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Take a seat

OK, so I know you’ve seen some of these pictures before, but now I have a final product, and the rest of the “in progress” shots are finally uploaded into Flickr.

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This is the best picture I could find of our dining room chairs "before." If you look very closely, you can see hints of stains. In person, they were... repulsive. Truly embarrassing. I can't believe we've had company over and let them sit on these chairs. Plus, they were wobbly.

I bought this dining set at a garage sale right before I moved to Michigan (June 2000) for a whole $40. recovered the chairs in a lovely plaid in colors I was really into at the time (evergreen, burgundy, basically dark), and refinished the table legs (I don’t think she refinished the chairs, but I could be wrong – if she did, major kudos, because there are a lot of little nooks and crannies on these babies). The top is Formica, or Formica-like, so what you see is what you get. In this picture you can see the leaf installed in the middle – it clearly hasn’t seen as much daylight as the rest of the table. The legs easily come off of the table for easy moving and storing, and it has been a really good table for me (even if it’s lacking in style).

At some point in the last… 7 years (was it while I lived in the attic apartment with , or in the red house? I can’t remember), I decided that plaid was no longer for me, and that it would be beneficial if I recovered them in something slightly “slipperier,” so that cat hair would brush off easily. I chose this lovely cream with a very subtle shiny pattern… and it totally wasn’t upholstery weight. It was home dec, but more like fancy curtains than a couch. At this point, I was completely unaware that you can buy Scotchguard in a can. Lots of stains ensued over the years (roughly 6 roommates, 3 cats, numerous family get-togethers with nephews, and who knows what else). It was time for them to get some new life. This is my “how to.”

[Editor’s note: the recovering of the seats happened first, but and I didn’t take any pictures while we were doing that. You’ll just have to see that part at the end. Also, again apologies for the bad pictures. iPhone + basement lighting is not a good recipe for quality photos.]

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Have someone who knows what they're doing work the wobbly chairs apart into many pieces. Prince Charming did a great job, only cracking two pieces (out of 12x4). The glue that was holding the chairs together was so old, they came right apart. It was definitely time for some surgery.

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Keep dismantling...

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Just a few more pieces to pull apart...

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Once you've got it in pieces (you should probably have laid them out in some way so that you know how to put them back together correctly), slap some wood glue in every hole where pegs go and clamp. And if it's not a peg-and-hole joint, slap some wood glue between the two pieces and clamp. Basically, glue and clamp.

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Here you can see why we could only do one chair at a time - we don't own enough clamps to do any more.

When you’re all done with that, if you haven’t done so already, recover the seats. Ours didn’t need new foam, since that had been done in a previous recovering, but they did need new plywood bases. Well, we didn’t have time for that, nor the will. They seemed much sturdier after they were put back in the frames, so we’re not worried about it.

Here’s my big tip: you can buy 3M Scotchguard in a can at the craft store! For less than $10 you can protect that pretty fabric from getting stained! We did 3 light coats, and the fabrics both said that they had been treated for stain resistance as well. Hopefully these will hold up much better.

After recovering the seats, go to sleep. You’ve earned it. It’s probably well past your bedtime anyway.

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When you wake up in the morning, you will find your husband has reattached the seats to the chairs. It's like magic!

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So much better! I've even gotten over my urge to paint them white (at least for now)!

Even though that blue was not our first choice (if you remember, and I had picked out something else, but the piece ended up not being big enough for even one seat), I think it looks fabulous! The floral chairs (2 of each print) take away from the formal feeling of the blue, and there are enough colors in each print that tie them together.

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