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Thread: restoring an antique Adirondack (Muskoka) chair

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  1. #1
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    ***(FINISHED)***restoring an antique Adirondack (Muskoka) chair

    The Adirondack chair or Muskoka chair and commonly called the dock chair is more than just a chair it is a symbol of my local area, dotting the lake shores in there vibrant colors they add a visual sense of relaxation. These chairs are commonly made of wood and growing in popularity a recycled high quality plastic. but the rare ones are the antique ones. usually the wooden ones are improperly maintained or neglected and end up rotting and thrown out. I am lucky to have one from around the 1940s the time around when my family bought a small clapboard cottage on the lake. the chair was one of the lucky ones, it appears to have been lightly used and had multiple layers of paint stating in red than white after that a couple layers of dark green over that a few layers of yellow stating in a dark custard yellow than making it's way to a bright yellow. now the chair has been neglected the past 10 years and as a result the legs have rotted out and the paint started to rapidly chip. i decided it was time to fix the chair or my parents would eventually throw it away. i decided to carve out the rot out the legs and splice a new piece to the bottom of all 4 legs. but the rot was more extensive than i thought so i left the chair alone over the winter months and i have decided to replace the front legs compleatly. here it is, i will try to post picture updates as i'm going if any interest is gained here.
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    Last edited by treasurepirate1; Sep 06, 2012 at 07:52 PM.
    Lady Pirate likes this.

  2. #2
    us
    what hath god wrought

    Feb 2009
    Gateway to the 1000 Islands
    Sometime(s)
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    tectin crap
    That's a nice one. They are a pleasure to build. Tear that baby down, make patterns, get the jig saw out and make a spanking new one. Or two or three. Get a quart or two of paint stripper and strip that cool chair down to bare wood, that is the first step. That way, if you do want to tear it down, you will be able to see the nails and/or screws. It's a labor of love.
    Federal Bureau of Governmental Redundancy Reduction Agency

  3. #3
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I've already started to strip it down with paint stripper and I've removed one of the front legs without issue , will post picture soon

  4. #4
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Here it is with some of the paint stripped and the front skirt removed along with one front leg, and a seating plank removed as well. i have decided i am going to repaint the chair again but i'm not sure if i should leave the paint the way it is now or should i take more paint off with even more paint stripper. the surface of the paint now is no longer shiny and thick so i think i may just put new legs on and paint it without doing much more paint removal either than a little sanding to rough the paint up to prep it for painting. i think leaving the paint is a good idea because the paint i already removed was unstable and the paint left on is really stuck on the wood. tell me what you think, is this a good idea.
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  5. #5

    May 2012
    Foothills, Siskiyou Mountains, southern Oregon
    Minelab Xterra 705, Tesoro Sand Shark
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    Pirate: Can't give you any advice other than to congratulate you for working to preserve such a practical symbol of comfort and relaxation, as you described it. The front skirt board design and the center upright back board with the little finial give this particular chair some real finesse. I've not seen these details before, but then these chairs are truly native to the "Down East" regions.
    If I were to build one from scratch, I would be tempted to try to find some Alaska yellow cedar as it is pretty strong and rot-resistant. Any idea what wood your chair is made of, or what woods were traditionally used?

  6. #6
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    you are absolutely right that this is the only one of it's kind i have seen with these details, maybe that could be my next project, recreating and redesighning this style chair with more of a curved back, and i think it is made of either made of western red or eastern white cedar, I'm not sure what was traditionally used, but depending on the area it is made in probably an easily accessible rot resistant wood.
    Last edited by treasurepirate1; May 26, 2012 at 08:03 AM.

  7. #7
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    i was surprised to find a photo of the exact same chair i'm fixing up, it was in a relatives house so i took a picture of the picture, i also found another photo of my great aunt sitting in the chair as well.
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  8. #8
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    i'v done some more paint stripping and sanding, put new front legs on and even spliced the back legs,i will post pictures soon.

  9. #9
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    i actually have finished it a while ago but i will still post more photos of it's restoration here it is with it's new legs i made, the front legs were really warn down, so i got the length by measuring the length of the leg from the arm to the surface of the seat, that was 3'', i got a photo of the chair from the 50s and zoomed in until that section i just measured was 3'' on the screen, than i measured the entire leg on the screen which was 18'', than i took off the legs and used them as a template for the new ones, than assembled the new legs with all of the original nails and bolts, i also spliced the back legs becouse they were rotting, i started by chopping off the rotted section with a skill saw, than i figured out the size of the piece to fit in the cut space (it's too long to explain) than i used one of the old front legs for the wood to keep it as original as possible, after I pre-drilled holes for screws than screwed and nailed the pieces into place. A bit of sanding and it's ready for the primer,Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Here it is with a quality wood and multipurpose primer, it took about 2hours to paint the primer on.Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
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  12. #12
    Charter Member
    us
    Jul 2006
    Southeast, Pennsylvania
    Minelab Etrac & Minelab Excalibur II
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    Love it!!!!! Good job. Loving that view.
    Stand up for what's right, even if your standing alone.

    "Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex."
    Frank Zappa

  13. #13
    us
    what hath god wrought

    Feb 2009
    Gateway to the 1000 Islands
    Sometime(s)
    4,069
    675 times
    tectin crap
    Nice work you do. Give it some color man!
    Federal Bureau of Governmental Redundancy Reduction Agency

  14. #14
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    here are some photos of the finished chair, it took about a month and a half of on and off work to complete but it was completely worth it and a final 2 1/2hours to paint, knowing i have a unique antique chair from probably the 1940s,it's the only of it's kind i know about and probably one of the last or the last remaining of it's design, there is also a photo of it beside a modern recycled plastic chair comparing the difference and similarities of the designs. Maybe one day i could make a hybrid of the modern and the old design. pleas click on the photos to view them larger Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by treasurepirate1; Sep 07, 2012 at 03:26 PM.

  15. #15
    ca
    Aug 2010
    Ontario canada
    fisher f75
    387
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    sorry for such the delay in the final photos being posted just didn't get around to posting them untill now
    Last edited by treasurepirate1; Sep 07, 2012 at 03:29 PM.

 

 
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