Frequently Asked Questions

1.  May I ship my chair to you for reupholstering?

I prefer to work with local Baltimore/DC-area clients only.  There’s too much of a risk with frames that might require third party repairs once the piece is stripped, plus I’m just not set up to do receiving and return shipping.

2.  What is your turnaround time?

Right now it’s about 8-10 weeks, sometimes less.

94 Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

  1. BECKY KENT says:

    Can you please recommend an on-line fabric outlet for mid-century / modern fabric? I am having the HARDEST time finding a nubby or tweed fabric for upholstery. Thank YOU! Becky Kent Minneapolis MN

    • MCR says:

      I have links to two good sources on the right side of my blog: Winterbeach Modern and Modern Fabrics. Both will send swatches and both are always getting new fabrics in, so if you don’t see what you want right away, keep checking back.

      • MCR says:

        I’ve added Silverstone Fabrics to my list of fabric sources. They stock a wonderful selection of mid- to high-end upholstery fabrics for midcentury modern furniture, including many wools. I’ve dealt with them for years and have been very pleased with their service and fabrics.

  2. Elizabeth Delgatto says:

    I have eight of the Eric Buck chairs you show on the site and the hopsack upholstery is much in need of replacement. I am thinking of using Toray Ambiance – do you think this is a faux pas toward the era? My reason is that my cats think that nubby fabric on floating chairs makes a perfect jungle gym. Also, would you be able to recommend an upholsterer in the Puget Sound area (Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC) who could do a fine job on my chairs? I worry about someone messing them up…worse than the cats. :O

    • MCR says:

      Toray Ambience is an ultrasuede fabric, so no, it’s not something that would have been used on these chairs originally. But upholstery is a reversible change and they’re your chairs, so if that’s what is best for your needs then go for it. However, you might want to look into how it fares on dining chairs. I think it may develop an unattractive patina where hands touch it, like on the edges of the seats when scooting chairs in or out, and on the backs when moving the chairs. This is a synthetic and some synthetics hold onto oil-based grime worse than other fibers. I’m also not sure about how easy it is to clean.

      Sorry, I don’t know of any upholsters in your area. The backs and seats are pretty easy to remove on these chairs so you could ship them to me, but shipping charges may put the whole thing out of your budget. Use the “Contact Us” page if you want to discuss this further. Thanks!

  3. alex says:


    I just stumbled upon your page. It is really inspiring me to learn how to upholster. Would you have any book recommendations for newbie.


    • MCR says:


      There are tons of books that have been published since I started and I really haven’t kept up on them at all, so as much as I’d like to help, I don’t really know of any. Maybe check for message boards about upholstery?

  4. Liz Delgatto says:

    What type of glue do you use on the backs of the Eric Buch chairs? I’m going to try to do them myself…
    Thanks! Love your site and your appreciation
    for these beautiful pieces –

    • MCR says:

      Thanks for your kind words! I use a super-strength spray adhesive. I wear a respirator when spraying it and for awhile as it dries, even when working outside.

      • Liz says:

        Thank you. I feel intimidated by the spray, especially as I am chemically sensitive. The original chairs had some kind of thick wet glue which has dried amber. I’m potentially “sacrificing” a chair to try techniques. I’m going to apply a strong fabric glue around the back where the cardboard meets the stapled on piece and use lots of clamps and see how that goes…. Let the amateur begin! 🙂

  5. Taylor says:

    Hi there,

    I purchased a mid-century modern chair, but two of the rubber straps were broken, and the other two are old and dry. The rubber straps were nailed directly onto the wood. I’m wondering if it’s better to replace the straps with the elastic webbing, or with rubber webbing. I found rubber webbing on ebay, but I can’t seem to find the elastic webbing. If it is better to use the elastic webbing, do you know of a website that sells it by the yard?



    • MCR says:

      Either the Pirelli rubber webbing or the woven elastic webbing are fine. I buy from a local supply place by the roll but you can probably find some places online that sell the elastic webbing by the yard. There are a lot of upholstery supply places online these days.

