the frame and renewing the finish for a designer result.’

Says Natasha, ‘I wanted to contrast the old orangey varnish with a rich, dark stain that highlights the woodgrain.’

‘Using Monocel Stain & Varnish in Walnut for the frame gives a smooth, tough finish to prevent further wear and tear.’

‘For the seat and backrest I used Monocel Clear Wood Varnish in Satin for a lovely matt surface that preserves the natural look while protecting the plywood.’

DIY MATERIALS

• Bondall Bondcrete adhesive

• 8mm dowel to fill holes

• Monocel Stain & Varnish in Walnut

• Monocel Clear Wood Varnish in Satin

• timber filler

• spare screws, from 15mm long

DIY TOOLS

• drill or screwdriver

• hand-sanding block or random orbital sander, with 120 and 240-grit abrasive paper

• 2 paintbrushes

• paint stirrer

• clean cloths

WORKING WITH VARNISH

A combination stain and varnish provides a tint to highlight the woodgrain while providing a protective coating.

Natasha says, ‘Satin finish is a modern contrast to the previously shinier, lighter tan colour popular when this chair was originally made in the late 1960s.’

DIY TIP Don’t scrimp on your brushes! It’s the key to a lovely finish and should be soft, clean and no wider than 50mm for working on small surfaces like a chair.

STEP 1 Dismantle the chair

  • Remove the seat and backrest using a drill or screwdriver to undo the screws, keeping them to reuse later.

TIP Check the frame is sturdy, applying adhesive to any wonky joints and clamping to dry.

STEP 2 Smooth out scratches and dents

  • Use a random orbital sander or a hand-sanding block with 120-grit abrasive paper to sand all surfaces, smoothing along the edges and corners, down the legs and around the feet. Wipe the dust away with a clean cloth.

STEP 3 Renew the frame

  • Use a clean paintbrush to apply Monocel Varnish & Stain over the entire frame, working fast and watching for drips. Apply two coats, leaving to dry thoroughly between each.

TIP Load up your brush then seal it in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out between coats.

STEP 4 Remove the upholstery

  • Take off the vinyl and foam using staple remover and multitool then sand both sides of the plywood with 120 then 240-grit abrasive paper, rounding over the edges so the seat is comfortable to sit on.

STEP 5 Clean up the plywood

  • Cover small holes in the plywood with timber filler and use dowel to fill bigger holes, gluing it with fast-drying Bondcrete, then cut the protruding ends and sand smooth.

STEP 6 Seal the seat and backrest

  • Use a clean brush to apply Monocel Clear Wood Varnish in Satin, working it into the edges and leaving to dry thoroughly.

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