Oak Office Chair Restoration

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Project by onefullturn posted 03-14-2017 07:47 PM 1667 views 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In 1985 while working for S.C. Johnson in Canada, I bought an old oak office chair from them that had seen better days. It was made in the late 1930’s by the Gilson Mfg Company in Guelph Ontario. For $25 I took it home, disassembled it and meant to restore it the next month. This past winter, I found a box in my workshop that contained all the pieces of the chair. Seems life got in the way of this particular project. So this winter, I started by cleaning 75 years of dirt and old finish off everything. The saying “They don’t build things like they used to” comes to mind. Some of the under-carriage pieces are 1/4 inch thick cast iron! The oak was all slow growth material. The oak had a gold honey stain on it originally. I choose to finish it with wipe-on poly, no stain. Despite taking the oak down to bare wood, the original stain still must have left a remnant of its colour as the wood took on a beautiful warm honey tint. The casters are new and all the metal parts were painted with semi-gloss black. I have seen similar chairs on eBay for $2-300. But this one will go to my grandson.

-- One Full Turn Woodturnings

2 comments so far

View Ivan's profile


16791 posts in 3951 days

#1 posted 03-14-2017 08:33 PM

Beautiful piece – excellent craftmanship!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View bushmaster's profile


4125 posts in 3367 days

#2 posted 03-14-2017 10:59 PM

Great restoration job. Similar to one that I did, Mine has oak arms as well. I saw it is someones trailer to go to the dump. I rescued it and brought it home as like they say they don’t make them like they use to. Had replace some of the wood where the rollers had broken out. I like your natural finish, I used a Chestnut colored stain after it was sanded down.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

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