      • E.Fong says:

        Hello, I also would like to replace the straps that are nailed directly into the wood frame. Would you recommend nailing new holes or using larger nails into the old holes? My concern with both methods is compromising the integrity of the frame. I assume I have to nail in the straps opposed to using clips (the slots do not seem thin enough to hold clips). The original straps were woven through the slots and nailed both on top and underneath. Thank you for your help!

        • MCR says:

          That doesn’t sound like any chair that I have had experience with. Using bigger nails isn’t a good idea for the reason you cited. I suggest you take an overall photo of the chair and a few well-focused photos that show the straps in detail and then ask about it in the repair section of the forum at There are some very helpful, knowledgeable people there who will probably be able to help you with this.

          • E.Fong says:

            Thank you so much for responding and for doing so so quickly. I appreciate the time you take to address all the queries that come to you. Continue the great restoration work (and website)!

  6. Jan Becker says:

    Hi there — What a lovely blog….it’s so inspiring to see your transformations! I have a question about one of your posts — after cleaning/stripping the wood on one chair, you said you applied a “tung oil varnish” to give an older patina to the chair. Would you mind sharing what that is? Thanks very much!

  7. Zolita Vella says:

    Thank you for being so generous with information. I enjoy reading your blog.

    Could you now point me in some direction for furniture glides? I have an Overman swivel chair that is missing a number of the glides on the 4-star base.

    Thank you for any help you can provide.

  8. Tom Anderson says:

    Wondered if there was still a source for the Danish Cushion #1 Springs? I have an Ib Kofod-Larsen recliner that the movers broke and lost two of the springs that support the back.

    Thanking you in advance!

    • MCR says:

      Tom, I’m not sure what you mean by “#1 Springs”—if it’s the small diameter, round, vinyl-covered spring that is in a loop, that’s the Experspring. The only source I know of is this place: in the UK. I have never bought anything from them but the owner is a very helpful sort. Good luck!

      • Kathryn Beattie says:

        I have a similar chair and the everspring loops are all intact but 3 have stretched out is there a way to fix/shorten them?

        • MCR says:

          There might be a way to shorten this type of spring. My experience with them is pretty limited so I’m no expert by any means. You might try asking on the forum at Someone there might be able to help you. Good luck.

  9. Melissa James says:


    I’ve so enjoyed reading your website and seeing your furniture transformations. I wonder, would you mind sharing how you clean the different woods? I have a wonderful teak Sigvard Bernadotte chair and a rosewood end table that need some love. What would be the best way to clean and oil them?

    Again, thank you for sharing your great work.


    • MCR says:

      You can use #0000 steel wool and a good teak oil on the teak. I don’t know about the rosewood, depends on whether it’s lacquered or not. Check with a refinisher in your area on that one. Good luck!

  10. Georgia Marsh says:

    Do you know of anyone who could repair knoll chairs in the NYC area?


  11. Chris says:

    Wonderful blog and beautiful work on your projects!
    Are there any resources to determine the authenticity of MCM chairs?
    I have recently acquired what I believe to be Erik Buck model #49 OD Molber chairs.
    But some details have me questioning the authenticity. 🙂

    They are in rough condition and were stored outdoors (!!!) exposed to rain and sun in San Diego for somewhere between 5 and 15 years! Grandma can’t recall exactly when/where she got them (garage sale or flea market most likely) or where the missing 4th chair is (darn!!!). But you’ve got to hand it to her for having a great eye!

    Quite the mystery.

    I’d like to determine if the restored value would make restoration cost worthwhile. If not I will DIY the wood finish and get a pro re-upholster. I love them and quite like the idea of working on them myself (as long as I won’t ruin the value).

    The details that have me wondering if they are authentic?
    -Most online examples only have 2 screws holding the backrest. In addition to these, mine have a single screw holding 2 of the 3 seat cross “beams”.
    -On most online examples, the lower back cross beam has an elegant taper on top and bottom. My lower back cross beams have a taped top but flat bottom.
    -My wood is a very light color (ash, oak?). Online examples are always teak or rosewood. Could sun exposure have faded teak to nearly white? It looks like it has a yellow-orange varnish that is on some spots, peeling flaking off other spots, and entirely gone in other spots.
    -The (damaged) upholstery is white with puple-ish dots fabric with clear vinyl shell. Looks ridiculous with the yellow-orange wood color where the varnish still lives. This can’t be original? Makes me wonder what color the wood used to be?
    -No stickers or burned in Danish Control marks. I understand that the stickers were often on the under side upholstery, rather than wood itself?


