Our dining chairs used to belong to Fritz's grandmother; they are from Germany in the 1950s. They're made of solid wood and have this swoopy curve design on the back. According to Fritz this was a pretty standard, generic style in the 1950s. While we lived in Germany, I did occasionally see similar chairs sitting around at various Flohmarkts (flea markets); so let's just say they must be somewhat common in Germany. We had used them for about 2 years (in Germany) and then I decided to sand them and stain them a dark color. That was in 2008. Since then, the chairs have undergone much child-wear-and-tear. The dark stain started flaking off about 1 year ago. Okay, confession: this was not only due to children, but also to things like the buttons on the back of our pants. They look miserable.
This brings up a frustration of mine regarding furniture: dark stain. We have several pieces of furniture that are stained a dark color and it is so impractical with children! And chairs are pretty much the worst furniture ever to have stained dark. I don't know why dark stain has been so fashionable for so long now. Unfortunately, with these chairs, I have nobody to blame but myself, because the chairs used to be a more natural wood tone. Probably if they were still a more natural wood tone that would have disguised the wear and tear. But I stained them darker. My fault. Entirely.
I think here I should point out I used some
"environmentally friendly chemical stripper"which is probably an oxymoron,
so the boys wore gloves and masks, when they 'helped' which they didn't, really.
And...I don't know. Probably a project I'll continue working on
when they are not around, but you know, sometimes my desire to change-the-chair
just drives me to think less and act more.
Now that I know better about dark stain, and given their sorry state, I decided to peel off the stain and sand them back down to natural. I could just get rid of them, I suppose. But I like them! There's that swoopy curve design on the back. And now that they've been transplanted halfway around the world, I'm attached to their new-found uniqueness. I know, I know. Peeling and sanding chairs is a brave and time-consuming endeavor. But I felt convinced that I wanted them (back to) a natural wood tone that would hold up better with 'kids.'
|This is post chemical stripper, and after this, |
I still need to attack them with steel wool and sand paper.
As soon as I started to remove the stain, I remembered why I stained them in the first place. That swoopy design that I like so much reads so much better with a dark stain. Maybe I was too rash to remove the dark stain? Maybe I just need to be more vigilant about touching them up and fixing scratches – whatever that means. Hmmm. So now I ask you: what do you think? Should I strip them all and return them to a natural wood color (more kid friendly and more work)? Or keep them a dark wood color (and less kid friendly and less work?) Noah wants me to paint them a really bright color.
What should I do? I made a poll so you can vote! It's over on the side bar. You can also leave a comment to give your vote some extra weight.
(I probably won't paint them a bright color, but I am truly undecided about re-staining them dark.)