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Fixing Up an Old Outdoor Rocking Chair


When something breaks, most people’s reaction is simply to toss it away and buy something new, but not you. You’re the kind of handyman (or woman) who knows how to get the most mileage out of a piece of furniture. Something like an outdoor rocking chair is a sturdy piece of furniture built to last, but the ravages of the outdoors can take a toll nonetheless. To keep yours in good shape throughout the years, you might need to employ some repair techniques in addition to the regular upkeep and maintenance.

What do you do about discoloration?

One problem that’s common with wood furniture is discoloration, either by way of stains, mold, etc. To combat this, you can either hide stains on your outdoor rocking chair or try and get rid of them. To hide the stain, clean the wood off using soap and water and then apply a coat of an opaque or stain-hiding primer. Once that’s dry, you can choose whatever color you want to paint your chair with, so long as it’s approved for use on wooden outdoor furniture.

On the other hand, if you just want the stain gone while retaining the natural color of the wood, you will need to do the more arduous task of stain removal.

To be the most gentle on the wood, go from mildest to strongest cleaners when trying out what works. For starters, and also on milder stains, try soap and warm water or a wood cleaner. Murphy’s and wood deck cleaners both work. If that doesn’t work, use a stronger cleaner, but avoid power washers, as they can damage the surface and grain of wood. For really tough spots, a solvent like bleach or chlorine and water usually does the trick. When using these caustic substances, always wear rubber gloves and goggles and work in small, concentrated areas to only attack the areas that are stained.
Then, once you’re finished be sure to completely rinse off any traces of the solvent; if it sets for too long it can actually start to eat away at wood.

How do you repair a damaged finish?

Once your outdoor rocking chair is cleaned, you might also consider applying a finish to protect and beautify wood. The first step is removing any remaining traces of residual finishes. You can use a finish stripper, sandpaper or even a putty knife to do so, but be careful not to nick or damage the surface of the wood. Once the surface is smooth and free of varnish, clean off all surfaces to ensure that the finish sticks better. Then, when wood is dry apply one to two coats of finish. Different kinds of finish include oil-based varnish and paints.

How do you fix broken or uneven pieces of wood?

One problem wooden furniture has it that once it starts to break down as a result of exposure to elements, the wood can crack, splinter, warp and rot, causing an outdoor rocking chair to shift or even break apart. For small cracks, you can either try to sand them out so that they not spread, or else try gluing small pieces of wood directly into the cracks.

However, for more serious cracks or deteriorated wood, you will need to replace the entire damaged section. This is a bigger job best left to professionals if you’re unsure, but if you do decide to do it, make sure the wood you choose is even and matches. As a rule of thumb, the less wood you have to replace the better, because in essence you’re changing how the chair looks and also how the contour of the chair has been designed to fit.

What do you do about spindles?

Spindles are commonly found on a wooden outdoor rocking chair or just chairs in general. These are the rod-shaped pieces of wood that make up the backrest and sometimes hold up the armrests as well. Because they are thinner than the rest of the seat, they can break more easily. To remove broken spindles, use a hammer and punch, but in the armrests substitute a non-slip pad in order to twist out the spindles. Trying to find a replacement spindle that matches the rest might be tricky if not impossible, so you will probably have to replace the lot of them. When replacing the spindles, clamp them into the chair until the glue has a chance to fully dry.

Tonya Kerniva has 1 articles online

Tonya Kerniva is an experienced research and free lance writing professional. She writes actively about Outdoor Rocking Chair and Outdoor Rocking Chair Cushions.

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