Special end-of-year blockbuster before & after issue! Happy holidays, everyone!
These CH23 chairs by Danish designer Hans Wegner are some of the earliest made. They were brought over from Denmark and have been in the owner’s family since the early 50s.
Read on for how I got them to look like this.
These black drips probably didn’t start that way. They were probably some innocuous liquid that didn’t show so it didn’t get cleaned off, but after a few decades it gradually darkened the wood. My best guess, anyway.
I gently cleaned the wood with full strength Murphy’s Oil Soap, which pretty much acts as a stripper so it shouldn’t be used unless absolutely necessary. I wipe it on and wipe it off with very light buffing with #0000 super fine steel wool as needed. The soap is rinsed off completely with water, immediately after which the wood is dried thoroughly with towels. This does not raise the grain on teak, and it also didn’t have any effect on the grain of the oak in these chairs. It does leave it looking dry, though—that’s what you see on the right.
The left side has already had an application of tung oil varnish, which I used on these to give them the luster of 60-year-old patina.
Also, see that knot in the rung? These chairs had quite a few little flaws in the wood like that. I haven’t seen many newer CH23s, so I know know if they use a better grade of wood nowadays. I wonder if they used lesser quality wood in the early days before Wegner was well-known.