Saturday, 1 November 2014

Getting paint off an old Ercol chair

Back in the nineties, when we were very, very young (practically babies, in fact), we moved in to our first house with a mattress on the floor and a single wooden chair. My mother-in-law rescued us by giving us one of her chairs and a small table from home, so we could sit down and eat!
I don't remember what happened to the table, but the chair became a fixture in our lives, and gradually developed into the 'painting' chair. Which sounds more romantic than it is! When there was painting to be done, Tall Man would slip into an old pair of blue overalls and a pair of socks, and grab that trusty chair, so he could reach the bits even he couldn't. Well, Tall Man is a great painter, he does walls and ceilings beautifully, but he also manages to paint anything else that gets in the way. There's the (very) large paint mark on the back of his overall, where he leant against a wall to admire his handy work when he had finished, then there are the countless socks that made their way into the recycling at the end of a painting session, and then there was the chair... Covered in paint sploges, and a number of hand prints and finger marks, it was indeed a sorry sight.
Can you spot the hand prints?
I'll never forget the look on my MIL's face when she saw her chair again. Anyway, as the years rolled by (like a Ferrari on speed), scandinavian chic became all the rage, and now people want retro furniture in elm, beech and teak and I began to hanker after simple Ercol furniture. Which is when I realised that that old chair was exactly what I was looking for.

Now, many people do a great job taking tatty furniture and giving it a new lease of life by painting it, but I like to see the grain in the wood, and I like the natural simplicity of a plain chair. So, I had a problem, how do I get all that messy paint off my chair? I found a You Tube video which was very good, recommending grade 4 wire wool and boiled linseed oil, unfortunately, I had neither. Instead of rushing out to buy them, I had a good rummage in my under sink kitchen cupboard and found these:

Beeswax (which contains linseed oil) and scourers

I gently rubbed the wax onto the chair, and left some to soak in to some of the more stubborn paint marks, before rubbing it off with the scourer. Once the paint had been cleared from one part I polished it with a clean duster, and that ol' chair began to look quite proud of itself. I must say, that most of the varnish had long since disappeared from the chair, if it hadn't I'm not sure I would have used a scourer, or rubbed quite so hard!

There was a lot of scrubbing...

Anyway, finally I got to this:

and this:

I love it, even if it is an old kitchen chair...