Side-Tracked: DIY Cedar Chair Upgrade

Okay, on my summer camp “to do” list this project looked like this:

  • put cedar chairs together

Despite the simplicity of those four words on my list, this ended up being a much bigger project and consumed much of my time and energy this week.  The result is great, but the reality is this project meant that I did not get to some of the other items on my list.

The Story of the Cedar Chairs

I bought these chairs for my husband about 10 years ago, I am guessing??  We had them at our cottage and although we liked them, they seemed to be like some kind of a wild amusement park for the spiders at the lake.  Every single time you went to sit and relax on the deck at the cottage, you would first half to remove the tangle of webs that were in every nook and cranny of the structure.  Of course, having done this, I was never quite as relaxed knowing that the likelihood of a spider looming about was in the 90th percentile.  Needless to say, they were not used much, but all the same were badly weathered.  When we sold our cottage, the pieces sat in a pile in our basement.  I had often requested that my husband put them back together, but the chairs are quite large and he felt we had no place to put them.  So, this week, I have been on a mission to purge our home of anything and everything that is not being used and those chairs were #1.  There was no way I was asking or telling my husband of my plans, so I waited until he went to work and set-out to put the chairs back together ~ without instructions I might add.

chair pieces

The Assembly

First off, it took a lot of brain power for me to figure out the pile of boards. Luckily I had a bit of a visual memory of how these looked when assembled (from about 6 years ago), but no instructions to follow.  ratchet My first task was to sort the boards.  I knew that somewhere in the pile there were the makings of two chairs, so I set to work to make to identical piles and then proceeded to try to visualize how this all might come together.  I even found the little bucket of screws and washers without too much effort.  I quickly I discovered I needed one of those tools that slips over the nut or screw head and magically tightens them without too much effort ~ a ratchet. The problem is that I soon figured out that I also needed a second one for the other end of the bolt and could only find one.  I found some make shift plumbing angle iron type thing and struggled away to get the sides of one chair assembled.  This took lots of time and muscle to manage the less than perfect tool selection and falling pieces.  I came out with a few scratches and bruises and not too much accomplished.  The worst part was that as I looked at the poor old partially assembled chairs I realized they needed a lot more than re-assembling.

cedar chair

Reality Check

I still didn’t know if we were actually going to have a spot to put the chairs or if they would end up on Kijiji, but the truth was they weren’t in good enough condition for either.  So what began as a little project soon became a major one.  I took the back supports off and began the process of sanding the sides and support boards.  Once sanded, I removed all of the dust and proceeded to stain them a dark brown colour.  The difference between the redish warn cedar colour and the deep brown was dramatic, to say the least.  In order to make them withstand the outdoor conditions, I then had to apply 2 coats of urethane to protect the newly stained pieces.  This was very time-consuming and also meant that my garage was no longer available for other projects that might disturb the dust on my turn of the century wooden garage floors ~ can you believe that??

dark stain

The Finished Look

I am really pleased with the finished look and I must say my husband was impressed as well.  He even helped me in the final stages of the project.  We have them out on the front porch and I think they will be keepers after all.  I was never really crazy about the bright green with the red cedar, but I have to say that the dark wood looks much better with the green fabric seats.  The chairs are super comfortable and provide the extra seating I was hoping for on the front porch.  The kids will be excited to have some extra seating around the porch swing on the other side of the porch as well!

finished chairs

finished chairs

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About Cindy RoyI am a busy mother, wife and kindergarten teacher. I have a huge list of loves! I love my family, Springs Church, old houses, "up-cycling" and DIY projects, scrapbooking, volleyball, interior design, cake decorating, party planning, healthy eating, and sleeping. I am very organized and reflective, and am continually striving to do life more lovingly, passionately, effectively and successfully.

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