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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/armless sewing rocker


Dear Eileen

On 7/14/2009, you gave advice to someone about repairing and refinishing an antique armless sewing rocker.  I have one that is very similar except mine does not have those little supports that help secure the seat to the bottom of the chair back.  You said the rocker was made of birch.  Would you happen to know the vintage of that rocker?
Second, you told the person "don't even think of sanding the rest of the chair" (beyond the section she was repairing.  Do you mean to say that one should ideally not sand furniture after stripping with chemical and steel wool?

Hi Jim
Nice to hear from you.
Jim I have always maintained that a piece of furniture properly stripped with an MC stripper and steel wool should never ever be sanded.
If you have ever done the process you are going to find that the steel wool does create sanding dust but its not enough to remove the patina of the old wood to do irrepairable damage.
Patina cannot be replaced once removed.
I have never used a water based stripper so will not comment on those only to say avoid them LOL. I can only guess they would raise the grain of the wood and require sanding.
If memory serves me the chair in question was from the 20's but I could not find the question you refer to.
Thanks for a great question

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Eileen Cronk


I can answer most questions about the repairing and refinishing of all your old furniture items (the things we call antiques). I can also give you advice on what wood items to choose and what wood items to avoid at auctions, flea markets etc. I DO NOT give appraisals on antiques as this is not my field of expertise.


I have been repairing, refinishing and of course buying old furniture for the past 30 years. On any given weekend I can be found at auction sales or flea markets searching out a good buy. I have taken several courses in this area over the years, but I find "Hands On" learning to be the best teacher. I can help you avoid the pitfalls and problems of this wonderful rewarding craft.

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