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Stripping beech ercol chairs

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Roisa

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Hi,

I recently bought two beech ercol chairs (photos attached) and I would like to strip them back to a natural finish or at least a bit lighter. While I'm a complete novice, I'm optimistic because the structure of the chairs is quite simple and they're already quite light. I'm looking for recommendations on liquid strippers for this kind of wood, and the type of finish you would recommend.

Thanks!
 

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custard

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Are you sure you want to strip them?

Ercol is one of the few parts of the antique furniture market that are actually appreciating in value. Do an amateur refinish and they'll join the 99% of the market that's galloping towards worthlessness.
 

Roisa

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No, I'm not sure as I'm aware of that. However, I didn't buy them as an investment, more as functional furniture that I will be looking at every day. The colour doesn't go with any of my other furniture and it wouldn't be my personal choice. That said, I don't welcome the idea of ruining them!
 

marcros

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your chairs, your choice. What species of furniture are you trying to match? If it is maple then you are going to struggle to get a similar colour.
 

NazNomad

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Personally, I'd leave the frames alone and reupholster the seat & back to match my decor.
 

custard

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Roisa":2ag6sghu said:
The colour doesn't go with any of my other furniture and it wouldn't be my personal choice.
Your chairs, your call.

They were originally sprayed with a nitro finish and a very good job Ercol did too, far better than most current spray jobs. Because they're fifty or so years old a lacquer thinner might remove it, if not a stripper like Nitromors will take it clean off. Make sure you remove any residue around the webbing. A lot of the yellow/orange colour is just the Beech ageing. If you want it pale then sand it back, but in a few years time it will have darkened again. The easiest and least darkening finish would then be water based polyurethane varnish, apply as thin as possible but don't overwork the surface film.

Anyone who knows about finishing would spot it from across the room as an amateur re-finishing job, but they're not the ones who have to live with it, so I guess your opinion is the only one that counts.

Good luck!
 

Roisa

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The legs of my couch and footstool are maple so as you say, it may be difficult to match. I'll probably leave it a while and see if they grow on me. While I'd like to lighten the colour, I don't want to ruin the chairs. Thanks for all the recommendations so far!
 
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