Having found three metal lawn chairs in a dumpster last weekend, a new problem has been presented.  Most of my chairs are rusty and show their history, and I like it that way.

These recent “finds” are different from my norm.  The paint, especially the last green layer is incredibly thick.  What lies underneath the thick peeling paint is rust in some cases.  Working on the chair on the right, which is in the best shape of the group, it has a composition on the back unlike any that we have.  Three holes were uncovered on the seat.  They are very important for the life of the chair,  and had been painted over many times.  These chairs, living outside, need ammunition to battle water and rust.

Pictured above is a typical chair in our collection—it is in good shape, the paint is nicely weathered, but not peeling in any way.  If there is rust, it is superficial.

When thinking about the three new chairs, images from the web reminded me that another solution for the surface was necessary other than a flat paint job that some consider restoration.

These are fine chairs and have not been restored, but they are in such good shape that in my opinion the flat paint is kind of cartoonish.  Nothing so old would look like this now.  It is as if they are steel maidens looking down at life from the tower.

With my three new chairs, something had to be done or they would be rust piles in a year.  Below is what I am in the process of doing.

I am scraping and revealing all the colors that the chair has been, six, it looks like.  I started with my fingers peeling the paint, and then got serious with a tool (one for wood, as it turns out, a chisel), and made lines in the layers of paint all the way down to the shiny steel.

I love the lines.  The chair looks like a drawing or painting of a chair.  I can see, as more of this is done, that one could actually tailor the lines used to remove the excess paint actually to describe the metal patterning on the back of the chair.  That would certainly unite form and surface.  That is what I will do.

There are four rust spots where the tubes connect to the chair body that have to be taken care of .  Then an application of a clear coat will be in order.  I will post when finished.



  1. I like how the chairs look where you have scraped the paint to reveal other colors. They are visually interesting. Though they don’t fit your usual criteria: let the weathering, dents and rust tell part of their story; they need this facelift surgery that not only tells the story of how you changed the chairs, it guarantees a long life through rust prevention and elevating their status to art.
    You go girl !

  2. harry, worked on the chair today. cannot wait to post more. it is different, but another way to get at the same history if the chair has had a lot of it! i was thinking of signing the back!

  3. Where can I buy the plastic stops that bolt to the front of the chair to keep it from tipping when exiting?

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