    Many thanks!

    • MCR says:


      You chair looks authentic to me. It has the right number of screws in the correct places and everything else looks authentic. There are some similar chairs made by D-Scan in Taiwan but they have some very noticeable differences. Yours looks pretty good for the weather it has withstood. It’s teak and might look just fine after a rubdown with #0000 steel wool and a good teak oil. Several coats of oil may be necessary but it will probably revive. If not, sanding may be needed.

      As far as I know, these were only marked with a foil label. It would not have held up in the conditions you describe.

      The upholstery is not original. I hope that the plywood seat is not de-laminated under the vinyl.

      Good luck with it!

      • Chris says:

        Many thanks for the help.
        I’m pretty psyched!
        We’ll have to see what the wood looks like under the polka-dots.
        I’ll be trusting the upholstery to capable pro hands.
        I’ll share results when I’m finished (pun intended).
        It should only take me a month. 🙂

  12. karin tolson says:

    Can you recomend a supplier of Danish paper cord, please.
    Many thanks

    • MCR says:

      In the U.S. you can get it from Frank’s Cane & Rush Supply, and other sources. A Country Seat sells paper cord imported from Denmark, which is a little denser than the stuff sold by Frank’s.

      • karin tolson says:

        Tak for dit hurtige svar. Jeg bor i England!!, Du troede vidst at jeg var fra USA
        Jeg vil gerne hoere fra dig igen hvis du ville vaere saa rar.
        Mange tak

      • Hello! Beautiful blog. I have recently started my own after 10 years of caning but after seeing yours I ought to step it up a notch. I am having trouble finding quality Danish Cord. I have gottten samples from both Franks and Country Seat (not to mention a dozen other suppliers) but they are not as full and beautiful and tightly twisted, but with the defined twists. I have the bare end of a roll that I got from Country Seat years ago but in the last few years I cannot find its equal. I really want to restore my clients chairs with the proper material the designers intended. The 1/8 inch both laced and unlaced are too small and the 3/16 is too large and not as defined and full in the twill. Are you having this problem? I’m trying to find the Danish manufacturer but am not having any luck.

  13. MCR says:

    Try asking Simon at in England. You might also be able to find some sources just by doing a Google search. I’ve seen some random ones pop up now and then when I have been researching sources. Held og lykke!

  14. karin tolson says:

    Tak for din gode hjaelp. Her er hvad jeg har fundet ud af, det kunne maaske hjaelpe andre.Jeg fandt frem til A.J. Moeller, som har lavet stolene,jeg spurgte om de kendte Fred Aldous, de fortalte at Fred Aldous har koebt Danish Cord fra dem i aarevis , det var meget betryggende at vide, jeg har bestilt 5kg fra Fred. £65. 00 incl forsaendelse.
    Mange tak

  15. Jim Radosevic says:

    Thanks for your amazing blog and generosity with your knowledge. I was curious if you had any recommendations for cleaning paper cord. I know we’ll need to replace them eventually, but in the mean time is there a way to clean it without damaging it?

    • MCR says:


      I recommend trying plain soap flakes in water. This is how the Danes take care of their paper cord seats. Instructions can be found here. You can use that particular brand or you can make your own by grating Ivory bar soap and dissolving it in water (2 tbsp per quart). It may take several treatments to lift heavier dirt. It’s also a good way to protect the paper cord from dirt and stains that may occur later.

      • Jim Radosevic says:

        Thank you so much!

      • I have had good luck with the soap flakes technique. After applying a slightly less diluted solution, I apply the liquid to the entire seat. After it soaks in, I gently scrub in the same direction that I applied the soap with a soft bristle tooth brush. After repeating several times, the “patina” can be evened out.

