How Do You Restore an Antique Wood Swivel Chair?

Restore an antique wood swivel chair by cleaning the chair, stripping the old finish, removing stains, applying new finish, and repairing or replacing parts in the swivel mechanism. Use clear finish rather than wood stain to maintain the appearance of the old wood.

  1. Clean the chair

    Clean the chair by first dusting it lightly with a soft cloth. Apply a cleaning solution to remove caked-on dirt, grime and wax. Use a toothbrush to clean tight spots. Use fine steel wool to remove stubborn grime, but always use gentle pressure, and rub with the grain and not against it.

  2. Strip away the old finish

    To strip away old finish, apply semi-paste stripper with a rag or a paintbrush. After the amount of time specified on the stripper container, gently scrape off the finish. Use oxalic acid to remove stubborn stains from the wood. Let the wood dry thoroughly.

  3. Apply new finish

    Apply a coat of shellac and then a layer of paste wax to bring out the beauty of the original wood. If you prefer to stain the wood, use an oil-based stain that matches the color of the original stain as closely as possible.

  4. Repair the swivel mechanism

    Turn the chair upside-down on a table and take off the base by removing the fastening clips or bolts and nuts. Tighten any parts if necessary, and lightly oil the mechanism if it squeaks. If any parts are defective, find replacements at online shops that specialize in antique parts, and then reassemble the chair.