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Help with identification and refinish of Selig chairs

- 23 Nov 2017 -
5 posts / 0 new

I received 2 Selig chairs and an ottoman from my mother that were my grandmothers. I would like some help with identifying the style, identifying the wood, how best to strip and refinish them, how many straps this design took (they are the 45 slots), and how the wood dowel system works on the ottoman. The finish is in rough shape. They were originally black with the grain showing through, and the spindles on the back are almost a greenish color. Pretty sure they are lacquered. What is the easiest way to strip lacquer? I've read denatured alcohol is less messy for lacquer and doesn't leave the gooey mess a lot of other strippers do If they are beech I will probably ebonize them, but if they are a different wood that is easier to stain I'd love some advice on what to use on them. My bet is beech or birch.

Help with identification and refinish of Selig chairs
chairs & stools
1950 - 1959


- 16 Dec 2017

Alcohol will not dissolve lacquer. You have to use either lacquer thinner or acetone. I prefer acetone because it works faster; lacquer thinner has stuff added to it to slow down evaporation but the additives make it work more slowly, too. I worked out a few tricks for dealing with the evaporation issue. Some people prefer to use methylene chloride stripper but I like acetone---works fast, easier to clean up. Definitely has its own headaches, though. (not *actual* headaches---not if you use a respirator like you should!)

- 16 Dec 2017

I don't know how many straps the chair originally had but if you space the new ones about 1.5" apart, you'll end up with good support even for heavier people and hours of sitting. If you can find the right metal tabs to fit the slots (there are wider and narrower slots, I think), the straps are not permanent so using more than the original had isn't a big deal.

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