  16. steve kritzler says:

    Hi – just found your blog and I’m lovin it. I use teak oil on chairs but what do you recommend for a dining table that may be subject to drink and food spills?

    • MCR says:

      I don’t really know—I mostly do upholstery and just oil wood chair frames as needed. I have a teak dining table myself and it has an oil finish. I just try to be really careful about not getting spills on it. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  17. Steve Johnson says:

    I am wondering if you don’t mind sharing your thoughts regarding a Danish paper cord. I just purchased a rocking chair and I’m now doing my homework on how to restore it. Since I’m not familiar with Danish paper cord – – – I can only imagine this item should not be used outdoors (on my deck – which I initially intended) since it would occasionally get wet (I do have an overhang which would protect most of it from getting wet). Do you have any thoughts on how well this material holds up to getting occasionally wet from being left outdoors?
    Thank you!

    • MCR says:


      I don’t think paper cord will hold up to rain over time. It can be regularly treated indoors with soapy water to clean and protect the cord, but that’s not the same as getting soaked outside with temperature changes and sun, too. I wouldn’t use a wooden chair of any value outside, either. The finish and the joints will suffer.

  18. A.J. Hanley says:

    My husband and I are huge fans of your blog, and have learned so much from you. We just bought a gorgeous Danish modern teak vanity. But while oiling the top, about 2-3 inches of the veneer came off in one area, exposing the particleboard underneath. The veneer was clearly very thin, because I wasn’t aggressive. It’s very noticeable, and I’m heartbroken. Is there anything I (or a professional) can do besides replacing the entire piece of veneer (which I wouldn’t want to do, of course)? Can the slight depression with something that takes color? Any help you can provide would be appreciated!

    • MCR says:

      If you still have the veneer chip, it might be possible for someone to glue it back on. The cracks and small chips can be filled and grain painted to match. I’ve seen some pretty amazing repairs like this—you would never notice them if you didn’t know they were there. It may take some doing to find someone in your area with these skills, but they’re out there. Good luck!

  19. Carolyn says:

    I recently got a new dog and she thought it would be a good idea to chew on the wooden armrest of my lounger. Do you know anyone that could fix it? I’m very fond of this chair and would like to use it again. Thanks!

    • MCR says:

      You should take it to a good furniture repair person. Unfortunately, I don’t have any referrals for that kind of thing. Good luck!

  20. Jeff C says:

    Good afternoon,

    I just stumbled on your blog and am so excited by your work. It is wonderful and I am particularly thrilled by your fabric choices. I just inherited a couple of pieces I am hoping to spruce up myself but have a few questions and I thought you might have
    Some guidance.

    1) If simple steel wool and teak oil is not providing any noticeable results is it necessary
    To use stripper to get back to bare teak? Is there any danger in using stripper on the piece (to the piece not myself)?

    2) I bought replacement Pirelli webbing. Is it necessary to use a webbing stretcher to
    Install? I don’t have a pneumatic stapler just a heavy duty manual – with the proper staples do you think that will suffice?

    3) on one of your projects you state that you used hallingdal color 227 by maharam/kvadrat fabric. This beautiful fabric looks dramatically different on you chair v. The maharam website (looks brown). Can you confirm the color code? I really like but may need to order site unseen.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I will be
    Sure to send you a photo of my project before and after!


    • MCR says:

      1. I have no experience using varnish stripper on teak. Check your finish with a bit of acetone (nail polish remover is the same thing) on an inconspicuous place. Most teak has an oil finish but I’ve come across a few things that had a lacquer finish, which can be removed with lacquer thinner or acetone. I’ve never seen any varnished teak.

      2. I just pull Pirelli webbing as tight as possible by hand and staple it with the other hand. I have never used non-pneumatic staples in Pirelli webbing so I can’t advise you on that. There is quite a bit of stress on whatever fasteners you use so you need something that will not pull loose.

      3. Hallingdal 227 does look darker on the Maharam site–could be their scan vs. my lighting, I don’t know. It has two different color threads: medium/light golden brown in one direction and medium/light heather gray in the other direction. This gives it an overall warm taupe color but with a lot of color interest up close. I can just make out the two colors on monitor looking at the Maharam listing for it. It’s a subtle but very beautiful colorway, in my opinion. You can order a swatch online from them at no charge—I highly advise doing this rather than ordering blind.

