Ercol restoration

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scholar

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There have been a couple of threads recently on restoring Ercol furniture:
Can I use an orbital sander, what pad (Ercol Restoration) and

I have found the various inputs helpful and so I thought I would add some detail of my project currently underway.

I have an Ercol Jubilee Settee that is going to be made more contemporary with new cushions along the lines of this one:
152ACB83-E4C4-4AC5-A1DB-BF6D59E82F84.jpeg

It was in fairly scruffy condition with some splits in the bent corners and the finish, whilst not looking too bad from a distance was rather grey and lifeless as well as being scratched/damaged in places. Whilst my initial plan had been to paint the frame, which would have been easy, I decided this would not be right for its intended location and so I want to refinish it with a decent oiled finish - Osmo being my go-to finish (from a very limited repertoire).

So the first job was to glue up the splits:
FE08AEF1-D728-456C-A6ED-2CDFEB278CF9.jpeg

For this I used Chair Doctor Glue - all the splits repaired fine except one really stiff one needed a little wedge of new beech (arrowed) - incidentally, I have various bits of beech, but I had to be very selective to find some that wasn’t pinky as most of this frame is much lighter):
60D29E14-5B72-4B33-A096-F2BDD9A8A87F.jpeg


The Chair Doctor Glue does work really well I find, using the smallest syringe needle supplied. I also glued up any spindles that seemed remotely loose (a few were rattling) - in most cases, I drilled a couple of 1mm holes into the joint where I could insert the syringe needle:
9881155F-7E01-476C-9190-69032B9B5EBB.jpeg


Then to commence the stripping. The threads referred to above have some discussion of stripping techniques. As far as I know, this furniture was factory-finished with a 2-pack cellulose lacquer - I understand that paint stripper will work on this and I have some old Nitromors available, but think I may get away without using this. My approach thus far is to scrape the finish off and then sand: 60 only where necessary/80/120/180 which is probably good enough for oiling, we will see. What I have found is that the lacquer scrapes off very easily from where you can get down to bare wood that sands easily. The most difficult part is assessing how far to go in making sure that not only the lacquer has gone, but also any residual staining of the wood - I have found that I need to keep going back to areas and looking at them in different lights to check any yellow blotchiness has gone (I am concerned to avoid a blotchy finish when applying the new hard wax oil). Whilst I thought that the spindles were going to be the most tedious and hard work, in fact I think the main frame is the toughest part - we will see. Anyway, this is where I have got to so far:

B70F06F4-3D02-485D-990F-5A42848C040E.jpeg
F6DFFE63-ADE5-4D28-905D-171CC12D037E.jpeg


I may have reached the limit on photos, so will continue on a new message…
 
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scholar

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..continued

5488A50B-F00A-4697-8D1C-847331FD230F.jpeg


This is the main assortment of stuff I have used - none of the powered sanders are actually necessary - they just save a bit of elbow grease!
CD5F31DE-1AB7-43A9-B7E4-8763888F0CAD.jpeg


I am also restoring a matching Ercol footstool that had a dark stain finish, (although presumably the same cellulose laquer) - this also scraped off easily and it was easier to determine if I had got all of the stain sanded off as the contrast with the light beech was greater than the blonde finish on the settee. A couple of pictures of that one for completeness:

74B26C82-C71E-4EA4-BE07-8902636A1AEE.jpeg


There was a punky patch on one side of the frame so I inserted a patch taken from the inside of the frame, that I then repaired with a new bit of beech (as mentioned earlier colour-matching was tricky):
74729F60-570B-4661-855A-75AF36C1340C.jpeg


There is quite a bit more scraping and sanding to do and then I have to decide on a finish - I am experimenting with Osmo Tints and will report back on that in due course.

Anyway, this write-up was really just a respite from scraping and sanding(!), but it may be of interest.

Cheers
 

MorrisWoodman12

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Only just come across your posts @scholar . Your doing a great job which I will be watching with interest. I have four Ercol dining chairs bought new in 1973 and used almost daily since: now in need of a bit of TLC. Thanks for the mention of Chair Doctor: I haven't come across this before so will be useful for the couple of loose joints. And also for saying what the original finish was. Mine is a little tired in places but I think a two part cellulose lacquer is beyond my skill set.
Have fun. Martin
 

TRITON

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As far as I know, this furniture was factory-finished with a 2-pack cellulose lacquer - I understand that paint stripper will work on this and I have some old Nitromors available, but think I may get away without using this.
Acetone takes off the 2 pack
My technique for doing a set of small erco stacking tables was to wrap cloth around all the parts. Soak it in said acetone, then wrap the cloth with clingfilm to stop the acetone from evaporating.
It was a long process and i went through a fair few liters of the stuff. Though i think your way of scrape and sand is probably quicker
2 pack is an acid catalyst, so make sure you've a good mask
 

scholar

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Only just come across your posts @scholar . Your doing a great job which I will be watching with interest. I have four Ercol dining chairs bought new in 1973 and used almost daily since: now in need of a bit of TLC. Thanks for the mention of Chair Doctor: I haven't come across this before so will be useful for the couple of loose joints. And also for saying what the original finish was. Mine is a little tired in places but I think a two part cellulose lacquer is beyond my skill set.
Have fun. Martin
OK - here are the two completed items, just awaiting some new cushions - I settled on plain Osmo Satin finish in the end (having experimented with the tints, they came out a bit patchy and I didn’t really like the effect).

3EE72107-736A-4150-AA75-4E7847F39624.jpeg


I applied the Osmo using a non-abrasive pad (3M) and wish I had found that technique a few years ago.

Overall I am really happy with the finish - I didn’t try using acetone, but one thing is that the blond 2-pack is a stronger tint than I at first realised and so it really did need scarping off to eliminate any patchiness.

Cheers
 
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