The Mushrooming Metal-Chair Collection

Reclaimed metal lawn chairs

With the bees all warmly and happily tucked away for the winter, I’ve been up to this, Reader.

Yes, I’m on a metal-chair buying binge (should I hyphenate all three words? “Metal-chair-buying binge?” I don’t know). I brought another six beauties home in a rented cargo van yesterday.

Eighteen (18!) metal lawn chairs now hang from hooks in our basement. I can’t stop myself. I remain simply delighted by each and every one of them.

Before the weather turned too cold to paint outside, I sanded and prepped and painted my first two chairs…I transformed them. They’re now shiny Ford Red. Their hardware is new and smooth. They’re gorgeous. I love them because they sit so comfortably, and you can still feel the patina in the seat and on the armrests when you settle into them.

I’ve prepped two more chairs for painting. And when I say “prepped,” I mean:

  1. Remove every single bolt and screw (excuse me, but this is a lot of work! It requires grinding rusted bolts to smithereens. You should see the sparks fly.)
  2. Completely dismantle each piece
  3. Send broken parts to my new welder. Who is awesome. I’ll introduce you to him in another post
  4. Sand the flaky paint off
  5. Using an angle grinder with a steel-brush attachment, remove the rust
  6. Wash with soap and water
  7. Set aside for a nice day in which to paint

But I soon realized that I would very quickly bore of spray painting each chair all glossy and clean. I’ve decided to sand my next chair to remove the rust and expose the layers of paint history…then, to protect the exposed metal from the elements, I’ll simply lacquer it. I know you’re dying to see the end results, Reader, but no. Not yet. Not until you can hardly stand it.

Everyone keeps asking me what I plan to do with my crazy collection. I don’t know yet…but if you want an awesome chair created by me, contact me. I’m now in the business.


The Metal-Chair Projects Keeping Me Sane

Reader, a team of experts stands behind every reclaimed and transformed metal lawn chair. I want to introduce you to them as I go along.

It has rained incessantly for over a week. During one dry period on Sunday, I painted all the parts of the previously sanded and prepped green metal lawn chairs I introduced you to last week. Of course, at the conclusion of the painting session, it began to sprinkle, and I had to move the entire operation into the garage where I hung parts of chairs from every reachable ceiling joist. The rain stopped the painting, and I decided not to add another coat to the thinly coated places. No, I decided…it’s finished.

Now, one of the two chairs is a gorgeous Ford Red. I painted it with Valspar’s Tractor and Implement Hi Gloss Spray Paint so it would withstand the elements as if it were a tough tractor at work on a farm. That stuff is 2 or 3 times the cost of Rust-Oleum, but I think it’s worth it. And it’s gorgeous.

Chair #1 is now all reassembled with sweet new hardware and sitting in a corner in my kitchen (I’m not yet ready to give it over to the rain). I sit in it. It fits me. I’m short, and I’m not comfortable in most chairs, and this one is perfect. I like the feel of it. I would show you a picture, Reader, but for some reason my iPhone transforms the gorgeous Ford Red into something that resembles¬†Fluorescent Tomato, and I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. I want you to love it as much as I do when you see it. So, we’ll wait for a sunny day.¬†

I’ll take this opportunity to begin introducing you to the people who make these transformations possible.

First, someone has to agree to sell me her chair. I spotted this busted beauty in a crumpled heap in this woman’s backyard. She didn’t initially want to sell it to me, but she said she couldn’t fix the broken base where the metal had snapped at the bend, she doesn’t “have a man” to fix it for her. As she talked, she decided she could use the money. In this picture, she’s holding the chair upright. It can’t stand on its own until the two parts of its rocker are welded back together.

(What does all of this have to do with bees, you ask? These projects keep this beekeeper sane and productive when the bees aren’t flying.)