      Good luck with your project!

      • Jeff C says:

        Thank you so much for your quick reply!

        1) In the past I used Watco Teak Oil on these pieces. My recent research has lead me to believe this is a bad product for danish furniture as it does contain varnish. I thought I should “remove” the watco oil before applying another product like the Star Brite Oil you use. I thought the lacquer thinner was the only way to do this, other than sanding the whole piece which I would like to avoid if possible. I used a little acetone on a towel in a descrete spot and only dirt seemed to come off. Would I see something else if there was lacquer? Or varnish?

        2) good to know. I will try the hand held with good staples and let you know how it holds up.

        3) Thanks for clarify. Yes, your photos make the fabric appear more grey than brown while the maharam
        Site appears brown. I will order a swatch as you suggest.

        Thanks again for your time.

  21. MCR says:

    Lacquer thinner only removes lacquer, as far as I know. I don’t think it will have any effect on the varnish in Watch Danish Oil finish. Why do you want to remove it? Knocking it down with #0000 steel wool and oil will get rid of the gloss, if that’s what’s objectionable. It will also smooth any roughness from dust that got into the finish before it dried, or from raised grain.

  22. Thomas Ussy says:

    Is there a particular brand of oil you use on your Teak refinishing projects with 0000 steel?

    How do you know you’ve gone over with the steel long enough/deep enough?


    • MCR says:

      I like Star-Brite brand teak oil which most Ace Hardware stores carry and you can get it at some marine supply stores too, if you’re near a boating area. It doesn’t have any varnish in it so it’s easy to use. Just be sure to do a final buffing within a day of applying, otherwise it will take longer to dry.

      As for how long to do the steel wool, you can tell by what’s coming off the wood. Dirt will be blackish or greenish black on your wiping rag. When the dirt is gone you will start seeing actual wood pigment (whatever color your wood is). That’s when you stop. Just be sure you don’t scrub in any one area longer or deeper than the rest, otherwise you’ll end up with a lighter, dryer area that will be hard to blend in.

  23. phil j from San Carlos, CA says:

    Hi, we picked up 6 Wegner CH33 teak chairs that are in need of cleaning and refinish/oiling. Would like to ask a few questions if I may.
    – I did a search of Start Brite teak oil you recommend and found that West Marine (boat products store near us and online) sells more than one type of this product, which one do you use?
    – The previous owner used Watco Teak Oil finish which I read includes some type of varnish, do I just continue to proceed cleaning with 0000 steelwool and teak oil or is there any additional step I need to do? there was one youtube video of a guy who takes care of his teak dressers (2x a year) using 0000 steelwool with turpentine to clean and then finish off teak oil, do you recommend this procedure?
    – I get confused with how long you are supposed to leave on teak oil, it should be long enough to be absorbed but not long enough that it will get tacky, what exactly is the timeline we’re looking at? was planning to do 2 rounds of 0000 steelwool and teak oil cleaning process followed by a final round of teak oil on cloth, what kind of intervals should I follow?

    • MCR says:

      1. Use either the black or white label Teak Oil by Star Brite. They sell this as part of a two or three part system that includes products for cleaning, which you do not need.

      2. I don’t see much need to remove old oil using turpentine. It seems to me that the oil itself plus the mild abrasive action of #0000 steel wool is enough to remove any surface oil that is embedded with grime or whatever. If over the years you think the wood has gotten duller despite regular oiling, then maybe a turpentine treatment will help. I think just oil and steel wool will pretty well break down an old oil/varnish finish.

      3. Go over the wood with oil and steel wool, let it sit for 5-10 minutes depending on dryness. Wipe excess off completely. Let sit another 20-30 minutes and buff thoroughly with dry, clean rags or paper towels. You may need an additional buffing the next day if it still feels a bit gummy or if you just want more of a sheen. (This is what I do. Other people will have other methods. Oil finishes are very forgiving and there’s a fair amount of leeway in what works.)

