Archive for the ‘The Garage’ Category


My New/Old Desk Chair

January 28, 2007

I’m writing this from my new desk chair.

When my parents retired, they went all David Thoreau and got rid of most of their stuff, only keeping the essentials. They spend almost all of their time traveling now days and don’t have room/time for a lot of stuff. As a result of their purge, my sister, brother and I ended up with most of their furniture. One of the pieces I got was my Dad’s old desk chair.

(As an aside, if you’re interested in reading about my parents travels, you can find my Dad’s book here and his blog here.)

By the time the chair made it’s way to me, it was feeling its age. For the last ten years of it’s life in Indiana, it had been out in the garage. There, it suffered through freezing winters and boiling summers along with being used as a foot stool, an ad hoc saw horse, and any other indignities that befall a piece of furniture banished to the garage. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any pictures of it in its dilapidated state.

A few years ago, I decided to go ahead and restore it. I figured that I just needed to sand, stain and seal it and it would be good to go. First however, I needed to replace a few small pieces of wood in the base and one of the curved back supports. Luckily, I have a friend, Joel, who is an experienced carpenter and I asked him to take a look at it, to see if he could make replacement pieces. Soon after this, I left the country for work and was pretty much gone from Seattle for the next 6 months. The chair slipped to the back of my mind.

Seven or eight months later I went by Joel’s place and there was the chair. He had not only replaced all of the missing pieces, he had basically rebuilt the entire thing from top to bottom. Apparently the years of sitting outside in the garage had damaged many of the joints to the point where the chair was on the verge of losing its structural integrity. His craftsmanship (as always) was amazing.

I took the chair home and again, the restoration hit a lull. Finally, a few months back, I organized the garage in our new house and began the final step of finishing it. First, I sanded everything down. Next, I painted and lacquered all of the metal pieces. I used seven or eight coats of Danish Oil on the wood, staining and protecting it all in one step.

Here it is:


This is one of the two back braces Joel built. He used steam to bend the wood.

Back Support


This is the only thing I didn’t paint or stain. I like the contrast it adds. Nice to see a reminder that things actually used to be built in the USA.

Made in USA