Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Refinishing Our Dutailier Glider - Part 3

This is the third and final installment of refinishing our Dutailier glider. If you missed any of it, make sure you check out parts one and two!

It was finally here -- a day I thought I'd never see... it was finally time to clear-coat the glider!

I ended up going with a Deft Clear Lacquer Finish that said it was safe for all dyes and stains. So with the garage door open to vent the fumes, I set to work doing what I sincerely hoped was the last step to refinishing the glider.

I brushed it on in as thin a layer as I could, and made sure to let it dry completely before doing the second coat. The instructions said it was quick-drying, and that it dries to the touch within a half-hour, but since it's been pretty cold out lately, I decided to play it safe and give it about an hour and a half.

While the staining process was difficult because it was so cold in the garage that my hands were painfully stiff (the wet stain didn't help) and I had to be careful not to let the stain run, the glossing process was slightly more difficult since I had to essentially repeat the same process without being able to hold the pieces down as I worked.

Eventually I found a rhythm that worked, and things started speeding up.

A little word of caution to anyone out there doing anything similar: don't rush this step. After I did the first coat, I got a little too confident with my process that I really rushed through the second coat (it was cold, I was tired, my back hurt, yada yada yada). Of course, when I went to check on the pieces a couple hours later, I noticed I put way too much on, so much so that it pooled on the bottom and actually stripped the stain off!

I was so frustrated and upset that I didn't take any pictures, but in my haste to get things done faster, I ended up causing myself to have to sand and stain a number of the pieces all over again (luckily it was just one side, but still).

This picture kinda shows what happened -- notice all the light marks on the piece in the very front? Yep, that's where the lacquer removed the stain!

Also note that the first coat of gloss actually removes some of the stain with it (or it did in my case, at least). So on the parts of the glider that weren't sanded enough originally, where the stain never really took (but I brushed it on thick and just covered it up), I had to be extra cautious and not brush it too much because the stain will literally come right off.

Note that the camera flash makes it look a lot worse -- it's in the back, though, so I just left it.

Fast forward through even more sanding, staining, and lacquering, and everything was finally glossed!

However, the pieces were covered in tiny bumps. I wasn't so much worried about it on the inner pieces, since those wouldn't be touched, but I definitely didn't want the arm rests to be bumpy! (I imagined rocking the baby in the middle of the night feeling those bumps getting so frustrated about it. Yeah, I'm a perfectionist.)

It seemed like the solution would be an easy one -- more sanding, this time with a very high grit sandpaper, or with 0000 steel wool. The steel wool scared me a little, so I went with 1500-grit sandpaper.

This stuff is amazing! Seriously, just briefly rubbing the pieces removed all the little bumps but kept the glossy look!

After working on this thing off and on for about 3 months, it was finally time to start putting it back together.

Remember all those pictures I took showing how everything went together? Yep, those definitely came in handy, but I wish I had taken more.

It's also a good idea to lay things out and dry-fit them before actually gluing and screwing them back together. I had some of the following pieces in the wrong places and had to go back and re-do them:

Also note that the following pieces should have been flipped -- the cross bar that runs across them should go toward the bottom and not the top like I have it (the bar's not on there, but you can see the screw holes for it).

Luckily, the magic of the Internet makes it look like I had everything right from the beginning!

Note to anyone else doing this: As mentioned earlier, the crossbars on the center support should go toward the bottom (mine are toward the top), and the crossbars on the outer (rocking) pieces should face the inside, not the outside like mine do. Everything still works how I have it; it's just not how the chair originally came.
To put the top of the ottoman back on, I first secured one of the sides to the top, then secured that to the rocking pieces. Then I connected the other side to its rocking pieces before gluing and screwing it to the top. (If I screwed it to the top first, I wouldn't have been able to secure it to the rocking pieces, which is how I broke it in the first place when I tried to pull it apart.)


Of course the chair was a little more difficult to put back together, both because I didn't have many pictures of how it came apart, and because there were more pieces.

And by following my earlier advice to dry-fit the pieces, I ended up forgetting to add some washers and nuts early on, which meant I had to take things back apart to correct my mistake.

Even with all the setbacks, I still managed to finish the chair in time.

And honestly, I'm pretty proud of myself. Sure, there are many things that I would do differently next time, but that's the point of trying something you've never done before.

Here's a quick reminder of what I started with:

And here's the after:

In a lot of ways, I think I wanted to attempt this project specifically because it was something I had never done before, and it was scary to me. I think on some level I related it to having a new baby to take care of, and the learning curve that goes along with that. There were a number of times while working on the chair that I got frustrated, or I didn't know what to do, or I had to balance working on it with doing other things -- I know for sure I'll be dealing with all of those things after the baby is here.

But the point is I never gave up, and I always believed I could do it.

It's with that attitude that I think I'm finally ready to meet our little girl or guy.


  1. I've got a little one on the way and am in the same spot with a glider that I want to do. Yours turned out nice; great job.

  2. Nice job! We have a hand me down Dutailer that we are going to paint. Hubby is not going to go as in depth as you. It was a fun to see your progress and the results look amazing! Pat yourself on the back!


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