      • phil j from San Carlos, CA says:

        Will do – and greatly appreciate the advice!

        • phil j from San Carlos, CA says:

          Please allow me one more question please, internet is a both a good a bad thing too much info is out there….have you ever used or thought about using “Deks Olje #1 Saturating Wood Protection”? (pronounced “Decks Olya”)
          I seem to have shifted to being overly concerned about durability and now thinking of protecting the chairs as if they were going to used on water (lol).

          • MCR says:

            I don’t own a deck, boat, or any wooden outdoor furniture that would necessitate using Deks Olje or anything similar. The Danish manufacturers and countless owners of Danish furniture have been using plain old teak oil for decades with no problems. Teak is a very durable wood and an oil finish is fine for any indoor chair. You might want something a little more waterproof on a dining table top that you use often, especially if you aren’t careful about mopping up drips right away. But otherwise, regular teak oil is fine.

  24. Dan P says:

    Really great blog,

    I’ve recently bought a Hans Olsen armchair and the leather smells a little funky, any recommendations as to the best way to clean the leather without drying it?

    • MCR says:

      I’ve heard that Leather CPR is a good product. Not sure about eradicating odor, though. It would probably depend on what caused the odor in the first place. I don’t really have any experience with this–sorry!

  25. Ricardo says:

    I just discovered your site…then spent the next couple of hours enjoying the pics. Thanks!
    I just acquired 6 Pastoe SA07 chairs designed by Cees Braakman and I’m having them reupholstered (I live in Belgium, otherwise I would have gone to you!). I have a question about the wood finish. The wood is Wenge but I’m not sure what finish it has. First I cleaned them using Murphy’s oil soap, then I applied a drop of lacquer thinner to see if it reacted…it didn’t. I was expecting this since the wood isn’t shiny, it looks more like it was finished using an oil. I didn’t find anything on the web, and Pastoe didn’t answer my email.
    thanks again for your website and any help you may provide.

    • MCR says:

      It’s hard to say without seeing them in person but I think oiling is probably a safe next step. Just be sure that all of the Murphy’s Oil Soap is rinsed off. It will react with the oil and turn it cloudy.

  26. melisse says:

    No question… just a note of thanks!
    I’ve been maintaining Danish teak furniture for years and done some minor repairs, learning how from my Mom. She could even successfully repair veneer chips and dents. Recently I inherited many of my Mom’s pieces and realized much of it is now very dull and dirty (she and my Dad also smoked.) Needing a refresher on cleaning methods my search brought me here.

    You are providing a wonderful service with your posts and responses to questions (sometimes to the same repeated questions.) I know I’m not alone in appreciating your kindness for sharing your knowledge and your time.

    I bought the suggested soap flakes for cleaning my dirty inherited woven Moller chair seats… you’ve given me the confidence to tackle that job. Thank you!

  27. Steve says:

    I’m trying to fix up one of the Yugoslavian roped folding chairs and quickly am realizing that replacing the rope is going to be extremely expensive. Do you know how much cord you’re using on these chairs and know of any place I can buy enough whole sale. I was hoping for an inexpensive project but I’m thinking this might not be it.

  28. Melanie Decourcey says:

    I purchased 6 Eric Buch dining chairs that have upholstery in the back and on the seating area. I like to change the fabric myself and was wondering how I can take the back side out. Any suggestions?
    Thank you.

    • MCR says:

      You have to remove the wooden plugs on the sides of the backrest, then unscrew the screws under them, then very gently pull the two back posts apart just enough to work the back out on one side, then the other. There are two small wood dowels in addition to the two screws; the dowels usually end up in the back. Sometimes they fall out completely.

  29. Trent says:

    I have fun with, cause I found exactly what I was haviong a look for.
    You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a
    great day. Bye

  30. Debra says:

    Hi, I just discovered your blog and hoping you can help with my questions concerning authentication. I have acquired a few beautiful modern mid-century teak armchairs. Because there is no signature plate, nor are they numbered I assume they are simply ‘very strong Sigvard Bernadotte – influenced. They are so close in style, except the arms of my chairs are convex as opposed to those of the Bernadotte chairs that I find, which are somewhat concave or flatter. How would one really know if they are original replicas? I am trying to place a value on them. I can’t seem to upload a photo, but if you have an email address, I can send to you. Thanks for any info or advice you can provide.

