How to Salvage a Weathered Outdoor Rocking Chair

What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Assorted wrenches
Wood putty
Fine grit sandpaper
Spray paint or varnish

When your outdoor rocking chair really begins to show its age, it may be time to replace damaged parts and clean up the undamaged ones. Restoring an old outdoor rocking chair can be a gratifying project, one that is suitable for anyone from novice to expert. There are only 5 major steps in the process, as you will see, and none of them requires any special tools, just ordinary wrenches and screwdrivers and other everyday home tools.

Step 1: Analyze the Task

Have a plan in mind before you begin working. Examine the entire rocking chair, and take note of of any damage you find. You are looking for broken slats, obviously, but you should also be aware of loose screws, splintered corners, or or any other area that are going to need to be repaired. Any parts that are needed should be available when you begin work, so make a careful list and then get all of the parts together.

Step 2: Replacing Broken Parts

Repair or replace any missing or broken parts of your outdoor rocking chair. Not only will you need to replace any missing or broken wooden pieces, but you should also carefully tighten all the screws and bolts as you go. Use the pieces that are removed as guides for the dimensions of the replacement parts, tracing the pattern onto new material and then cutting it out. Take your time and double-check the replacements to make sure that they fit properly.

Step 3: Stripping Old Paint or Varnish

Apply paint or varnish remover with a sponge. Allow the remover to set on the surface for 5 to 15 minutes, and then scrape off the majority of the old finish using a 5-in-1 tool. For tough spots, you may need to use a wire brush. Clean the surface thoroughly when done, using warm soapy water. Rinse well, and then allow the chair to dry.

Step 4: Fill and Sanding

Using wood putty, fill any holes in your gliding rocking chair. Build out damaged corners with the putty, and shape it carefully to match the undamaged areas. Sand down the entire surface of the chair with a fine grit sandpaper. When the sanding is complete, wipe the surface down with a clean damp cloth to remove dust and other debris. The next step will be putting on the finish, so make sure that the rocking chair is smooth and clean, so that the finish will be able to stick properly.

Step 5: Finishing the Rocking Chair

Using long, smooth strokes, apply the paint or varnish of your choice. Hold the can approximately 6 to 10 inches away from the surface being sprayed, and take care to avoid over spraying, which causes runs. Allow the coats to dry completely before applying the next coat. For best results allow about an hour of drying time between each applications. Paints should get at least two coats, and varnishes should receive two to three coats.