Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Stool Project

Challenge: make this sad looking stool attractive enough
that a four-year-old will want to sit on it.
      When our daughter Chris was little, she often sat on that special retro red kitchen stool at
Grandma Lentz's house. Over the years, that stool's condition deteriorated and the sad remains were delegated to the farm basement. Years later, a mother herself, Chris found a similar red stool and simply had to get it for the newer Grandma Lentz. (Ah, that would be me.) Now there's a problem: one stool, more than one small grandchild who insists on using it to sit up to the table.
       So I took a look at the old stool. It was unsightly, but otherwise usable, just rusted and spattered with paint and other nasty stuff. It required new fabric covering on the seat and back as well as replacement padding, and some painting. So I gathered everything I could think of that I might need and went to work.
Covering the seat: secure opposite
sides, then ease and secure corners.
      First step was to remove the back and seat. I used a wire brush and steel wool (the pre-soaped type used to clean pans) to remove as much rust and yucky stuff as possible. I took the stool outside to wash and rinse it thoroughly.
      "Yucky stuff" is the technical term for the stripper I used to remove more than a hundred years of varnish and paint from this old farmhouse's woodwork. The stool, brought up from the basement ten years ago, was already in sad shape. Using it for remodeling projects didn't help its condition one little bit.
       I opted not to repaint the red part of the stool as I'd already purchased padding, fabric, and silver paint, and spent more than I wanted to. I suppose I was thinking, too, that I wanted to preserve some of the stool's original flavor. The goal was to have another stool the kids would use, not to make the old one look new. So I covered the red areas with newspaper and tape and sprayed. I'm forever amazed at what a difference a little paint can make!
Mission accomplished. My granddaughter is delighted
with "her" new stool.
       The hot melt glue gun warmed up while I used the old back and seat covers as patterns and cut padding and fabric. I found that smaller amounts of glue worked better than gobs at holding the fabric to the metal. I glued the two sides, then top and bottom, then eased the fabric to fit around the corners. I did wonder if sewing the fabric might have worked as well, but decided that thread would break when I fitted the metal pieces together. I reattached seat and back, being careful not to touch the still wet silver paint. That paint took a couple of days to dry thoroughly, but then the chair was ready for its debut. 
       My concern now is that the grandkids will fight over who gets the old chair.

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