  31. Debra says:

    Thanks! Will take a look at that link.

  32. Janelle says:

    Hi! I’m so glad I stumbled across your amazing blog! Recently I found and purchased 5 teak Moller no. 402 chairs on Craigslist for $100! (I don’t think they knew what they were worth Anyway, my question is this. They are in really good condition other than some water marks and general wear. The seats are unraveling and I’ve ordered new Danish Cord from The Caning Shop so I can do that myself. Is it wrong to do a light sanding of the whole teak frame to rub out the water marks before reapplying teak oil? I have 4 arm chairs and one side chair (no. 401) and I’ve just sanded down and re-oiled the side chair yesterday. Did I ruin my lovely chair? Is there a better way to tackle this issue? Any advice is welcome. Thank you!

    • MCR says:

      It isn’t necessarily wrong to sand a chair, but if you just want to get rid of water marks you can usually just go over the wood with #0000 steel wool and teak oil. I have a number of before and after photos of this treatment on this blog. Sanding removes a thin layer of wood and that’s where the deepening of the color occurs; something that cannot be replaced except by time.

      I use Star-Brite brand teak oil from Ace Hardware, or you can buy it online. Soak some into the steel wool pad and rub with the grain. This will also loosen dirt and break down the previous oil finish that has become dull. Let the oil sit for 5 minutes or so then wipe off with paper towels or clean rags. Let the chair sit for another 20-30 minutes, then buff hard with a clean rag. That’s all it takes.

  33. Stephen Kline says:

    After cleaning up a cat hairball/throw-up on the seat of my Hans Wegner rocker, the area is lighter almost bleached compared to the rest of the paper cord material. What can I do to darken this area to match the rest of the seat?

    • MCR says:

      The only thing I have experience with in dealing with stains on paper cord is pure soap in water. It’s what Danes use but I don’t know how well it will work on what you have. It won’t hurt to try it. Just grate Ivory bar soap (do not use other brands and don’t use liquid soap) with a cheese grater or food processor. Dissolve 2-3 tablespoons in a quart of hot water. Simmering it on the stove will speed this up. Let it cool down a bit then sponge it on to the entire seat including the sides, that way there will be no water marks when it dries.

      The seat will sag a bunch when it’s wet but don’t worry, it will tighten back up to normal as it dries. Obviously don’t in it until it’s totally dry! You may need to repeat this process a few times and even then I’m not sure you can make the spot a whole lot less noticeable. But it’s worth a try.

      Soap treatments are a good idea anyway because the soap acts as a barrier to dirt and spills. If your seat was soap treated in the past, it may help the stain to come out more readily—or maybe not if it’s actually bleached. You’ll just have to see.

  34. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this wonderful blog and the gorgeous pictures!

    I used your method of Starbrite teak oil and 0000 steel wool to clean and oil an old teak chair. Parts of it still feel tacky a day later. Does this mean there’s still dirt to remove, or that I buffed inadequately? I’m thinking the former since I believe I buffed all parts the same, and some don’t feel tacky… ?

    Thanks again!

  35. MCR says:

    I get that tackiness sometimes too–usually it just needs more buffing. It may be that some parts of the chair were not as dry as others, so the oil would have soaked into them more than on the parts that are still tacky.

    With Star-Brite oil, usually all you need to do is buff again. I use a lot of pressure and buff until the surface is tack-free. That said, however—once I just didn’t get around to it until a good week or two later and the tackiness was gone. The oil had hardened enough that it no longer felt sticky.

  36. Jennifer says:

    Thank you!

  37. Kathy Kelly says:

    I have recently acquired a mid-century teak Danish dining set made by O.D. Mobler. The fabric on the six chairs is original, but some seats have old stains and the nubby wool is just not comfortable here in Florida. The backs are covered.

