Deconstructed Wing Back Chair pt 1

reduce (something) to its constituent parts in order to reinterpret it.

Total deconstruction is what these wingback chairs are undergoing. Everything stripped off and taken down to the bare wood. I am sharing part 1 today and I can’t wait to share the reveal!

Scrolling through the local for sale sites can often leave me with a bit more of an empty wallet but sometimes it is hard to pass up the potential on a piece of furniture when you see it. Am I right?

The “bones” on this chair were in incredible shape. There were two of them listed for $40.00 and the seller took $35.00. So, the price wasn’t bad for the pair. However, they stunk and they were so dirty! The dust and grime that fell out of these chairs were unreal but I did learn that they used to be in the Steak and Ale restaurant in Oklahoma. The man that sold them to me was probably in his 40’s and said he worked there for 10 years back when he was 18. So, the chairs have some age and have seen a lot of use.

So, how do you take one apart? You find an area and start tearing it off, slowly! This chair was solid and I was so excited to find that it was completely wood throughout the entire chair. There was no modern day cheap plywood, and in fact I found a tiny tag that said the chair was Walnut.

In all seriousness I started this project at 7:00 pm and quit just shy of midnight. Thousands of staples had to be removed to the get all the fabric and stuff off. I found that using a flat head screwdriver to get under the staples was my best option. Then, I used pliars to take the staple out. I ended up with one battle wound on my arm but I think it will be worth it.

These pictures were all taken late last night and I am up early this morning to start working on the project again. I would love to hear your thoughts! What would you do? Would you cover the chair back up like the original or leave it more plain? Would you cover the open sections by the arms? Would you paint it? Share your thoughts and let me know!

The above picture shows where I left off last night. I am using railroad denim by Robert Kaufmann and a dark denim to accent. I covered the seat cushion, which may have been the easiest part of the entire project. The rest of the fabric is just draped over the back to give me an idea what that would like. Share your thoughts!

Updated: See pt 2 of the chair update

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Thank you for sharing!

7 thoughts on “Deconstructed Wing Back Chair pt 1”

  1. I wouldn’t paint it. Cover the back and then get a good Murphy oil soap, clean the wood, then put some kind of furniture wax on it to make it shine. It will be beautiful when you get done. You could put different pillows for the holidays and then have a ticking pillow for just everyday use.

  2. The chairs are a super great find! I agree with Rachel..cover the back ( leaving the handle exposed), clean the wood and apply wax. But i would clean the wood first, before covering with fabric. Maybe even a light sanding before cleaning would be good? Can’t wait to see your finished project!

  3. I agree that you lightly sand the wood, clean with Murphy’s Oil Soap and wax the wood. Don’t paint that aged walnut! Also, leave the wooden arms without fabric…which I think gives more of the old farmhouse appeal. Have fun!

  4. Sarah, unfortunately I am not receiving any blog updates to my email address recently. I don’t know why lol but luckily I can still use the link through your Instagram profile.

  5. Beautifull , Awesome job on this project, would use Pure Raw Linseed oil on the wood.

    Love the fabric, ya chose.

    Taking a little break from the endless lists on this old farmhouse, so I made the original Ooey Gooey St Louis, cake, (hubby from Missouri).

    Love ya blog❤️❤️
    Happy found ya

    Thank you

  6. Mix powder fine sawdust with wood glue and use it to fill all the stapl holes. It will strengthen the frame and give a good base for new staples/upholstery tacks.

  7. I know this is a late post but I ran across your blog by mistake. Not sure if you know this but there is a small tool to take upholstery staples out fairly easily and no harm hopefully will happen. Hope that you didn’t paint the chair. I have my Aunts Thomasville wing back chair that was originally red velvet. The real stuff. It has seen better days and I was thinking of doing the same thing with it as you did with yours. Thank you for sharing your process.


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