How to Restore Ercol Furniture

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How to Restore Ercol Furniture

Ercol furniture and especially Ercol chairs are iconic pieces of English furniture with a long history. Owners often pass down this fine wood furniture from generation to generation. One of the most popular designs of Ercol furniture is the Windsor chair. Ercol Windsor chairs occasionally need some restoration work. Whether it is loose spindles or worn finishes, Ercol furniture owners can restore the piece to its original glory with the proper tools, materials, and knowhow. Sellers on eBay offer all of the essentials necessary to restore Ercol furniture for buyers wishing to perform the restoration on their prized family heirlooms.

Tools and Materials Needed to Restore Ercol Furniture

Before beginning a restoration project on an Ercol Windsor chair or other Ercol furniture, owners should make sure to have all of the necessary tools and materials on hand to perform the work.

Tool or Material


Varnish remover

Strips off old finish

No. 4 wire wool

Strips off old finish

Stripping knife

Removes old finish

240 grit sandaper

Sands wood prior to refinishing

Wood glue

Repairs loose spindles

Wood oil

Finishes natural wood without using varnishes or lacquers

Paint brushes

Applies varnish remover and finish material

Cotton cloth

Removes excess wood oil

When performing the stripping operation it is important to use rubber gloves and eye protection goggles to protect hands and eyes. Having a drop cloth in the work area to protect flooring from chemical drips and spills is also advisable.

Stripping Old Finish Coats

A varnish remover is necessary to strip away old coats of varnish; a popular brand of varnish remover is Nitromors. When applying varnish remover with a paint brush, dab the material on instead of brushing for a heavier concentration of the product. Follow the instructions on the container of varnish remover for best results; generally more than one coat of remover is necessary to completely strip off old material. A stripping knife can remove the first coat, while a rag can wipe off subsequent applications. Using number 4 steel wool helps to remove hardened varnish. A nylon toothbrush can reach hard-to-access areas or seams around wood joints.

Sanding Wood Surfaces

Sanding the wood of an Ercol chair or furniture piece performs two functions; it removes the remainder of old finish and prepares the wood surface to receive a new finish. Using 240 grit sandpaper is sufficient to remove the last bits of finish and still leaves enough of an abrasion on the surface to soak up the new finish material. Be sure not to use excessive pressure when sanding to avoid changing the contour of the wood from its original design. Wiping down sanded surfaces with a damp rag helps to remove sawdust prior to applying a finish application.

Repairing Loose Spindles

Spindles or the bars that provide support to the back and base of the chair often loosen up over time due to wood shrinkage and glue separation. Using quality wood glue like Chair Doctor glue helps to secure spindles and tighten assembly joints. Chair Doctor wood glue can be used with a hypodermic syringe to inject the glue into tight tolerances. Working a loose joint back and forth while applying the wood glue helps to spread the glue into the cavities where the two wood pieces connect.

Apply a Finish Material to the Wood

The type of wood finish owners should use depends on their preferences. A popular finishing material is wood oil; several advantages make wood oil a smart choice for preserving fine wood products. Wood oil is easy to apply and owners can wipe down excess application spots with a cotton cloth. Wood oils do not run, bubble, or require sanding after application. Owners can also re-apply wood oils for additional protection as the furniture ages or future repairs become necessary.

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