    I am getting ready to reupholster and have started to remove the covered cardboard backs. I have two questions: How can I dissolve the glue that was used to attach the cardboard covers, and should I leave the original fabric and cover over or remove it (lots o’staples)?

    Thanks for this very informative blog.

    • MCR says:

      The backs should come off pretty easily if you just work a table knife under one corner and then gently pry them off. I reuse the cardboard (chip board is the upholstery term) but if you accidentally wreck one you can just make a new one out of the same type of cardboard.

      I always remove all old fabric, tacks, and staples—padding, too. This is way more work than removing the cardboard backs. I start by slashing a big X through the fabric on the inside back, then rip it off. Hopefully a bunch of staples will come with it. You can also try trimming the old fabric to about 1/2″ of the staples, then grab one end of the fabric that’s left in a pair of needle nose pliers and wind it around the pliers, pulling staples out as you go. Some fabric will tear before they will pull the staples out. Last resort: pry each staple a little ways out with a flat head screwdriver, then pull them all the way out with needle nose pliers or grip gently with diagonal pliers and pull straight up.

      You need to remove the old fabric, otherwise there will be too much bulk at the corners and the back will look lumpy and thick. You need to remove old staples and tacks because the new staples or tacks will hit them and bend and you’ll end up having to redo a lot.

  38. Stephanie says:

    I am new to your blog. Look forward to reading a lot more posts.

    I recently bought a table (without chairs). I have found chairs that are a bit darker and am wondering if I would be able to get the colours to match through restoring the pieces. I suspect all the wood is teak. Picture here:

    Do you mind sharing your experience in this regard? Thanks in advance.

    • MCR says:

      That looks like maybe American furniture to me, give the style of construction of the chairs and the species of wood. The chairs look like they might have a lacquer finish with some “antiquing” around the joints. If it’s a lacquer finish, it might have some tint in it that would come off if you remove the lacquer with acetone. I can’t tell for sure without seeing them in person and testing the finish.

      Removing the lacquer might change the overall color of the wood but there’s no guarantee that the chairs and table would end up looking the same. I can’t tell from the photos. I recommend that you consult a professional furniture refinisher in your area.

  39. Stephanie Strydom says:

    Thanks for having a look 🙂

  40. Patricia Gibson says:

    I have a teak dining set purchased in the late 60’s. The wood base of some of the seats in the dining chairs are dried out. They are cracked and no longer seem safe to support weight.
    The seats are padded and covered with fabric. The seat measures 12″ at the sides and 17 1/4 across and is curved reaching 16 1/4 at center front and back. Can replacement seats be bought or can I have new wooden seats made? Can I send you a picture?

    • MCR says:

      I’ve never seen replacement seats like that being sold commercially. You’d have to talk to a cabinetmaker who can steam plywood so that it’s curved. I don’t do that kind of work and have never needed to get seats made so I can’t help you there but you could start by contacting furniture repair people in your area. Good luck.

  41. julie nassau says:

    I want to reupholster my four dining table chairs, but I need to replace the screw covers. I cannot find any that match the colour of my Danish teak chairs, have you any ideas how I can cover the holes without making them look odd?

    • MCR says:

      There are two main types of wood plugs for covering screws: one is like a mushroom profile where the top sits above the surfaces of the chair leg or post. The other fits neatly into the hole (these are either slightly domed on top or flat).

      The problem is that chairs made in Scandinavian countries have metric holes, but metric plugs are not sold in the US.

      You may be able to find some online. Check Ebay.

      What I’ve done in the past is to get the non-metric ones in oak (hardware stores have them) and stain them to as close as teak as I can get. I’ve used fine-tip Sharpies to add teak-type graining. – this place has the best selection of wood species that I’ve found in the US. Cherry and mahagony are probably the closest in color to teak, but they’re not metric. I usually the size that will fit into the hole and then I stick a bit of museum wax in there to hold it in place. This is easier than trimming a too-large plug down to size. (Stores that sell candles sell museum wax—stick dots of wax to put in candleholders to hold the candles securely.)

      I find that as long as the color is close, the face that it isn’t actually teak isn’t that noticeable in the finished chair.

      So—no perfect solution, but I hope it helps.

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