Have you ever looked at something on Craigslist and knew right away you had to have it before you even went to look at it? I had that moment as soon as I saw this dining set for sale on Craigslist for $65.
The seller was very honest and up-front in the ad, explaining that there was a lot of damage to the set and it would be the perfect “project piece” that she didn’t want to take on. With the price and description it seemed like it would be the perfect challenge for me…and I just couldn’t pass up these beautiful ladder back chairs! I had been looking for a set of six to eight chairs to go with the dining table I planned to build.
Some of you may remember the brief description about the chairs when I posted our farmhouse dining table after it was complete. I promised to do a follow-up post on how I repaired these chairs, and although it was quite a job, it was worth it in the end.
Before I get into the project, let’s first start with the reason these chairs had so much damage (as you will see upon closer inspection).
His name is Apollo…
It was funny when I responded to the Craigslist Ad, as it turned out to be my friend Jennifer from high school. Her sweet German Shepherd used her dining set as a chew toy when he was a puppy. I’m sure that adorable face of his wasn’t so cute the day it happened, but how can anyone stay mad at this handsome guy? I’m partial to German Shepherds and ladder back chairs and good deals on Craigslist, so of course it’s easy for me to say. Jennifer might not have felt the same way when it happened, but I think she was glad to see the dining set go.
I enjoyed setting the chairs up with the reclaimed boards we were going to use for our dining table once we got them home. It’s neat to get a better idea of what it will look like when it’s all complete. Of course, it turned out better than I imagined, but there was a lot of work to do between building the table and refinishing the chairs.
Unfortunately, the tabletop with the set had too much damage to hold on to, but I did keep the table legs and hope to use them for a future project. I was using my Grandfather’s hand-built sawhorses for legs for the farmhouse table, so there was no need for the table legs right now.
Let’s take a closer look at the damage.
Oh my gosh, Apollo…
I can’t help but think of this commercial when I see this. “Apollo don’t know it’s not bacon” <—That’s what I’m hearing…
Those chairs look like they were pretty tasty.
The best I could do to save them was to start with Elmer’s Wood Filler, which is the only wood filler I use. I had hoped to stain the chairs instead of painting them, but it would have been a lot of work to completely remove the old stain and sand all the damaged areas smooth. It was just too much.
The rungs were the most challenging to smooth out because they are round. It was not easy and honestly, I wish I was a talented woodworker because I’m sure it would have been much better to completely replace them. I kept at it though, adding a layer of wood filler, smoothing with 220 sandpaper, and adding more wood filler again…and repeat.
For the rungs: If you are going to attempt this type of project, I will say to use a 220 grit sand paper (which is just enough to lightly smooth the surface) and barely sand across the surface as you are smoothing it out if you are using a Mouse sander like I did. It might take more pressure if you sand it by hand, but I don’t know because I was too tired and lazy for that. Either way, be patient and don’t press down so hard that you have a dip in the surface.
This was just after I sanded the first layer.
Once the bite marks were filled and sanded all over the chairs, I cleaned them well to remove any remaining dust before painting.
I used a primer and spray paint from Rustoleum to complete the surface of the chairs. I decided to go with a white spray paint with a semi-gloss finish. I prefer to use the Painter’s Touch 2x, which is a paint and primer in one. I did use the regular primer before covering it with the 2x to seal the chairs and cover any glossy surfaces I may have missed.
I am so happy with the way the chairs turned out and how they look with our DIY Farmhouse dining table! If you didn’t see the original post for the table tutorial, you can see it, here!
After seeing how they turned out, I got quite a steal for six chairs at that price! And they are ladder back chairs, which have a timeless look. Although I initially wanted to stain them, I’m glad I went with the paint…well, because it was easier and I like the contrast with the wood table.
And to Apollo, the furniture chewer and cutest part of this entire post…. thanks for the challenge, my man.